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Absolute power corrupts SA�s shining Constitution

When it was unveiled to the World back in 1996, South Africa�s Constitution was a thing of rare beauty. It entrenched equal rights for all before the law, swept discrimination into the trashcan of history and promised a government that led with openness and integrity writes Peter van der Merwe.

The Russians are coming... at last

Twenty years ago, a South African would have been thrown in jail for suggesting that the President of Russia might pay a state visit to this country. Last month, President Vladimir Putin was welcomed with open arms as he became the first Russian leader to visit South Africa since the collapse of apartheid writes Peter van der Merwe.

The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ridiculous

A gang of heavily armed robbers bursts into a grocery store. They terrorise unsuspecting shoppers with automatic weapons. Shoot one dead in cold blood. Flee with the day�s takings writes Peter van der Merwe.

SA�s restless black intellectuals

The Native Club needs to ensure that it doesn�t make the Broederbond�s mistakes writes Peter van der Merwe.

From bedroom to boardroom

In the eyes of his millions of supporters, former South African deputy president, Jacob Zuma, has taken a huge step towards becoming the next president of South Africa after being acquitted of rape following a lurid High Court trial writes Peter van der Merwe.

Spy saga exposes cracks

Things are getting decidedly messy in South Africa�s halls of power, where different factions within the ruling African National Congress are waging a battle to the death over who will control the future direction of this party writes Peter van der Merwe.

Absolutely no clue about democracy

It�s been a tough month in South Africa for your average columnist looking for new grist for his mill. Sure, there was the temporary excitement of the local government elections, but the result was yawningly obvious.

Don�t hold your breath for change

When people are upset with their party, they don�t tend to leave the party. They simply fold their arms and do not vote writes Peter van der Merwe

A sign of SA�s inner turmoil

THE SKELETONS are rattling in South Africa�s intelligence community, with South Africa�s top three spooks being suspended by Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils in a move which goes to the very heart of the succession and leadership crisis currently raging within the ruling ANC.

Between stability and labour

The ANC would sooner gargle with wasps than admit to a crisis of confidence in the party�s leadership. However, recent events have exposed gaping cracks in its once-unified tripartite alliance with the SACP and Cosatu.

The great labour debate rages on

A topic currently enjoying much debate among trade unions, the press and policy wonks in South Africa is the notion of labour markets and the extent to which they assist, or hinder, government�s employment creation and poverty eradication efforts.

SA's poor losing patience

As delegates to the World Economic Forum's Africa Summit discussed hefty issues of the world economy in Cape Town's exclusive Conference Centre last month, several hundred members of a squatter settlement were protesting against the lack of housing and general service delivery hardly 20 minutes down the road.

Time to tell more tales

Over the last month, I have watched the development of the Mandela art fraud story with fascination. It is a relatively straight-forward narrative that many people have recognised as fishy from its earliest days. And yet through fear of causing offence, our media have been afraid to ask basic questions

Is Zuma fit to succeed?

Even if corruption is ultimately not proven, the trial has brought to light a tangle of conflicts of interest and lapses of judgement-Yet � perhaps in an attempt to shift the focus of the public � some voices are suggesting that the trial is not fundamentally about corruption but about succession within the ruling African National Congress (ANC)

Another strange alliance for SA

Why the apparent apathy? Could it be because trade between the two countries is almost insignificant, and does not, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs, include any trade in weapons? Deputy President Jacob Zuma, disingenuously, appealed to the media not to misinterpret the visit � apparently a viable possibility � as South Africa has ties with �many countries with nuclear capacity

We can�t afford petty squabbles

Recent comments by Davo Oluyemi- Kusa, a director of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Settlement, which falls under the Nigerian presidency, have sparked an unfortunate debate

Millions still wait for freedom

On January 8, South Africa�s ruling African National Congress (ANC) celebrated its 93rd birthday in the Eastern Cape, the birthplace of both past president Nelson Mandela and current president Thabo Mbeki. It is also South Africa�s poorest province - home to 6.3 million people, of which an estimated 72% live below the poverty line,

Empowerment or enrichment?

A senior government official is reported to have said that he could not understand why anyone was complaining: no-one took exception when Jonathan Oppenheimer, the heir to the Oppenheimer empire, bought a private jet. It is a somewhat mundane argument, but it does drive the point home.

Mortgaging a nation

While Mandela and his comrades laid Nkobi to rest, they publicly declared their grief for the fallen hero as a �lump on their throats�.

Freemarket hypocrisy

How nice! But then how do you explain that, in the same week that De Rato pontificated about what�s economically prudent and not, US-based group SBC Communications, one of the single largest investors in the state-owned telecommunications operator Telkom, hinted that they may exit the market next year?

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