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

Tag: Corruption

Johannesburg and nationalism: 1890 vs 2012


FEATURE: There are many parallels between the ANC’s particular brand of African nationalism and the nationalism practiced by previous governments in South Africa’s past. It is a comparison not often made but one which holds many lessons. Consider Johannesburg in the late 1800s for example: under the control of a nationalist administration it faced and created numerous problems which we face today and a description of the city back then, which follows below, sounds eerily familiar.

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36 Quotes from Jacob Zuma


FEATURE: I have been looking through the various wise things Jacob Zuma has said, in particular, before his election to the Presidency in 2009. And, seeing as I have them all to hand, I thought I would put together a list of some of his more infamous statements. I was struck by how often he came out in defence of President Mbeki’s HIV/Aids denialism, specifically as Deputy President. That said, in no particular order, here are 36 quotes from Jacob Zuma.

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On power


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. Today a look at the idea of power and how those in close proximity to it, react to it. For those who seek it out for its own sake, its effect can be dangerous but, rather than outright abuse, it lends itself to maniuplation – of information and behaviour.

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How the Western Cape takes corruption seriously


ARTICLE: The 2011 State of the Public Service Report sets out in stark detail how reported cases of corruption are ignored by the majority of the public service and those departments responsible for investigating them. Indeed, the percentage of reported cases for which feedback has been received has fallen from 70% to just 10% in six years. The stand out exception? The Western Cape. Read on for some significant statistics.

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On consequences


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. When corruption takes place, much focus is given to seeking an explanation, much less to ensuring the appropriate consequences follow. Why is this? The answer lies in ones understanding of accountability. In order for the idea to work properly, it must be defined by both things – explanation and consequence. Indeed, each ensures the other has the proper effect, in order to ensure transparency and clean governance. In the short article below I explore why consequences are so important and what happens when they are overlooked in favour of explanation.

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The ANC’s all-time top 10 most disturbing quotes


FEATURE: I have compiled into a list what I consider to be the ANC’s 10 most disturbing quotes of the last 18 years. Each one made a significant impact on current affairs and, significantly, revealed the ANC’s real thinking, so they are worth documenting and recalling. But I am open to suggestions. The point of this article is to generate a discussion. So read them and leave your comments. Did Zuma’s shower quote make the list? Malema on nationalisation? Mbeki on Aids? Read on and find out. Also, leave your thoughts on Twitter, I will use the hashtag #ANCQuotes

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Driving Ms Mbete: Part 2


FEATURE: Having set out the details of former Speaker Baleka Mbete’s fraudulent driver’s licence in Part 1 of this retrospective, today we look at how the press responded at the time. The various editorial comments are helpful not only because they gives a sense of the outrage but because they capture nicely the various ethical considerations at play, which are perhaps lost in a factual account of the incident and, certainly, were lost on the ANC at the time.

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Driving Ms Mbete: Part 1


FEATURE: It is now largely forgotten but in 1997 former Speaker in the National Assembly Baleka Mbete was embroiled in a serious corruption scandal. She was accused of obtaining fraudulently a learner’s and driver’s licence and, among 44 others, required to testify before a Commission of Enquiry into the matter. It is worth recalling the story because it illustrated much about the ANC’s attitude to accountability and executive office – an attitude that is now well entrenched. So, here is a retrospective: how Baleka Mbete got a fraudulent driver’s licence and what the ANC did about it.

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Mangaung: The ANC’s shame


FEATURE: The ANC has spent much time over the past six months waxing lyrical about the deep significance of Mangaung and the Free State to the party, as it celebrates its 100 anniversary. But an overview of the way in which local government has been managed by the party suggests a different attitude. Indeed, so fundamentally mismanaged is the Free State, if anything the ANC owes its people an apology. What follows is a general overview of the way in which the various local authorities in the Free State – and Mangaung in particular – have performed according to the reports of the Auditor-General. It makes for disturbing reading and, I would argue, leads one to the inevitable conclusion that, if the ANC owes anything to the Free State, it is an explanation.

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Bitou at the brink


FEATURE: The story of Bitou municipality (Plettenberg Bay) and how the ANC’s closed crony model of local governance corrupted democracy and development in the area. Described by the DA’s David Christianson, the story sets out how the ANC administration, through the mismanagement and misuse of resources, brought the municipality to its knees, and the extent of the problem with DA inherited when it came to power in Bitou in last year’s local government elections. It is a powerful illustration of the kind of damage poor governance can do and, much like the story of Gauteng’s Nokeng Tsa Taemane municipality which Helen Zille set out during the election and DA Mayor Gesie van Deventer’s description of what the DA found when it took over Drakenstein demonstrates that much of the ANC’s poor governance is only fully revealed when it is removed from power.

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Learning the hard way


FEATURE: When Jackie Selebi was appointed police commissioner in 1999, and despite much evidence suggesting his appointment would be problematic – least of all that he was first an foremost an Mbeki loyalist, not an expert – the decison was widely welcomed by the mainstream press. Today, Selebi’s successor, Bheki Cele, is also disgraced and so it worth asking: what did the press say about his 2009 appointment? Did they praise it? Or where they critical? Because the problem with the appointment was essentially the same. Have a read and find out.

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