Brent Meersman

Tackling President Zuma

Not for the first time, the country was brought almost to a standstill by its president’s membrum virile. Only this time it wasn’t because the polygamous president had unsafe intercourse with the HIV positive daughter of a close friend; nor was he caught in adultery with another comrade’s daughter. It was not the revelation of…

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The DA rocks

The leader of the Democratic Alliance may still be proved correct when she trumpeted that the party’s march on Cosatu House “will come to be seen as a turning point in South Africa”. In Johannesburg last Tuesday, the march led by Helen Zille and MP Lindiwe Mazibuko escalated into a violent street fight after members…

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Apartheid for better or for worse

I have fallen into the trap myself: become so outraged by government mismanagement that I wanted to beat them with the biggest stick I could: “It is worse than it was under apartheid!” Unfortunately, this is not what “worse than under apartheid” communicates to most South Africans. It is all too easily read as “better…

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Press clubs are for public engagement, not political intolerance

Following the fracas after Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson refused to enter the room or speak at a Cape Town Press Club breakfast until an opposition MP had removed himself, there is suddenly talk of the press club being some kind of front “infiltrated” by opposition politicians. ANC national spokesperson Jackson Mthembu, the office of the…

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Nuclear is so Third World

Our government, it seems, may be dangerously close to repeating the e-toll fiasco with nuclear energy. As with e-tolls, by the time the pubic wakes up to its implications and how it effects them, the contracts are signed and the citizenry is on the hook for billions. Bad planning in energy needs is not unique…

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Give me South Africa any day

Commemorating South Africa’s 18th year as a democracy this past week calls for a patriotic blog post, as does the e-toll interdict which delivered a sweet respite and an appropriate present for May 1 to the labour movement for exerting their right to protest. Owing to apartheid, I have never been much of a conventional patriot…

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Frank Chikane’s cautionary tale

Thabo Mbeki “looked like a soldier who was ready to die, if he had to, for the sake of his country; a lamb to be slaughtered for a cause”. This is Frank Chikane’s description of his leader waiting for word from the ANC on whether Mbeki was to step down from office. Chikane, who was…

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Letter to South Africa from Auschwitz-Birkenau

It has been pointed out by others that within living memory, Europe was the heart of darkness. So-called civilised Europeans, who read Goethe and listened to Beethoven, set about exterminating millions of their fellow human beings. These commentators also point out that in Africa no gas chambers and ovens were ever built, and some go…

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Homosexuality is African

Anyone who says that homosexuality is un-African is racist. We have an enormous body of historical and scientific evidence for the existence of homosexuality in every culture on every continent and stretching back in time as far as the human record goes. Homosexuality may not be normal, but it is natural. The South African government…

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Please, no God: not in our courts, not in Parliament, not in government

One of the great ironies of organised religions is that their adherents can only live in peace within a secular state. Those states that embrace a faith are usually at war with themselves or at war with others. Where governments adopt religion, they tend to corrupt and pervert that religion until it becomes something almost…

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