While the government earnestly pledges its commitment to reversing inequality, it reproduces inequality in the normal behaviour it expects for itself and the broader elite of South Africa’s political-economy. Two recent and very public events illustrate these opposing positions.
In King Leopold’s Ghost, the historian Adam Hochschild uncovers the horrors committed in the Belgian Congo in the years before and after 1900. It is a history of slavery, murder and mutilation – anyone who’s seen the pictures of piles of cut-off hands cannot but be horrified by it.
For millions of South Africans, the monthly social grants -- mostly pensions and child support -- are the difference between survival and starvation.
In May, the Democratic Alliance Student Alliance (DASO) won SRC elections at the University of Fort Hare. The university has been a stronghold of ANC-aligned organisations. We spoke to student leaders to find out what changed.
Over the past few years, we have seen an explosion of arguments for and against gay rights in Africa. Those in favour of gay rights point out that they can help to protect sexual minorities by making discrimination illegal, in the process making societies more equitable. Those opposed to gay rights allege that homosexuality only arrived with Europeans, that gay rights are a threat to the African nation, and a threat to the heterosexual family.
During Thomas Piketty’s Nelson Mandela lecture a friend tweeted that, despite the standing ovation, many would choose what to remember. They would parrot his call for investment in education because that was unthreatening. Forget land redistribution, a wealth tax and the national minimum wage, just get the kids in school!
We, as a nation, are deeply in debt. And that is very worrying, with declining disposable incomes the rising costs of living and with another festive season fast approaching. Government admits that many households are drowning in debt”. So the plea is for citizens to save more and to retain pensions rather than cash in existing provisions.
"I can't comment - the matter is sub judice." This is the refrain beloved of senior politicians from Cyril Ramaphosa to Nathi Nhleko to Thandi Modise to Baleka Mbete to President Zuma himself when faced with a difficult question.
To hear those two words from a majority of the Constitutional Court after another wave of tireless campaigning on one of the oldest and most fundamental issues we face as a country was brutal.
In the wake of the Hitachi/Chancellor House investigation in the US and Hitachi Corporation’s agreement to pay a huge amount to settle the corruption allegations made against it, the Constitutional Court’s judgments in My Vote Counts NPC v Speaker of the National Assembly and Others, handed down on Wednesday, could hardly be more pertinent.