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Good Society Dialogue Series

Dark clouds, and silver linings

Eighty-one people joined a Zoom Dialogue in early March when a range of Fellows was invited to share their personal reflections on the state of the nation. It became abundantly clear that although there is the odd silver lining here and there, the dark clouds are mounting, leaving many feeling – if not helpless, certainly frustrated. Let’s start with the few silver linings that shone through ...

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Cryptocurrencies: a shift in the world’s operating system, or a get-rich-quick scheme?

Money has always evolved, and this evolution has always been towards reduction of transactional friction and better stores of value. Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and the underlying blockchain technology breakthrough fit the mould as possibly, even probably the next evolution of money. These are the bitcoin fundamentals: Only 21 million tokens or coins will ever exist (just over 18,6 million are al...

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How Can The Audit Profession Find Its Way Back To Noble Leadership?

How can the audit profession find its way back to noble leadership? In a passionate digital Dialogue hosted in late January, Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu spoke about the social role of the auditing profession with an emphasis on the big four auditing institutions. ALI Fellow Sindi Mabaso-Koyane (Class VIII Mahube) responded, and the session was moderated by South Africa’s Auditor-General, Tsakani ...

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Zoe responds! The climate as driver of political economy and psycho-social malaise

Written by Dr Zoe Lees It’s all very well talking about these lofty ideals of a new order for Africa, but in sub-Saharan Africa we are facing serious human rights abuses and chaos in Zimbabwe with deepening poverty and desperation, Mozambique is facing an ISIS incursion, Zambia is defaulting on its debt, Ethiopia… Tanzania….the list goes on. We can’t even agree on a common vision ...

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Climate change response for Africa

2020 was a year in which natural phenomena shocked the globe in many ways. If we didn’t fully appreciate the economic imperative of addressing climate change before, we do now. And Africa is at the end of the queue for global support in terms of climate initiatives: of the total global ±$720 bn philanthropy spend, $5/6bn goes to climate space; and of that just 1% comes to Africa. The coronavir...

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ALI Zoom Dialogue: Mental illness: the shadow pandemic

Covid-19 has hit education hard. In an already fragile system, teachers, pupils and managers were all impacted negatively by the State of Disaster lockdown. The re-opening has been, if anything, worse, with contradictory messaging, union action, the trauma of infection hotspot suspicions, and crushing socio-economic disparities compounding fear, anger and frustration. In the formal education worl...

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ALI Zoom Dialogue: Not much to go around

ALI stands for a commitment to contribute to a set of lasting interventions towards the Good Society. The municipal audit results, under the theme “not much to go around, yet not the right hands at the till”, came at a particularly bleak time – a time when the Good Society feels like it may be an impossible dream. For some, the last straw has been questionable tender awards relating to the...

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Clouds and silver linings: Reflections from the ALI COVID-19 dialogue

On the 30th day of South Africa’s lockdown, 91 ALI fellows and guests joined a virtual Dialogue centred on the socio-economic impact of the national shutdown. Our immediate future is, as we know, tumultuous and stormy indeed, but the speakers also identified some potential silver linings. The dialogue was moderated by Ralph Freese, executive director of ALI South Africa. The panel included Adi ...

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The constitution and the economy: Eskom and the other SOEs

ALI’s March Dialogue in Cape Town was entitled: “Eskom through the gloom: placing the Constitution at the centre of the reform discussion”. Unusually for any conversation involving Eskom, the Dialogue was largely uplifting. This had nothing to do with good news, regrettably, but arose from the refreshed awareness of the quality of goodwill that is being brought to solving the problem by a b...

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The fightback against state capture – and the fightback against the fightback

We’re living in interesting times. As much as the reformist agenda of President Cyril Ramaphosa is pushing back the forces of state capture, those forces in turn are fighting back against reforms that will cut off their access to power and riches. At November’s Dialogue in Johannesburg, ALI Fellow Ferial Haffajee explored the headlines. View Gallery Is the fightback on the back foot? What a...

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The NHI Bill: What does it mean for you?

South Africa’s National Health Insurance Bill (the NHI Bill) continues to evoke a fierce public discourse. October’s ALI Dialogue brought together ALI Fellows and medical systems experts, Dr Malixole Percy Mahlathi (Class V: Mayihlome) and Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba (Class I: Inaugural Class), to lead the discussion about what the NHI Bill means for us and the health sector overall. View Gallery &nbs...

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The silver lining to the Eskom crisis

Prof Eberhard chairs the presidential task team mandated to resolve Eskom’s financial and technical woes. He is a power man through and through; he directs the Power Futures Lab at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business; was the founding Director of the Energy and Development Research Centre; and has put in a lifetime’s work in the energy sector across the developing worl...

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Dialogue with Khanyisile Kweyama

From SAA to the SABC, from Transnet to Eskom, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are in a crumbling crisis of mismanagement. Instead of being the solid scaffold on which society rests, their combined failures and frailties are shattering confidence, and ruining South Africa’s reputational capital. What can and should interested and concerned people do about it? At one of ALI’s regular dialogues, ...

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I’m comfortable being told to get out of the way, says Trevor Manuel

“Society is a partnership between those who are living, those who have passed, and those who are to be born.” – Edmund Burke. “There’s a continuum of responsibility,” says Trevor Manuel. Our political life, Manuel reflects, has failed to acknowledge this. In the post-democracy era, we have twice taken steps to maintain the aged cohort of leadership. The first time, of necessity, was ...

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ALI Fellows propose a win-win for beleaguered municipalities

Earlier this year several reports and articles published presented a very bleak picture of most South African municipalities. These illustrated that our municipalities are in shambles and in a disastrous financial position.  No fewer than 55 municipalities have been identified as distressed or dysfunctional. These hard facts were shared by Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Tr...

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Land expropriation without compensation: the debate has moved on, says Justice Albie Sachs

In the debate about land expropriation without compensation, the voice of Justice Albie Sachs is critical. As both a member of the Constitutional Committee and a former judge of the Constitutional Court, he has a deep understanding of the rationale for and implications of the principles and demands of Constitution. Equally, he has a deep understanding of the amendments that would need to be made,...

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A Recap on the Nuclear Workshop

In light of the recent cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma, the debate around energy has taken centre-stage in the South African socio-economic politics. From Eskom’s ambitions of building a 59 billion-rand nuclear plant by 2025, to the Department of Energy’s eagerness to get Russia to construct a trillion-rand nuclear facility. The discussion around energy is an important debate that s...

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Integrity of Leadership: ALI Leadership Dialogue with Mcebisi Jonas

Against the backdrop of State Capture and South Africa’s credit rating downgrade, the Africa Leadership Initiative held its 3rd ALI Leadership Dialogue of 2017 on Wednesday, 24 May 2017 (under Chatham House Rules) to discuss the issues that continue to dominate public debates on the future of democratic governance. Speaking at this dialogue was the former Deputy Minister of Finance, Mcebisi Jon...

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ALI Leadership Dialogue with Dr Makhosi Khoza

The second ALI Leadership Dialogue was held on 26 April and hosted at the Barloworld Logistics head office in Sandton, Gauteng. ANC Senior Member of Parliament and Class VI: Tshelela fellow Dr Makhosi Khoza led a powerful dialogue focusing on the nature and consequences of the politics of patronage at work in South Africa today. View Photo Gallery ⟶ The dialogue was the largest that ALI has ev...

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Let’s Recap of the first ALI SA Dialogue for 2017 with Sizwe Nxasana

Chairperson of NSFAS and former CEO of FirstRand Bank, Sizwe Nxasana discussed how we can transform higher education and create a conducive environment, both socially and financially, for learners to thrive. The dialogue kicked off with Nxasana describing South Africa’s current higher education landscape. He mentioned that we currently have 850 000 students enrolled in higher education institu...

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The third and final ALI Leadership Initiative Dialogue for 2016 with Zwelinzima Vavi

The third and final ALI Leadership Initiative Dialogue for 2016 was held on Wednesday, 16 November at the lavish Villa Arcadia in Parktown. Former General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), and Vice-Chairperson of the Millennium Labour Council, Zwelinzima Vavi shared his views on the role of leaders and their contribution to a new South Africa, as well as key lesson...

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A look back at an interesting dialogue with Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Our Former Deputy President Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka shared her views on challenges facing women and children in Africa. On Monday, the 22nd August 2016 we had our second ALI Leadership Initiative Dialogue in the heart of Sandton at Barloworld. For this series, we hosted none other than the former South African Deputy President and current United Nations Under-Secretary-General, who is...

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A look back at the 1st ALI Leadership Dialogue with former president Kgalema Motlanthe

On the 27th July 2016, ALI launched the ALI Leadership Initiative Dialogue by hosting former President of the Republic South Africa, Kgalema Motlanthe. This first event of the series was moderated by Ralph Freese from Class 1, and boasted 25 fellows in attendance at the Villa Acadia in Parktown. The theme for the evening was‘The Challenge of Leadership’ and what we need to do to face it ...

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Thanks to our valued partners and to all the Fellows who continue to contribute in many ways.

  • Aspen Global Leadership Network
  • Yellowwoods
  • Barloworld
  • Tshikululu