South Africa

South Africa

While you were sleeping: Tuesday 19 January 2016

While you were sleeping: Tuesday 19 January 2016

Venus Williams out of Australian Open, China out of GDP expectations, and Davos WEF summit out of touch with reality.

Can I get 30 seconds, too?”

 Martin O’Malley, the other candidate in the Clinton v Sanders debate on Sunday night.


China’s fourth quarter GDP growth has slowed to 6.8%. The lowest since 2009, the announcement has put a further dampener on expectations for the country’s economic outlook. Analysis on the growth slowdown has also suggested that China could slow to 6.5% in subsequent quarters, if not more. While a nightmare for Chinese investors, South Africa could only dream of such growth figures.

The Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey has died. Aged 67, Frey passed away due to complications arising from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. Responsible for the second-best-selling record of all time in the United States, Frey helped write many of the band’s hit songs. 

The world’s political elites, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio, have descended upon the snowy hills of Davos for the World Economic Forum. In the wake of a damning Oxfam report highlighting the growing global inequality between the world’s richest 1% and the rest, this gathering will either highlight the world’s divisions, or seek to remedy them. At least during the day. The evening is for fancy brandy and skiing.

Facebook has launched a campaign to stymy extremism in Europe. This took the form of the ‘Initiative for Civil Courage Online‘, which sees over $1 million in funding made available for organisations supporting this objective. Facebook has admitted that the social networking site has not done enough to thwart extremism and hate speech, and has resolved to improve this. Your cat pictures, however, are safe from moderation. For now.

Venus Williams’ ambitions of winning the Australian Open have gone right out into the outback. Williams was soundly defeated 6-4 6-2 by British player, Johanna Konta. With only a brief rally to bring Williams up from 5-0 down to 5-2 in the second set, the conclusion was never really in doubt. 



The estimated wealth, in trillions of dollars, of the top 1% of the world. This is a larger combined amount than the remaining 99%, as well as the combined GDPs of the United Kingdom and Germany.


Today in 1977 saw snow fall in Miami for the first and last time on record.

Fact of the day: M&Ms stands for “Mars and Murrie’s”. They are the founders’ last names.


Bloemfontein: min: 20° max: 29°, rainy

Cape Town: min: 21° max: 36°, sunny
Durban: min: 20° max: 32°, cloudy
East London: min: 20° max: 30°, sunny
Johannesburg: min: 16° max: 27°, rainy
Kimberley: min: 22° max: 31°, rainy
Nelspruit: min: 14° max: 30°, cloudy
Pietermaritzburg: min: 12° max: 31°, rainy
Polokwane: min: 13° max: 28°, cloudy
Port Elizabeth: min: 20° max: 29°, cloudy
Pretoria: min: 16° max: 28°, rainy

Oil=$28.75 Gold=$1,089.45 Platinum=$819.75
R/$=16.77 R/€=18.25 R/£=23.93 $/€=1.08
JSE All Share=46,876.62 DJIA=15,988.08 FTSE 100=5,780.99: Source

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South Africa: The fear of living dangerously
It is becoming clearer and clearer that the ANC and President Jacob Zuma just refuse understand the seriousness of Nhlanhla Nene’s removal from the position of Finance Minister. Last week Zuma said that the reaction to the sacking had been an “exaggeration”, and that people just hadn’t understood what he was doing. Now the ANC has said that we should all just stop talking about it, and the country “should move on”. What is missing is the promise that no such future shock will occur. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The Cannabis Chronicles: Marijuana activism scores, Big Pharma equalises
In a policy brief published by the Medical Research Council on January 5, the medicinal value of cannabinoids was officially – and historically – recognised in South Africa. Three days later, the president signed into law the Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Act of 2015, a piece of legislation that theoretically allows Big Pharma to feed our dagga to us in pill form – or, if we like, through a straw. KEVIN BLOOM reports.
Op-Ed: The real indictment of Thabo Mbeki
Thabo Mbeki has a first-rate intellect and a second-rate temperament. His legacy is felt throughout government, and in the president he bequeathed us. Just as he failed to groom a set of next-generation leaders at the top, he discouraged original thought, and rewarded blind loyalty at lower levels. By JOHN MATISONN.
Gauteng universities: We support students, but let studies begin
Universities and government are continuing their efforts to avoid student protests in 2016. With SRCs, like Wits, taking initiative to solve problems of student exclusion, engagement from the higher education and training minister, and a commission of inquiry on the way, they’re trying to stop the demonstrations before they really begin. What really happens will be up to the students. By GREG NICOLSON.
Adam Habib: An Open Letter to colleagues critical of campus safety and security arrangements
In the past week, some of you have bluntly expressed concerns in public and directly to me about the decision of the Senior Executive Team to bring private security onto campus. For those of you who have raised these concerns, please allow me the privilege of being as bold and blunt in my response, in the interests of identifying the options that are available to us as a university community. Please also forgive me for the length of my reply, but I do think that it is necessary for everyone to comprehensively understand from where we are coming.
Theodor Adorno vs Herbert Marcuse on student protests, violence and democracy
Below is an excerpt from Achille Mbembe’s the “Diary of My South African Years”. The “Diary” includes various notes, fragments, unfinished texts (some of them hand written), public interventions, interviews and other material accumulated over many years. The excerpt published here was written last year. It is not a formal analysis of current events. It is an exercise in sympathetic critique, a tradition of reading one’s own times that is much rooted in various versions of Black and Jewish thought. By ACHILLE MBEMBE.
Trophy hunting: Ultimately a question of morality
Hunters argue that their activities only take out older animals that are past their breeding lives and therefore have fulfilled their purpose. Such specious claims have been perpetuated for decades and have been mostly accepted by a gullible audience. Science shows clearly, however, that the elderly of many species still breed and make a vital contribution to the structures of their society. Removing them artificially upsets all sorts of behaviour around reproduction, collective wisdom and, certainly in the case of elephants, discipline within herds. By PETER BORCHERT for UNTOLD AFRICA.
Op-Ed: Global inequality, tax-evasion and corruption
Wealth is simply not trickling down; it is being sucked up by a powerful and wealthy minority. Once there, an elaborate system of tax havens and an industry of wealth managers ensure that it stays there – far from the reach of ordinary citizens and their governments. This has to be stopped. By WINNIE BYANYIMA.
The Saudi Missions and the mobs: Who controls the Iranian Street?
On 2 January 2016, an unidentified group of protesters torched the Saudi embassy in Iran. In this Q&A, Crisis Group Senior Iran Analyst, Ali Vaez, explains the context of the incident and the wider long-term implications of the attack. By the INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.
Singin’ in the Rain: Lots of laughter and sunny smiles all ‘round
Everything about the show is extremely professional: The sets are superb, the lighting is excellent, and the costumes and props are perfect. The show-stopping tune, “Singin’ in the Rain” is so sensational that it’s worth going for that alone. By LESLEY STONES.
Football and Society: Cele’s death should not be the end of hope and aspiration
Cele deserves all our respect, and has be remembered for more than what he gave us on the field. He was, also, more than a star or a sportsperson, he was a South African taken away from us by the scourge of road violence that takes away young people – many often in the prime of their lives. By ISMAIL LAGARDIEN.
Jay Naidoo: A report most worrying: The world painted by flames
Is our world descending into flames? Is the evidence of growing humanitarian crises contradicting those who have raised their champagne glasses to toast the better world we live in, celebrating the Millennium Development Goals and amongst other claims, drops in infant and mother mortality and halving poverty?
Ismail Lagardien: The ANC is probably the best political party we have
The ANC’s greatest achievement is that they have managed to keep the country together for the first 20 years after the end of apartheid. In this respect, notably under the leadership of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, the ANC has avoided the ethno-linguistic fractionalisation that beset so many former colonial territories after independence.
#ZumaMustFall: A misguided campaign, Zuma’s helping hand
An unnamed person or group in Cape Town shelled out about R500,000 to make and rent the space for a giant banner with the words “Zuma Must Fall”. On Saturday, a day after it was erected, ANC supporters ripped it to shreds. The #ZumaMustFall movement, which says it had nothing to do with the erection of the banner, claimed that the message had nevertheless struck home and their campaign has received more support. From whom? With what objective? The #ZumaMustFall campaign is, in fact, prompting exactly the opposite result from the one it intends to achieve. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Ivo Vegter: What Oxfam doesn’t explain about its inequality stats
You have to give them credit for playing the media like a fiddle. Who wouldn’t publish cute stats that claim the richest 62 of people own more than the rest of us put together? But in focusing on inequality instead of poverty, and blaming the rich instead of blaming cronyism and corruption, Oxfam missed an opportunity to make the world a better place.
Analysis: DA’s Herman Mashaba is a strong alternative to ANC’s Parks Tau
In the race for national power, local government elections are usually important signposts of how the wind is blowing. The fact that the vote of the average South African is now more valuable than it has ever been because there is more contestation means that parties have to fight harder than ever before in this year’s polls. Which makes the choice of candidates more important than ever. The DA has now decided the Herman Mashaba will be its candidate for Joburg. The ANC is still deciding whether to tell us what seems almost certain, that Parks Tau will remain its candidate. Tau is probably fairly safe in the job. But just the fact Mashaba has been picked for this election could mean that he is planning a big future for himself in the DA. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
DA’s Herman Mashaba is confident about winning Johannesburg
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has its sights set on winning Johannesburg this year and on Saturday the party announced its mayoral candidate, Herman Mashaba. GREG NICOLSON sits down with the “Black Like Me” founder to talk about politics, jobs, race, and his chances come elections.


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