Aakash Bramdeo is a former colleague from e.tv news who moved on to the SABC before being offered the editorship of Post in Durban — which was the newspaper which published my first story back in 1980. Before accepting the job, Aakash picked my brain as to what he could do to make the paper relevant to a wider readership. "Get a columnist who reflects the audience you're trying to attract," I said.

Shortly after accepting the position of editor, Aakash called me and asked, "when can you start?"

"View from the Top" ran in Post every week from 1 May 2011 to 9 April 2014 (which coincided with Aakash's departure from Post to edit the Sunday Tribune).

Drop bullying, bring back the brains

25 April 2012

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan made a couple of noteworthy points in an interview with Bloomberg last week. He commented on the fact that government expenditure on social spending had jumped from 49 percent of the budget to 58 percent over the past ten years.

"The challenge now is not so much the increase in the rand value of social expenditure, but the increase in the quality of public services, especially education and health," he said. "More importantly, our task is to shift people out of the welfare net and into jobs."

Tall stories and tall buildings

2 May 2012

There was a joke doing the rounds during the 80s which PW Botha and Desmond Tutu holding a meeting a rowing boat in the middle of Zoo Lake in Johannesburg. During the meeting, a gust of wind picked up PW's trademark Homburg hat and blew it into the reeds. Tutu got out of the boat, walked on water to the hat, picked it up, and walked back to the boat. Newspapers the next day reported: "Tutu can't swim"

Barack Obama is in a very similar position right now.

So, who fed the wolf . . . ?

9 May 2012

I HAVE said it before and I will say it again: I'm a kaffir and proud of it. The word comes from Arabic and is used by the Islamic world to refer to infidels and I am firmly in the ranks of non-believers. But I digress.

There's an oft-repeated fable about a Cherokee elder teaching his grandchildren about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to them. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

Well, is their indecision final . . .

16 May 2012

In June 1998 the United Nations General Assembly convened a five-week diplomatic conference in Rome to finalize and adopt a convention on the establishment of an international criminal court. This came after years of negotiations aimed at establishing a permanent international tribunal to prosecute individuals accused of genocide and other serious international crimes, such as crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression. By the close of the

Sorry Mr Musk, we were too busy...

30 May 2012

During the 14th and 15th Century, the Minister of Science and Technology was known as the Pope. To speak out against the Pope was heresy (as Galileo discovered to his detriment) and so everything the pope pronounced was amplified by the then equivalent of the media. And one of the things that the Pope was pretty firm about was that the earth is the centre of the universe, after all, the bible says so in at least three or four different places.

For those who play, make them pay!

13 June 2012

Figures released by the Department of Basic Education this month show that 18 pupils in Grade 3 became pregnant in KZN in 2008 and 2009.

Nationally, 94 875 pupils between grade 3 and grade 12 became pregnant during that period.

The report was greeted by the usual howls of outrage speaking of declining moral values as well as berating those taking practical steps to minimise those pregnancies.

Go for it ma’am. With intelligence!

20 June 2012

Jacob Zuma left me pleasantly surprised this week. It's only the second time that this has happened since he became our president.

The first time was when he appointed General Siphiwe Nyanda as Minister of Communications.

General Nyanda proceeded to do the impossible by cleaning up the mess that was Sentech – the national broadcast signal distributor owned by the government.

This time around, the surprise was his announcement of the appointment of Mangwashi "Riah" Phiyega as national police commissioner.

Meating some weighty matters . . .

27 June 2012

There's an old Jewish saying of encouragement when things are going wrong: "You still have your health!"

I've always thought this to be clichéd but as I grow older, I'm finding myself a lot more appreciative of the inherent wisdom thereof. As a 50 something person, I'm a likely candidate for deteriorating vision, high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer's, hardening of arteries, osteoporosis, and of course, Alzheimer's.

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