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MAIL & GUARDIAN: Opinion

Is South Africa going the Zimbabwean way?

The complaint by opposition parties that South Africa is fast becoming a one-party state is stubbornly not going away, and is set to dominate the forthcoming election. In this view, the African National Congress is becoming too powerful and is likely to subvert South Africa's democracy, running the country into the ground in the process. Some people -- tongue in cheek -- claim this has already happened.

Credits roll for Ben

Having starred for the past five years in the Oscar-nominated movie, Lost in his Portfolio, the minister formerly known as the arts and culture ambassador, has ridden off into the sunset to the land of the rising sun. Tokyo will now have its Little Ben, writes Mike Van Graan.

We all need a means of accessing legal muscle

The late black consciousness leader Steve Biko once said "no average black man can ever at any moment be absolutely sure that he is not breaking a law." This year we celebrate 10 years since South Africa officially became a non-racial country, so I would like to believe that Biko's observations have spread to people of other hues, writes Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya.

Editorial: The rot must stop

Our lead article throws new light on the extent to which crony capitalism and influence peddling is reaching high into the African National Congress -- a trend that threatens the integrity of the economic system and the democratic order that is not even 10 years old.

Thrashing it out on the field

Rivalry in football is mainly limited to derby matches, but the African Nations Cup has an instance that dates back as far as the 1996 Cup held in South Africa. Bafana Bafana and Nigeria are the greatest of enemies when it comes to football. On Saturday this rivalry will be renewed as both nations try to qualify for the knockout stages in the Nations cup next week.

The X of generation Y

That there is a massive switch-off from politics by young people is now undeniable. The latest voter registration figures released by the Independent Electoral Commission on Thursday reveal that just less than half the eligible young voting population have turned out to register.

Travelling island style

We boarded the ferry at the impressive Nelson Mandela Gateway along with the Dutch, American, Swedish, British and other golden geese that migrate from colder climes to Cape Town at this time of year. I was in the company of two young tourists -- a nine-year-old and a six-year-old -- who double as my sons, writes Mike van Graan.

Judges’ moral authority matters

"How far can one go in criticising a judge? Our law, while saying that 'justice is not a cloistered virtue' and that 'it is right and proper that [judges] should be publicly accountable', does place limits on the criticism of judicial officers and the administration of justice for which they are responsible."

Shakes, and all hope, is gone

Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba was fired in an unusual fashion this week soon after being suspended for seven days -- telephonically. There is now definitely no hope of South Africa winning the Nations Cup, firstly due to the ill-preparedness of the team physically and mentally. Only time will tell now how badly this soccer saga affected the players.

An end to transition?

Conventional wisdom tells us that South Africa, like Russia, is a "transitional" society. What is meant by this? What government policies, and forms of action by the non-government sector, does this imply? At what point can we safely deem the "transition" completed -- and what happens then?

Hope deferred …

Measured by progress made towards a just and peaceful world order, 2003 is thankfully over and best forgotten. Especially depressing was the spectacle of the richest, most scientifically advanced human beings on the planet lapse into a kind of high-tech barbarism.

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.

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