News/Politics

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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Transformation, decolonisation and other vague words

“Transformation” has become a vague word. Yet the demand for university transformation is growing ever more vocal. What to make of this demand, then, is a matter of importance. This is about the only thing on which Mashupye Herbert Maserumule and I agree. I believe the other things he has said to be misguided. I…

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Global poverty is worse than you think

A few weeks ago the World Bank changed the international poverty line from $1.25 to $1.90 (R27) a day. Normally, changes to the poverty line slide by without attracting much attention, but for some reason this time people got excited. At first glance, it looks as if the bank has finally admitted that the old…

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Neoliberal capitalism is a violence against women (16 days of activism)

Sixteen days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children is upon us again this year. As usual it will come and go but very little will change for the majority of women and children in South Africa. The middle class will be a little more aware of the heinous gender-based violence statistics that…

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Fighting terror is like fighting vapour because it doesn’t have a home address

We are living in a world where the phrase one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter has never been more pertinent. It would seem that the idea of terror is no longer one that exists in some far-off land, happening to far-off people. It has become a reality that one minute you’re sitting having…

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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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How should one understand the rise of ‘fundamentalism’?

With the current wave of “terrorist” attacks, not only in France, but in other parts of the world such as Nigeria and Mali, too, “fundamentalist” organisations have become the focus of many questions, including the one concerning the reason why (particularly young) people join these despite risking their lives in the course of performing their…

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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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Homo naledi, Piltdown and a lesson in African prehistory

Professor Lee Berger and his team of scientists caused a huge stir when they unveiled the skeletal remains of not one, but at least 15 members of a previously unknown hominin species they’d discovered at the Cradle of Mankind. While the team had made no claim to have found the missing link between man and…

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#ParisAttacks #NigeriaAttack: Our outrage exposes our bias and that’s OK

I have never been one for the “save the rhino” campaign. Not that I have anything against the beasts, they are majestic and an integral part of wildlife across the continent. I will just not donate much money or any time to the cause. Does that make me a bad person. To some, yes. But…

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