MAIL & GUARDIAN: Opinion

What went wrong?

The rumour mill has been working overtime during the past three weeks as Wits University employees, journalists and everyone else who can cadge some media space try to figure out what has been going on at the topmost levels of one of this country's academic showpieces.

Cheating the poor

In recent weeks public discourse has been dominated by news and debates about the strategies South Africa should use to fight poverty. Drivenby soaring food prices, reports of grinding poverty in our rural provinces and ideological battles within the ruling African National Congress alliance, this debate has rightly come to occupy South Africa's political centre stage.

Is a dose of principle too much to ask for?

The New National Party trumpeted its triumph over the Democratic Alliance as a victory for those committed to the improvement of poor people's quality of life. The African National Congress hailed the week's developments as a boon for the cause of non-racialism and the efficient delivery of social services.

We all suffer

This week's Commonwealth "troika" meeting in Abuja made one thing abundantly clear -- it is game up in Zimbabwe. Unconstitutional and often violent land seizures will continue to the end; while human rights and governance abuses will continue for as long as the ruling party needs them. President Robert Mugabe has calculated well: South Africa, the region and the continent -- and their representatives in the Commonwealth have dependably shielded him. South Africa insists it is powerless to act. It had an opportunity to do something in Abuja, and called pass.

State must show it cares

This week yet more cases of grotesque gender violence hit the headlines -- the savage rapes of two girls aged three and six. The attack on one of the girls resulted in injuries that medical personnel described as among the worst they have ever seen.

Earth in the balance

Perhaps the biggest threat to our world is the idea that humanity's immediate needs must be satisfied by whatever means and that the future can go hang.

To err is Erwin

In an interview with the SABC, Minister of Trade and Industry Alec Erwin responded to our story last week about the inflated value ascribed to many of the offset projects linked to the arms deal. He said: "The Mail & Guardian article was factually inaccurate in a whole range of ways ... The figures about a drop in exports are just wrong. We don't respond to such grossly inaccurate and speculative nonsense."

Afro-realism

One might think from the triumphalism of South Africa's media that peace came this week to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Let us be honest with ourselves: this is the first step in the proverbial journey of a thousand miles.

An assurance we can believe, please

Well, the grubby crazy truth is almost out. Back in 1998 President Thabo Mbeki gave South Africans a categorical assurance. It dealt with Virodene, a loony anti-Aids remedy with no credibility among scientists, which was already known to be based on a toxic industrial solvent...

Reform the farmer

On the face of it, the chanting of "Kill the Boer! Kill the farmer!" at Peter Mokaba's funeral last weekend -- and its indulgence by African National Congress leaders -- ran directly counter to the government's professed reconciliation policy.

Still Saul, not Paul

Those sceptical about the government's alleged Damascene conversion on HIV/Aids, and who fear dissident backsliding, will be worried by the nevirapine appeal in the Constitutional Court...

Even rats enjoy a flutter

She said to me quite plainly: 'If I lose I pay you a million dollars. If you lose you agree to have two large...

A heavy responsibility

LET there be no doubt: South Africa's response to last weekend's election in Zimbabwe and its outcome will have a defining influence on the life chances of many millions of people in our region.

Arms and the MPs

The most enduring legacy of South Africa's R50-billion arms deal may turn out to be the terrible injury it has inflicted on our most important democratic institution - Parliament

Failing Zimbabwe

IF deputy foreign minister Aziz Pahad really believes there will be credible elections in Zimbabwe, why is he also begging the developed world not to back off the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) if things go wrong?

Enough paranoia

Last week's <i>Mail & Guardian</i> report on the meeting between the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the African National Congress, at which unionists were accused of scheming to undermine President Thabo Mbeki, went down like a concrete balloon

High shock threshold

It has often been said that South Africa has an unusually high scandal threshold. It takes a mass murder, a rape of extreme brutality, or a body count of hundreds on the roads for anyone to pay attention

Editorial: Morkelgate

The media fest over the relationship between the Democratic Alliance's Western Cape leader, Gerald Morkel, and millionaire fugitive from German justice Jurgen Harksen partly reflects the life and death battle between the DA and the New National Party in the Western Cape.

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