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Analysis of and commentary on South African politics from a liberal perspective. Winner: Best Political Blog 2012.

Tag: Tony Leon

The ANC’s top ten ‘treasonous’ people


ANCFlagFEATURE: As the ANC has turned its bullying gaze towards First National Bank, so one of its perennial slurs has once again been invoked – ‘treason’, and the suggestion that FNB was attempting to overthrow the government. It is a hysterical and wholly inaccurate accusation, designed to silence criticism and shut down debate – and FNB is not the first to be labelled ‘treasonous’ by the ANC. Here follows a list of ten such instances. In each case the charge is outlandish and wrong, and, in each case, it is used as a response to disagreement rather than any actual threat. Perhaps more importantly, together they describe a party out of touch both with reality and its own history.

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Reflections of a departing diplomat


SPEECH: Former Leader of the Democratic Alliance and current South African Ambassador to Argentina, Tony Leon, is to vacate his post and return to South Africa at the end of September. What follows below is his farewell speech, delivered to the Argentine Institute for International Relations. In it, he reflects on his term and some of lessons about diplomacy he has learnt during his time in South Africa’s diplomatic core. An interesting insight into the thinking of an Ambassador.

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The ANC and John Dugard: Feeding the hand it bites


FEATURE: This April past President Zuma awarded John Dugard the national order of the Baobab. It was a recognition well deserved; John Dugard’s contribution to South African jurisprudence is extraordinary. Likewise, however, it was a deeply hypocritical gesture. The ANC has for years spurned Dugard, blocking his appointment to many key positions, including the Constitutional Court. But that is the nature of nationalism: to fete the very things it despises. Here follows a Business Day article I wrote on this subject this week.

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On the ANC, refugees and offence


FEATURE: Helen Zille’s tweet about Eastern Cape refugees has caused much outcry, least of all from the ANC, which, as per usual, has used the opportunity not to talk about the problem at hand but the word itself. Ironically, given the ANC’s sudden worry about “negative feelings”, a look at its own track record reveals a party that routinely throws around deeply offensive ideas all the time. In the piece below I set some of them out and make the case: if the ANC is worried about offence, a good place to start would be by taking a look in the mirror.

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A desolate shack no more


SERIES: The instantaneous and dramatic nature of current affairs lends itself to a kind of historical amnesia, one where the captivating nature of those things unfolding today, causes one to forget the bigger picture. From the Archives aims to put forward the odd reminder that, more often than not, history is merely repeating itself. In all likelihood, somewhere, someone has already experienced and commented on those all-consuming issues that appear to have materialised only yesterday.

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