www.inside-politics.org

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

Tag: Nelson Mandela

The ANC’s dubious donors


ANCFlagARTICLE: I am going to try and keep Inside Politics going but my new commitments will make writing more sporadic and so, along with the odd post from the archives, so to speak, I shall probably keep things shorter. That said, the article below, originally published in 2007, is still relevant today: a good illustration of how the ANC historically placed its own financial condition ahead of any human rights considerations that might curtail from whom it solicited donations. That fact still holds true today, even if the donors are more often domestic than international. It sets out of some of the party’s more more dubious funders and what the papers said about each donation at the time.

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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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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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Mbeki’s 1994 TV debate nightmare


SERIES: In this edition of From the Archives: As the Republican Party process to determine a presidential candidate plays itself out in America, with a seemingly endless stream of televised debates, it is worth asking why we don’t enjoy a similar culture of public debate in South Africa. Why did Jacob Zuma and Helen Zille not debate each other on live television in the run-up to the 2009 election? The answer to that question is a complex one, and a lot, I suspect, to do with Zuma himself. But the ANC more generally has never really advocated for this kind of thing, certainly Mbeki fought it tooth and nail – and he was no Jacob Zuma. Why? One reason is the ANC’s obvious attitude to debate but, with regards to Mbeki, the answer might be a little more personal. Here follows a retrospective on the first and only time democratic South Africa presidential candidates debated on live TV – in the run-up to the 1994 election.

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South Africa and the Sorites Paradox


FEATURE: The Sorites Paradox posits that, in removing individual grains of sand from a heap, one can never tell the exact point when it stops being a heap and becomes something else. It is also called the ‘little-by-little’ argument and speaks to one of humankind’s great weaknesses: our inability to spot gradual but fundamental change over time. What happens when you apply the paradox to the ANC? Is it the same party it was in 1994? Has it changed fundamentally? If so, when did it happen?

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[In]famous ANC promises 1: free media


SERIES: A good quote can hold within it a thousand separate insights, just as surely as some poorly constructed thought can reveal someone as a fool. Quotable Quotes looks at what is said, what was said and, on occasion, how the two compare. In this edition: Believe it or not, the ANC has not always advocated for state regulation. Indeed, there was a time when it spoke out against the very idea.

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