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

Tag: Democracy

The selective moral outrage of Trevor Manuel


TrevorManuelFEATURE: Trevor Manuel has made a point over the last two years of openly criticising the ANC and the ANC government on a range of different issues. Each time his outspoken ‘honesty’ has been met with much praise and acclaim. But it is selective moral outrage on Manuel’s part and, if he really is interested in setting himself apart from the ANC, then he has much explaining to do – starting with his years of complicit silence as Thabo Mbeki damaged the foundations of our democracy.

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The ANC and FNB: Treason for some, freedom of speech for others


ANCChinaFEATURE: Here follow two 2009 election adverts. The first is from the Freedom Front Plus, the second from the African Christian Democratic Party. Both are harrowing and aim to induce much fear in the viewer about the state of South Africa, in an attempt to win their support. Compared to the FNB advert, they are extreme and make no attempt to allude to a problem in inspirational language. Rather they are cut-throat, highly provocative and damning of the government. One is forced to ask, given that there is so much unhappiness on the ANC’s part about the mild FNB ad, why neither of these two parties were ever labelled as ‘treasonous’?

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Zuma’s minority rights gaffe: What HANSARD says


FEATURE: In a desperate attempt to recast President Zuma’s profoundly undemocratic comments about minority rights, the Presidency yesterday released a statement that does nothing more than completely and utterly misrepresent what the President actually said. But we now have definitive proof, the unrevised HANSARD of President’s Question Time is avaliable, and you can read what he said word-for-word. Flowing from that, in turn, are a number of questions about Zuma’s attitude to nature of union’s undemocratic structure, which someone should put to him.

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The Ten Commandments according to Jacob Zuma


FEATURE: Jacob Zuma has, over the last five years, spent much time advocating his and the ANC’s religious credentials: that his is a party endorsed by God, that it will rule till the end of days, that its enemies will suffer damnation, that he is like Jesus, even that an ANC membership card is a ticket into heaven. I have organised all his religious rhetoric into ten key ideas – everything Jacob Zuma has ever said about the ANC and religion. Not only does it serve as a helpful archive but jointly and separately his statements paint a picture of a profoundly undemocratic leader with scant regard for the constitution or the basic tenets of democracy [GRAPHIC included].

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South Africa and the 1994 memory block


FEATURE: There is a strong case to be made that contemporary South African history – post 1994 – is subject to some kind of collective memory block. So horrific was apartheid, we have lost the ability properly to put current affairs in their full perspective. Inevitably any event is gauged, not against the principles that define freedom, but those gross violations suffered in the past. Remembering the past is vital but it should never blur our ability to recognise those contemporary threats to our civil liberties.

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An Open Letter: Why The Spear is staying up on Inside Politics


FEATURE: Over the past 48 hours a series of people and institutions once dedicated to freedom of expression and tolerance have surrendered their position on The Spear in the face of intimidation and bullying. In each case, an emotional justification has been offered. In many cases it has been accepted, for bullying is felt as intimidation not by the victim alone. I am not taking down The Spear from Inside Politics. What follows is an open letter and explanation as to why.

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