Former opposition chief whip and former ambassador to Thailand


A message of hope, potential, growth and new opportunities in the light of a changing political landscape in South Africa.

I believe in the future of South Africa. Having been involved in public affairs for a generation as an Attorney, Town Councillor, Provincial Councillor, Member of Parliament, frontline Opposition Spokesperson on major portfolios and as our country’s ambassador to Thailand, I know that we have always teetered on the brink of disaster.

It has been five minutes to midnight my whole adult life. Now is no different, except that I have never been as optimistic about the future as I am now. Given the mood of depression and apprehension about the future, this statement may surprise.

The reason for my optimism is that political change is sweeping our country; suddenly we are becoming a competitive democracy. As the previously totally dominant ANC loses momentum, the Opposition has grown stronger, making impressive gains in local government throughout South Africa. It is quite possible and becoming increasingly likely that after the next general election in 2019, the ANC poll below fifty per cent of the votes. This will mean the formation of a new coalition government.

A new government will mean new faces, new policies, new energy, and new opportunities for people and business to forge ahead, freed from the shackles of cadre deployment and nepotism. Corruption will be curbed as the emphasis changes towards making sure that ordinary people make progress and share in the new prosperity.

I feel a powerful urge to wake our people up to the fascinating potential waiting to be grasped and to help business, in particular, as the growth engine, to make the most of the new opportunities created by South Africa’s new politics.

Douglas Gibson
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Douglas is a versatile speaker on a number of topics, a writer, columnist
and hopes soon to be a published fiction author.


17 October 2023

Douglas Gibson | 

Douglas Gibson says that liberation movement could never have believed Israel would simply turn the other cheek

Can anyone truthfully say that Hamas, in launching an unprecedented surprise attack on Israel just over a week ago, thought it could beat Israel?

The scenes of planned attacks on home after home, the killing, the raping, and in some cases, the beheading of innocent civilians, babies, children, women and men, and the shooting in cold blood in an orgy of killing at a concert, is etched in the memory of Israelis and their friends around the world, sickened by the callousness and inhumanity of Hamas.

Hamas could never have thought that Israel would simply turn the other cheek, or that there would be no retaliation. Hamas killed over 1300 Israelis- civilians, not soldiers – many in the most ghastly and gruesome and yes, barbaric manner. They are dedicated to wiping out Israel, the Holy Land of the Bible, that has existed for thousands of years.

Israel is the only democratic country in the Middle East. It has a highly developed free market economy. Its 9.7 million population (of whom 1.6 million are Arabs), enjoy the vote and democratic rights), producing a GDP of USD 564 billion; its growth rate last year was 6.5% and the year before it was 8.6%. The overall unemployment rate is 3% of the population and 6% of the youth.

The Economist ranked Israel as the 4th most successful economy among developed nations, and the IMF estimated Israel’s GDP per capita at USD 58,270 as the 13th highest in the world. No wonder it is regarded with jealous eyes by some other Middle East countries and their allies elsewhere in the world. Instead of looking at what makes Israel strong and emulating its democratic, free market economic policies, its excellence in education and a social system of recognised merit, people like Hamas pray for the wiping out of Israel and the Jews.

Israel is able to blockade Gaza and has vowed to destroy Hamas, its leaders and its adherents. Israel can, and has, cut off all electricity, all food supplies and all fuel. No one can tell me that Hamas did not know this would happen. Of course they knew. But Hamas is a terrorist organisation that cares nothing about the people of Gaza.

It cares only about politics. To Hamas, sacrificing a few thousand people on both sides of the border, is worth it and of no account. What matters is stirring up and spurring into action the pro-Palestine lobby around the world. Money flows to the Hamas leadership, many of the most prominent of whom live in luxury in Doha. The poor people of Gaza, supporters or not of Hamas, pay the price in blood and suffering. And Hamas blames Israel.

What makes me very sad, because every human being is the touchstone of value, is the many opportunities Palestine has let slip away, always hesitating and being led by the nose by extremists, rejecting a sensible and reasonable solution. I well remember that about 16 years ago, the Foreign Affairs Portfolio Committee in Parliament interacted with a Palestinian delegation.

This opened my eyes to the fact that there were some of them we could do business with. The PLO representatives sat in the gallery, listening as I made a speech in the House in which, as the opposition spokesperson on foreign affairs, I said exactly that: people who would support a two-state solution could be key to resolving the never-ending Palestine-Israel conflict. I still believe that.

Douglas Gibson is a former opposition chief whip and a former ambassador to Thailand. His email address is

This article first appeared in The Star newspaper and then in Politicsweb.