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Unpredictable, beautiful soccer

The South African Castle Premiership has drawn to the the end of the first half of the season and there are still no clear contenders or pretenders to the league title. But look elsewhere in Europe and you can already predict who is going to win. In England, it is between Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. In Italy, Juventus or AC Milan, while in Spain it is between Real Madrid and Deportiva La Coruna.

Nixing corruption needs practice and leadership

Post-apartheid South Africa has some of the most comprehensive legislation for controlling corruption and conflicts of interest in the world. But the government's anti-corruption campaign has suffered from a lack of leadership and a serial inability to implement the anti-graft systems that it has put in place.

Return to barbarism

After ending the past century on a somewhat civilised note and putting in place systems to deter killing, we have entered the 21st century a killing species. And in this, the fourth year of the century, we find ourselves as a human race taking a gigantic step backwards, writes Mondli Makhanya.

Let the Helderberg rest in peace

Radio 702 outdid its tabloid instincts last week by giving air time to loony-tunes theories on the cause of the 1987 Helderberg air disaster. Sixteen years after the event, someone called Brian Watkins, once a minor SAA functionary, has stepped forward with a selection of rumour, hearsay and gossip — all apparently acquired about seventh hand

Spitting in their mouths

It is ironic and sad that the modern democratic principles of the Commonwealth are contained in a document called the Harare Declaration -- now a city that has come to symbolise the blatant abuse of the very values it helped enshrine and even gave its name to.

Circus or serious investigation?

The Hefer commission, trundling to its predictable conclusion, has the whiff of a show trial about it -- a legal circus designed to discredit National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka's accusers, rather than to investigate seriously whether he was an apartheid agent or abused his office.

Struggle, the beloved artist

Culture as a weapon of struggle is back. It's more sophisticated. It's a bit more grown up. And its practitioners probably will not like the label. But it's here. And not a moment too soon, writes Mike van Graan.

The din of clashing egos

Two interesting empowerment conundrums are likely to emerge in the years ahead as empowerment takes root and matures. The first is whether a company name or its brands should necessarily reflect underlying ownership, together with its empowerment component. The other is whether members of empowerment consortiums are guided by aligned interests.

I have a dream…

Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. If Woody Allen is to be believed, those who can't teach, teach gym. And those who can't teach gym, write advertisements for radio. So when the reassuring drawl of Gary Player rose clear above the aural sludge, I sat up and listened. Gary was urging me to open an account with Nedbank.

When it rains, it pours

For the South African national soccer coaches, it does not rain but pours. This rings true when it comes to club versus country selections. What Bafana Bafana's Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba has endured in trying to get a team to play in next year's Nations Cup in Tunisia is what his under-23 coach, Kenneth "Conti" Khubeka, is expected to go through next week.

ANC list blues

The African National Congress's list of candidates for the next general election looks depressingly familiar -- the same names call to mind the same faces, in many cases with eyes closed and dozing blissfully on the back benches of Parliament.

Equality courts at risk of becoming white elephants

On June 16 -- almost unnoticed -- the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Amendment Act of 2002 became law. The Act created equality courts, where ordinary people who believe they are victims of unfair discrimination can have their cases heard before a magistrate. These courts are at the risk of becoming white elephants.

The tragic fall of an icon

This week Maharaj again cut a tragic figure, but for a very different reason. There he was, on the witness stand at the Hefer commission, bumbling his way through what he must have known was nonsensical testimony. It was inevitable that under relentless cross-examination by the country's top lawyers, he would wilt.

A bumpy road for Bafana Bafana

The South African national coach's final preparations before the Nations Cup next year in Tunisia have been dealt a heavy blow. Bafana Bafana were handed their first ever defeat under Mashaba on Saturday against Egypt before succumbing to the hosts of the Nations Cup Tunisia on Wednesday.

Let there be banking

It is not often that one gets a chance to listen to a pressing social problem being succinctly outlined, and then receives almost immediate news of a creative but practical response. On Tuesday the FinMark Trust unveiled Finscope, a survey of 3 000 households on access to and behaviour towards financial services.

Shedding the Maggie look

Could we possibly be saying goodbye this week to the common caricature of Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel as Trevor Thatcher and do we have comrade Trevor back? Has the ruling party returned to the left-of-centre political stage it must occupy in a country like ours? In many senses, yes.

In spirit of the times

Artists are often called upon to donate their creativity to some worthy cause. Yesterday it was a benefit concert for those who failed to get a 4x4 out of the arms deal. Today it will be poetry evening for people living with spies. In the freebie charity stakes artists must be the most called upon professionals, writes Mike van Graan.

The time is nigh

The days are rushing past, and so are the minutes and seconds before Bafana Bafana national coach Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba is set to announce his final 22 players for the Nations Cup in Tunisia in January next year. But will he have enough time to make them gel to take on the Nigerians, Morocco and Benin?

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