The cycle of violence is over for another year

As Ted Kennedy said en route to Chappaquiddick, bad roads do not a bad driver make. It takes more than a rutted Iranian riverbed-cum-highway or an Iraqi shooting gallery to push motorists to the limits of endurance. For that, you need to be in Cape Town on the weekend of the Argus cycle tour.

A dead issue

Opposition parties, desperate for a popular cause on which to challenge the African National Congress and looking anxiously over their right shoulders at each other, have exhumed the death penalty as an issue in this election. It is worth reiterating some of the arguments used by the Constitutional Court in striking down the death penalty nearly 10 years ago.

The noose is no solution to our problems

"Bring back the death penalty," seems to be a popular slogan ahead of the April vote. So what is wrong with this, especially if there appears to be enough voters who would gladly place their crosses next to the candidate who promises to return the noose if he or she is elected? Nothing?

Revolution vs romance

Both South Africa's "rainbow romantics" and its "revolutionary left" suffer from a failure to grasp many of the political realities of the country after apartheid — and this often makes irrelevant their contributions on how to tackle the social and economic challenges facing the nation.

The road to power

Unless social movements -- like the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) -- can translate their actions, energies and commitment to a changed and better world into viable organisational vehicles that can contend for political power, their energies will dissipate and the potential to become a powerful force will be wasted.

Common law should not be discarded

The argument that South Africa should abolish Roman-Dutch law -- at the core of much of the justice system of the country -- with something more compatible with its African roots often rears its head. South Africa's common law was polluted by apartheid and the racist rule that preceded 1948, but the Constitution contains the very means of its redemption.

Cake of Good Hope

Festivals have been described as the lifeblood of the arts in this country. They generally have budgets to commission new work. They offer artists real opportunities to generate income. Festivals also provide a barometer of where our artists are at, creatively and thematically. Except for the Mother City of all festivals, which provides more of a barometer of where artists are not, writes Mike van Graan.

One comrade, one company

Ten years on, how the African National Congress chant has changed. This week, we delve further into the heart of ANC Inc to reveal the extent of business involvement of the ANC Youth League. It is an investigation that has taken many weeks to reveal the maze of corporatism that is now the league.

Goodbye Honey

So Honey Mateya, Metrorail CEO, will finally be subjected to scrutiny following his suspension last week. Transnet CEO Maria Ramos may find this a dignified way to facilitate his exit. Mateya was mired in a mess not of his own making. But he did not help himself by using spin to hide the rot.

Appreciating alliances

There is something significant in the run-up to the election that will likely have far-reaching consequences for the country. Unfortunately, it is obscured by the intensity of political party campaigns. Contemporary alliances between some political parties raise the possibility of a positive shift in South African politics. Sadly, society and political parties are really not appreciative of what is afoot.

The wall must fall

At first glance, Israel's planned 700km wall and fence on its Eastern flank seems defensible, as it will undoubtedly reduce suicide bombings on Israeli territory. Under closer scrutiny, it emerges as a gross injustice that is justifiably condemned in much of the world, and even by some Israelis.

Opening up rural India

Initially they stood at the back of the gathering, arms folded, but looking confident -- smiling, jesting with one another. The ration dealers of rural Rajasthan -- or, at least, of one small part of this giant Indian state. But this was a day of reckoning; soon they were to be called to account, shaken off their smug perches.

Dlamini-Zuma shows us the way

I must confess to having experienced a feeling of great personal relief when reading recent statements by our lovable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana-Sarafina-Virodene-Dlamini-Zuma. Like lots of other embittered neo-colonialists, I have come at last to realise that all the fuss and grief over Zimbabwe is little more than a white-owned, media-generated conspiracy to make an altruistic savant like President Robert Mugabe look like a deranged tosspot.

Little more than a damp squib

The March 6 executive meeting of the South African Football Association (Safa) was billed as a meeting to solve the shenanigans affecting South African soccer, but turned out to be a damp squib.

In place of ideology

Our cover image this week should, of course, be taken with a pinch of salt. Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel is very far from being the fiery revolutionary of yesteryear. He is a minister in a largely responsible government who has swapped beard, jeans and struggle T-shirt for a suit and tie.

Give it up for the ladies

It is not Women's Day, nor am I trying to curry any favour with the new editor of the <i>Mail & Guardian</i> who is female, but recognition should go where it is due this week. Women's sport has been performing wonders so far.

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.

That other holocaust

This year marks the centenary of an extraordinary event that the world doesn't seem to care much about. In 1904, after many years of conflict with the invading German army, the Herero people of Namibia decided that enough was enough. They were called together by their paramount chief, Samuel Maharero, and summoned to go to war.