Short on hope, long on promises

February 15, 2021

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(First published on Fin24 and in City Press, South Africa) The annual SONA ritual played itself out again last week: the labour movement expressing the hope that, for a change, something meaningful would be said that would filter through to implementation via the coming budget. And it is the budget to be announced on February […]

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A riveting & uncomfortable read

February 15, 2021

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1986 by William Dicey (Umuzi, 304 pp) You, who forget your history are destined forever to repeat the horrors of the past. This, and words to similar effect have become something of a cliché. But although constantly repeated, this warning is seldom acted on. In South Africa, it is today not so much a case […]

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Democracy depends on sound information — and no state interference

February 1, 2021

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Covid-19 highlighted a range of structural faults in society;  faults we know more about because information was relayed to us.  In the process, and with the advent of social media, we have also become increasingly aware of how information can be — and is — distorted and of the damage fake news can do. In […]

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Into exile — by jet to London

January 19, 2021

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(Available on Daily Maverick at https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-01-17-reflections-of-a-wayward-boy-into-exile-and-the-streets-of-london/)When, following further arrests in South Africa in 1965, I decided to go into exile, I had no intention of going any further than Zambia or Tanzania. Naïvely, I saw myself joining the ANC army in exile and returning within five years as apartheid crumbled. Instead, I was ordered out […]

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A season of discontent looms

January 19, 2021

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(First published on the Fin24 website) With justification, government ministers continue to praise nurses and other “frontline workers” fighting the battle against Covid-19.  Yet, at the same time, they refuse to pay a wage rise agreed three years ago with unions representing these same workers and others in the health, education and other sectors. In […]

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Here’s to 2021

December 27, 2020

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A paean to the vanishing wild

December 22, 2020

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To the Edges of Earth — A Journey into Wild Land by Peter Pickford (Bookstorm, 421 pages) (First published on News24, South Africa)Of the many books I have reviewed over decades, this is one of the few that stands out as an instant classic, a book that seems certain to be read — and often, […]

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Misconceptions & an attack on collective bargaining

December 16, 2020

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(First published on Fin24) A common misconception, encouraged by media reports and rating agency comments, is that South Africa’s civil service is bloated and has continued to grow while the private sector has shed jobs. But official figures reveal that there are now 32,077 fewer employees on the government payroll than there were seven years […]

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