Can Jacob Zuma get a fair trial?

23 June 2020

Good journalism comes down to three simple things: accuracy, objectivity, fairness.

The first two are easy. Accuracy? Get the facts right. Objectivity? Don’t take sides. Almost everyone understands these.

Fairness is a more difficult concept for most people to grasp. Example: Sit down to watch a soccer match where the ref makes a call against the team you are supporting; chances are your standard for fairness goes right out of the window.

Here’s my simple take on fairness in journalism: Don’t bring in information unrelated to the facts at hand.

Bitcoin for beginners

12 February 2020

If you receive a monthly salary, did you ever stop to think about the meaning of the word? It goes back to the Latin word “salarium” which was the allowance paid to Roman soldiers to buy “sal” (salt).

(I’ll get to Bitcoin soon, but the story starts in the ancient times, so bear with me.)

Our earliest records of salt as money are in the Hebrew Bible dating to around 500 BC where “salt from a person” effectively meant payment. In order to keep the system going, salt production was controlled by the rulers.

Google, Huawei, and the Trump factor

26 May 2019

On 19 May, news broke that Alphabet Inc, owners of Google, had suspended business with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

The ban extended to all of Google’s hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing.

The announcement did not have much impact until people began to realise that this included the Android operating system and the Google Play Store . This triggered a substantial amount of outrage, mainly directed at Google.

When motives become the news

16 December 2018

Best defence of good journalism is good journalism, reporting truthfully and factually should always be basis for story

In pursuit of win-win

1 January 2017

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A guy flies from Johannesburg to Hong Kong to get his suits bespoke tailored there because he’s crunched the numbers and has worked out that it would actually be significantly cheaper to do so than buying from the Hugo Boss store in Sandton City.

So he stops by to pick up the finished product and is impressed by the impeccable sartorial elegance. He tries to strike a pose in front of the full-length mirror, and his hands instead slip down the sides of his trousers. He turns to the tailor bewildered.

Unlikely bedfellows, the DA and EFF have much to do

7 August 2016

In the build-up to the 2014 national elections, Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing the then newly-formed Economic Freedom Fighters, was a guest on my radio station’s weekly current affairs show. We chatted briefly in the parking lot thereafter, and I posed the question: “If you end up doing well and driving the ANC below 50 percent in some areas, would you consider going into coalition with them?”

“Never,” he said quite decisively, indicating that he thought that would be the kiss of death for the new party.

Richest lost billions, but UK will stabilise

26 June 2016

The world’s 400 richest people collectively lost $127 billion on Friday when it became clear that a majority of UK voters had opted to leave the European Union.

That figure from the Bloomberg Billionaire Index is equivalent to almost half of South Africa’s GDP — wiped out in a day.

I chose to highlight that figure because there has been a narrative carving itself out in media commentary since the vote in favour of Brexit became known – that Brexit was pushed by the moneyed class as a means of consolidating their wealth base to the exclusion of the poor and downtrodden.

My front row seat to history...

25 March 2015

Post celebrated its 60th birthday and invited me to contribute to its anniversary edition. Here's what I submitted.