Kameel Premhid

Parliament: Where rationality goes to die

The events in Parliament at the State of the Nation were nothing short of appalling. Much time will be spent analysing how this could have happened, what we do now and, what this means for the future of our democracy. That is good and timely. Parliament has been decaying since its democratic rebirth, hollowed out…

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South Africa’s civil war option

There is something deeply troubling about highly intelligent, rational, and well-respected people contemplating the benefits of civil war. I have observed this at least twice in as many days on my Facebook newsfeed. While certainly not representative of a national mood — or, at least, I hope not — that many of my black friends…

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ANC, La Grange and the danger of polarised debate

South Africa’s twittersphere was set ablaze last week when former president Nelson Mandela’s personal assistant, Zelda la Grange reacted to comments made by President Jacob Zuma who ascribed many of the country’s present governance problems to Jan van Riebeeck (the Dutch settler who “founded” Cape Town in 1652). The substance of her tweets does not…

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The ANC has a leadership problem

Despite its parliamentary majority, 2014 was a year of reckoning for the ANC. Seemingly no longer in command of Parliament or public opinion, it emerged from the election bruised but not defeated. However, its performance lacks the swaggering bravado we have come to expect – it knows it has been wounded. Whether it can staunch…

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Order, order: A parliamentary mess

The events that occurred in Parliament last week have generated a significant amount of debate in South Africa. And for good reason. Police entered the Chamber in 1966 when an apartheid-era prime minister, Hendrik Verwoerd, was assassinated on the floor of the House by a messenger in the Old Assembly. No one died last week….

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Numsa: Is this the left’s moment?

The announcement that Numsa would form its own socialist party should come as no surprise. Numsa’s battles within Cosatu (most notably with its historical rival, the Jacob Zuma-aligned NUM) and the ruling alliance (particularly with the Zuma faction, ostensibly on questions of ideology) have served as a generous forewarning that this was coming. Further, in…

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Two sides of a racist coin: White privilege and cadre deployment

The appointment of Lesetja Kganyago as governor of the South African Reserve Bank provides an excellent opportunity to examine both cadre deployment and white privilege. Race reductionists from both side of the racial divide confirmed the inherent problems with their thinking when the announcement was made: the white privileged types who bemoaned another cadre deployment…

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Leave Judge Masipa alone

I have little interest in the Oscar Pistorius trial. I empathise with the loss of, and damage to, life as a result of Pistorius’s actions. This case has, unfortunately, been given more attention than it should. The fact that the victim, and the accused, are well-known, white, moneyed, and privileged, has resulted in this case…

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ANC flat-footed by EFF: The enemy within

The ANC’s response to political newcomers, the EFF, bears an eerie resemblance to the DA’s response to Gareth van Onselen. What this shows is that, irrespective of affiliation, parties have a limited ability to deal with, and respond to, political criticism. This is especially the case when the criticism comes from “one of their own”….

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Dr Jordan and Mr Hide

On Monday night, the inevitable happened. Pallo Jordan resigned from Parliament. Although he attempted to simultaneously resign from the ANC, and its NEC, it is not clear whether his decision was accepted by the party itself. After a week of sustained pressure, during which Jordan’s eerie silence and period of hiding sent out a clear…

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