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Contradictions galore Published: 2016-05-13

The developments and contradictions of the past month are too many to keep in one’s head.

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The Nkandla judgement Published: 2016-03-31

In a well-reasoned judgement, written by Chief Justice Mogoeng and concurred to by all ten other judges, the Constitutional Court today ruled, amongst several rulings, that the President acted inconsistently with his duties under the Constitution when he did not comply with the Public Protector’s finding to pay for the reasonable costs of non-security related improvements to his homestead at Nkandla. These improvements refer to the infamous “fire pool”, amphitheatre, visitors’ centre, cattle kraal and chicken run.

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Budget 2016 Published: 2016-02-25

SA works with three year budget cycles that are updated twice a year – in February at the time of the main budget and again in October. It is thus useful to compare the numbers now to what was expected in October.

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Unpacking a downgrade Published: 2016-02-15

26 years ago, on Sunday 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela walked out of prison a free man, to start a new life and to help give his country a new lease on life as well. A quarter of a century later the single biggest question hanging over the economy is whether SA will be downgraded to junk status in 2016.

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State of the Nation 2016 Published: 2016-02-12

Herewith a brief summary of the 2016 State of the Nation speech by Pres Zuma in the order the issues were raised in the speech.

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Four days in December Published: 2015-12-14

Between Thursday evening when Minister Nene was fired and Sunday evening when his successor was replaced and Minister Pravin Gordhan was brought back as Finance Minister the country was on an extraordinary rollercoaster. It was in short a journey to hell and back. Two responses were noteworthy.

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Zuma fires Nene Published: 2015-12-10

In his shock announcement that he is replacing Minister Nene, Pres Zuma pays homage to the minister saying he “has done well since his appointment” and “enjoys a lot of respect in the sector locally and abroad”. That raises the question but why?

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The Big Seven of 2015 Published: 2015-12-08

The Big Seven trends that dominated our politics and economy in 2015 are: Eskom and electricity supply; the commodity collapse; the drought; slow economic growth; ratings downgrades; student unrest; and SOEs.

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Three loud, one quiet Published: 2015-11-11

October saw some major developments – three were high profile and very public, one low profile and almost not noted. The high profiles ones were students protesting with #Feesmustfall; the mid-term budget statement and thirdly the on-going narrative that SA is facing fiscal collapse and a debt crisis. We can call the latter the #Fiscalcollapse narrative. The low profile development was the release of the Development Indicators for 2014. In contrast to the other three, it got comparatively little airtime in the media.

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Putting flesh on the bones Published: 2015-10-14

In both August and September I wrote in this Newsletter that the only way out for the stalled SA economy is a social compact, an agreement of sorts, where the powerful stakeholders in society agree on the way forward. What would such an agreement look like? Is it a practical possibility or just pie in the sky?

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Coming to a standstil Published: 2015-09-10

It looks like it may be a hat trick, but in a negative sense. 1.5% economic growth in 2014, the same expected again for 2015 and now a growing consensus that 1.5% will again be the number for 2016. If those numbers materialise, it would mean that for three years in a row economic growth will only equal population growth, leaving no room for increases in per capita income. This would be the longest period of stagnant per capita incomes since democracy. That would also mean the single most important force for social and economic progress, rising per capita incomes, would have come to a standstill in SA.

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Two years later Published: 2015-08-31

This month two years ago, in August 2013, I published a book “The Long View” describing some of the social and economic trends shaping the country. Several clients have asked me what I would write differently if I were to write it now.

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The Gurus changed their minds Published: 2015-07-16

It does not often happen that the conventional wisdom of the day gets turned upside down. Yet that is what has happened to some cherished ideas on labour market flexibility and inequality. What is more, the turning-upside-down was done by two citadels of economic thinking, the IMF and the OECD.

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The noise around (Un)Employment Published: 2015-07-15

Our recent client road show focused on the distinction between noise and real trends. Currently, we hear a lot of noise about our labour markets, prompting the question what are the real trends around (un)employment. From a variety of public sources we can establish the following.

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Infrastructure – what is happening? Published: 2015-03-10

Over the years, we have often high-lighted the investment South Africa is making in infrastructure. It bears looking at again in 2015, when load-shedding, days without water, and communities up in arms because of weak service delivery leave us gloomy, undermine confidence and retard growth.

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Talk it and then walk it Published: 2015-02-26

How does this budget actually compare with the budget framework the minister tabled 4 months ago in October 2014? Did the minister now walk what he talked then?

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Just plain wrong Published: 2015-02-19

The behaviour of virtually everybody in Parliament during the State of the Nation speech was just plain wrong.

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Looking at others to understand ourselves better Published: 2015-02-19

What must South Africans make of the Eskom debacle, service delivery protests, the seemingly never-ending e-toll dispute and the infighting at SARS and the SAPS/Hawks? Is it all just because of one man, Jacob Zuma, or is there more than that going on?

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The Big Five of the year Published: 2014-12-09

Looking back over the year there were five developments that were in my opinion the most important developments in our political-economy. They were: electricity supply problems at Eskom; strikes; the elections; the split in Cosatu; and the 40% drop in the oil price. By looking back at these Big Five, what can we glimpse about the future?

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Game on Published: 2014-11-10

Several long-simmering tensions have come to the boil during the first week of November suggesting the game is in two areas: party-politics and inequality.




 


 
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