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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Mail & Guardian by Patrick Bond.]

Naomi Klein remarked that a think tank is a group of people paid to think by the people who control the tanks. Here in Johannesburg, one of South Africa’s highest-profile intellectual vehicles appears to be a victim of drunken driving by scholars from whom we otherwise expect much stronger political navigation skills.

In the central business district of Sandton, a large gathering of state-funded intellectuals (staying at the five-star Intercontinental Hotel) is conferencing in heart-warmingly hedonistic style, replete with national Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (Brics) songs and dances. The Brics Academic Forum and SA Brics Think Tankmeeting, winding up on May 31, must be South African scholars’ most expensive event of the year, in spite of the theme Envisioning Inclusive Development through a Socially Responsive Economy.

The mandate from Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor’s opening speech was framed with unabashed talk-left ideology, regardless of obvious walk-right realities. She asked academics to “develop a collaborative set of interventions that advances the agenda of the bloc. The Brics formation is one that is based on a progressive view of how the world should develop; and the world is in need of progressive ideas, of ideas that come from issues of social justice and inclusion.”

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South Africa at a Glance
57 700 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.6% y/y in June 2018 (CPI) & +5.9 y/y in June 2018 (PPI)
294.84 in USD BIllion (December 2017)
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