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Federation ready to roll by Dewald Van Rensburg (City Press), 12 March 2017

13 March 2017

The New Trade Union Federation, spearheaded by leaders expelled from labour federation Cosatu, this week released lists of its signed-up members as well as potential future affiliates, already making it the country’s second-largest labour grouping.

The lists were released at a press conference, held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, and indicate that the still-unnamed New Federation may absorb more unions from Cosatu as well as from the National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu), the one existing federation which has not been dismissive of the project.

Pledge of precolonial audit is a way to distract from fruits of patronage by Aninka Claassens (Business Live), 09 March 2017

13 March 2017

President Jacob Zuma’s "radical" solution to the lack of meaningful land redistribution is to assure traditional leaders the government will expedite a precolonial land audit. How this will provide land and security of tenure to shack dwellers around the cities and to people who need land in rural areas is unclear. It is also not clear how the government will pull off such an audit, given its failure to complete an audit of all the land currently owned by state institutions, despite repeated undertakings to do so.

Xenophobia In South Africa And Nigeria by Omano Edigheji (Sahara Reporters), 26 February 2017

28 February 2017

Nigerians are rightly outraged by the xenophobic attacks committed by some South Africans against Africans from other parts of the continent. The attacks bring shame to the country of Nelson Mandela. In condemning the attacks, there should not be the mistaken belief that all South Africans are xenophobic – the xenophobes are the minority.

PATRICK BOND: Zuma's blossoming love affair with alternative facts by Patrick Bond (Business Live), 14 February 2017

16 February 2017

South African President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation speech will be followed by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Budget speech next week on February 22. They represent the country’s two main warring political blocs: patronage versus prudence. But after the “radical economic transformation” rhetoric was ratcheted up by the president, both men may soon stumble on a terrain potholed by what a Donald Trump aide approvingly terms “alternative facts”.

Zuma at least did include a belated definition of what he means by radical economic transformation:

Populism will not fix problems of economy by Murray Leibbrandt and Pippa Green (Business Day), 09 February 2017

10 February 2017

Research findings show poor education that hinders young people is a central source of inequality in SA, write Murray Leibbrandt and Pippa Green.

Late in 2016, on the same day the ANC leadership met in Irene near Pretoria to discuss the future of its president, senior policymakers met some of the country’s top economic researchers just down the road to examine the social crises that threaten the fundamentals of South African democracy: poverty, unemployment and inequality.

The Debasement of Politics in South Africa by Michael Neocosmos (The Con), 30 January 2017

31 January 2017

There is a general debasement of politics in much of the world. Figures such as Trump in the US, Modi in India, Dos Santos in Angola and Erdogan in Turkey (not forgetting Berlusconi in Italy not too long ago) have become some of the proper names by which this trajectory is often known. South Africa is no exception. Although the debasement of our politics exceeds Zuma his name has come to stand for a certain kind of political decline.

Decolonising South African Universities: Here's how it could work, says Tim Crowe by Emeritus Professor Tim Crowe (Biz News), 11 January 2017

12 January 2017

The two Fallist movements to date at UCT have addressed colonial symbols and fees. Both of these issues could be solved easily – remove all symbols and charge no fees. Don’t hold your breath on this. People will always have heroes and it’s crazy not to use fees generated from wealthy students to subsidize the poorest-of-the-poor.

The real mammoth in the room at UCT that no one seems to be addressing coherently is “decolonization” in all its guises. Until it is defined and implemented, there will be no peace at UCT.

Traditional leadership bill a sly attempt to bypass constitutional rights to land by Aninka Claasens, 1 December 2016

5 January 2017

The Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill before Parliament is dangerous and desperate. It poses a direct threat to the basic rights of the poorest South Africans — the 18-million people living in former homeland areas, where the law would apply — in that it seeks to legalise a version of unilateral chiefly authority that Parliament and the Constitutional Court have rejected.

Free higher education won’t magically improve access by P. Pratap Kumar (The Conversation), 15 November 2016

22 November 2016

Many academics, including myself, have explored why free higher education is not economically viable in South Africa.

Money is not the only issue, though. Quality also matters. And the two go hand in hand. Students have hastened to conflate free education and access to quality education. But introducing free university education will not magically grant students access to quality education, nor employment in the marketplace. There’s a lot of work to be done to achieve this. And in my view this should take precedence over doing away with university fees.