William Saunderson-Meyer

Didiza of Tshwane: The face that launched a riot

#TshwaneUnrest. That’s the hashtag that South African twitter chose to bookmark the biggest, most sustained public violence in the 22 years since the advent of democracy. Unrest? It seems that there’s nothing like a well-worn euphemism to make one feel snug and safe in suburbia, while in Pretoria’s townships rioters loot and burn. Two dozen…

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The investigation into the ‘dangerous’ Mr Trollip

Economic desperation is never far below the surface in a country where unemployment, depending on how it is defined, is nudging remorselessly towards 40%. Like hunger in a predator, desperation defines the lives of the estimated 9 million looking for work. It causes teachers to kill rivals in competition for jobs being illegally auctioned off by…

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US terror alert: SA must nurture its allies, not rebuff them

South Africa for a long time boxed beyond its weight in the international relations arena. No longer. It’s become the diplomatic ingénue on the block, fumbling and stumbling from one diplomatic blunder to another. After two decades of African National Congress ambiguity regarding SA’s role in the world, we are now outwitted, outfought and outclassed…

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‘We haven’t failed, someone is deliberately making us fail’

President Jacob Zuma is using all the wiles of a spoilt child trying to get his parents to buy a coveted toy. Except that this particular desired bauble – a new presidential jet with all the bells-and-whistles – will cost around R4 billion. And that’s a price tag to be picked up not by affluent and…

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Pollyanna throws in the towel against the university Taliban

Let’s chant a dirge for the chief executives of one of South Africa’s most besieged economic sectors. Just consider the challenges they face daily. They head financially precarious entities in a field where both the raw-material inputs and the finished goods are of declining quality. A number of them preside over plants that once produced…

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Zuma washes his hands of a looming crisis

To state that South Africa is spinning towards a serious crisis is not hyperbole. There are many factors causing this, including failed governance and delivery, but at its nub it is triggered by greed and powered by a ruthless determination to subvert our democracy and the mechanisms that protect it. This is not yet the…

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SA’s number one VVIP deserves an upgrade

The department of defence has an irrevocable obligation to buy what its minister describes as “a VVIP” jet. That means an aircraft for a Very Very Important Person. But jump to no conclusions as to who this VVIP is. It is not the man who is referred to by his scurrying minions as “Number one”….

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South Africans’ sneering antipathy to Trump is misplaced

The sneering antipathy and moral condescension of seemingly the entire South Africa towards Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for the United States presidency, makes me chuckle. We are, after all, the nation that elected Jacob Zuma – a man who is as morally dubious and certainly far less competent than Trump – to…

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Live by the legal sword, die by it

Recourse to the courts is often the first refuge of the scoundrel with deep pockets. A deliberately protracted judicial process can be used by the wealthy to delay, to avoid, to obfuscate, and to bully their adversaries into submission. It’s an approach that has worked well for various South African rogues, embezzlers, crooks and unsavoury…

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While the ANC factions manoeuvre, SA drifts in limbo

A national crisis is always best resolved quickly. Investors and voters both react negatively to political paralysis and institutional dysfunction. And since protracted uncertainty begets instability, it’s mostly better to find a quick patch and keep the momentum going than it is to embark on an agonising and usually elusive search for the “best” solution….

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