William Saunderson-Meyer

President Zuma is a dead man walking

President Jacob Zuma is a dead man walking, metaphorically speaking. The political free rein allowed him by cowed party colleagues for the past seven years has suddenly been pulled in. He remains nominally in charge but increasingly less in control. In December, Zuma’s manoeuvring to allegedly benefit cronies led to the firing of respected Finance…

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Corporate SA is having a greed attack

Corporate South Africa mostly takes its social responsibilities seriously. That’s maybe because its sector is besieged by nostalgic communists from within government and on the streets by wilfully ignorant radicals. There’s Woolworths with proclamations of commitment to social transformation and pious promises of ethically driven behaviour. There’s furniture retailer Joshua Doore, which for more than…

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The dark side of the global village

We are constantly being reminded that because of instant digital connectivity, we live in a global village. Along with another over-worked modern metaphor — that it takes a village to raise a child — this is a phrase generally used with approval or, at worst, resignation. The less salutary aspects of village life are rarely…

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The intellectually supple Mr Zuma does some semantic yoga

It is sometimes difficult to follow President Jacob Zuma’s explanations of events. His utterances can be so convoluted that the thread of logic is all but invisible. Or else they are patently contradictory. At other times he makes plainly incorrect assertions that are never retracted. So they lie there, littering his political reputation like discarded…

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A new prism through which to view Zuma

Four days in December. They are the prism through which the actions of President Jacob Zuma will be viewed from now on. December is dozy time in South Africa. Whether you are in need an electrician or a lawyer, your options are few, right through to mid-January. Deprived of public interest, even politicians go into…

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The unravelling of President Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma’s firing of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, after barely 18 months in the job, is one of those rare events that can leave even consummately slick political opponents spluttering for words. Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane’s flummoxed immediate response on Twitter was to state the blindingly obvious: “What we need now is a…

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The fulcrum of SA’s democracy develops a wobble

It is the Supreme Court of Appeal overturning Oscar Pistorius’ manslaughter conviction, in favour of one for murder, that dominates the headlines. But this week’s Constitutional Court ruling around what appears to be a trifling municipal squabble has potentially far wider-reaching consequences. The real stress test of a democracy is whether the governing party allows…

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Or is it an SAA death spiral?

One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that South African Airways is in a financial death spiral and that unless the heavy hand of incompetence — that of board chair Dudu Myeni — it is removed from the rudder, it may crash and burn. There’s a clue in the fact that…

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Limping from policy disaster to policy disaster

It’s unusual to see a government that is on the face of it so entrenched in power — a solid 62% of the national vote after two decades in office, eight out of nine provincial assemblies — in such disarray. Yet President Jacob Zuma’s African National Congress administration limps from disaster to disaster, full of…

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We shall remember them…or maybe not

9/11. It’s a date seared into the world’s consciousness. Then there is 11/11. Known, variously around the world, as Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day, or Poppy Day, or Veterans Day. Call it what you will. Although it predates the Twin Towers by almost a century, World War 1’s official end – the 11th hour of…

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