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

Tag: Helen Zille

Zille, the Guptas and the Weekend Argus’s shoddy journalism


WeekendArgusFEATURE: This past Sunday the Weekend Argus ran a story which reported that the Democratic Alliance had received a donation from the Gupta family and that Helen Zille had personally organised it. It relied on a single source to make that claim, in a front page banner lead. However, that particular piece of ‘news’ was actually broken in March 2011, some 23 months ago – every, single element of it, almost word-for-word; and all the Weekend Argus did was disingenuously rehash and reframe an old story as new. It is an example of journalism at its weakest and the question now is, what is the newspaper and the media more generally going to do about it? Time for a bit of that famous self-regulation, one would think.

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The Sowetan, Zuma and Zille: A critique


FEATURE: Shortly after her 2009 election as Western Cape Premier, the Sowetan newspaper decided to make an issue out of Helen Zille. Because it didn’t have anything suitable, it decided rather to manufacture some news. So it took a comment Zille had made about President Zuma and blew it out of all proportion, setting off a media frenzy. What follows below is a 2009 article on the incident, setting out how the Sowetan manipulated ‘the news’ in order, presumably, to do nothing more than sell newspapers.

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How personal bias corrupts ‘expert’ opinion


FEATURE: The Erasmus Commission was set up by the former ANC Premier of the Western Cape, Ebrahim Rasool, to probe the allegation that the DA-led coalition in the City of Cape Town – and Cape Town Mayor and DA leader Helen Zille in particular – had improperly used public funds to spy on their political opponents, despite the City having initiated an independent investigation into the matter, which cleared the administration and the DA of any wrongdoing. It was, after the City of Cape Town took it to court, found to be unlawful, as the DA had argued all along. Not so Pierre de Vos, however, despite being a ‘legal expert’ almost everything he said about the commission was wrong. The reason: a particular bias he holds for politicians, Helen Zille and the DA, which rendered his ability properly to analyse what was happening null and void. Here a 2008 article showing how.

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The logical errors of Pierre de Vos


FEATURE: When personal bias fuels analysis, as opposed to facts and evidence, inevitably one falls prey to logical error – because reason does not support your position, you are forced to rely on illogical claims. In the article below, written in 2008, I look at some of the logical mistakes made in an argument put forward by Pierre de Vos, about Helen’s Zille’s opposition to the establishment of the Erasmus Commission. Ultimately, the Commission was found to be unlawful by the courts but, at the time, de Vos was convinced the Democratic Alliance was hiding something. The result was a rather messy argument.

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How the WC Office of the Premier scored best in PSC report


FEATURE: The Public Service Commission recently published a report assessing the performance of the nine Offices of the Premier. The only Office of the Premier not run by the ANC – in the Western Cape – came out on top. What follows is a summary of that report and a more detailed look at how the DA-run Western Cape Office of the Premier faired. There is some critical information in this article and some invaluable statistics. All in all, further proof that, where the DA governs, it delivers better services than the ANC, to more people.

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The Western Cape’s response to draft Public Protector report


FEATURE: Below I have posted the Western Cape Government’s response to those stories carried in today’s press on the Public Protector’s draft report on the TBWA communications tender, undertaken by the Western Cape Government. It includes a statement from Western Cape Premier and Democratic Alliance Leader Helen Zille, followed by a legal opinion on the veracity of the draft report from senior counsel, Advocate Geoff Budlender.

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Understanding a vote-winning brand


FEATURE: In the article below the DA’s Gwen Ngwenya looks at the DA’s brand and its condition. She argues that, in order to understand it, one must do two things: first, look at the evidence (as opposed to mere opinion or speculation) and, second, how it is driven by strong leadership. On both these counts, she argues, the DA’s brand – a diverse party that delivers – is not just strong, but getting stronger.

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The ad hominem attack


SERIES: South African public discourse is awash with bad logic and poor reasoning. So much so that much of it is not even identified, let alone criticised. Illogical Logic is a series designed to look at the different kinds of crooked thinking out there, to identify and understand each in turn and, hopefully, to help promote better argument. We start with the ad hominem attack, possibly the crudist kind of sophistry.

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