Monday, February 22, 2010

I support Julius Malema's: "Nationalisation will become ANC policy"

Malema, and the ANC Youth League are calling for the nationalisation of South African mines and other 'profitable' businesses. Last week, at a commemoration of Nelson Mandela's release, Malema said the following:

"We don't care who says what. Nationalisation will become the policy of the ANC....We don't want Zuma's or Mbalula's support ... we want the support of the masses. If the masses say you are correct, we will march on"

According to reports in the Sunday Times, City Press and Rapport. For the past two years, Julius Malema's (one) company, SGL Engineering Projects, has won government tenders to the value of R140mil.

This revelation has come to light, following Malema's purchase of a house, valued at R3.5mil. Malema reportedly earns R20k, per month, from the ANC (he denied this amount, and admitted it was higher). Malema now owns two houses, one of which is bonded, but by less than 50% of the value. He also, reportedly, owns a small fleet of luxury cars (he claims it's just the Mercedes Benz C Class)
Of this latest Malema affair, the ANC Spokesperson Brian Sokutu said:

'Comrade Malema is neither a member of Parliament or a Cabinet Minister and he has therefore not breached any law or code of ethics by being involved in business.'

SGL Engineering has won tenders for, among other projects, road construction and business district upgrades. Clients include the Mopani district, Waterberg district, Greater Letaba and Tzaneen municipalities.

On Monday the 22nd of February, Julius Malema held a press conference. He stated that he had resigned from all directorships when he was appointed as ANC Youth League president (documents show that he is still a director at SGL Engineering Projects). He was not clear about other sources of income. The ANC's Brian Sokutu's statement leads me to think that Julius does indeed have other lucrative sources of income.

It's great work.....

If you can get it.

And seeing that I (and approximately 45 million other South Africans) can't get it, I am starting a call to mass action.

I, and I am sure millions of fellow South Africans, would also like a piece of Julius Malema's action.

Join me comrade Julius. Together, we will march on

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

For once, I am (almost) proud to be an Absa customer

I bank with Absa. And I have for years.
Over the years, I have seen my banking charges rapidly increase. For the past 3 years, I have threatened to close my accounts, and move to FNB. FNB has fixed pricing options where transactional and monthly charges are capped.

3 weeks ago, I opened my FNB account. FNB's pricing.....competitive. FNB's service.....spectacular

I now bank with both Absa and FNB. And while FNB has won my business through great service and competitive pricing, Absa has won my praise through its most recent 'cutting' exercise

Absa's results were released this week and the details appeared in yesterday's press. Net income dropped by 36 percent, to R6,8bil (from R10.7 bil).

Absa has announced that it will be cutting the directors' and executives' bonuses. 35 percent of incentive pay will be in cash, with the balance paid over 3 years.

Speaking on behalf of Absa, the acting head of human resources, Nadine Drutman, said:

“Given where the earnings are, we don’t think it’s appropriate to go with huge cash bonuses,”

There are still questions I would like answered:

- Why are the executive receiving bonuses in the first place?

- By how much has each executive's bonus been reduced?

- How many people have been retrenched due to 'adverse' trading conditions?
Despite these questions, Absa deserves praise for taking the bold move of cutting executives' bonuses

Monday, February 15, 2010

Alan Knott-Craig and a lesson in how not to get public sympathy

Alan Knott-Craig is an amazing businessman. He helped turn Vodacom into a leading South African, and African, telecoms service provider. He is proudly South African, and has provided leadership, and business acumen, within the companies he has served.

For all his great work, for the value he has added, and for the returns he has provided to shareholders, he has been rightly rewarded.

But there is a lesson from the latest 'debacle' that highlights the flaws in our current system

The weekend's press claimed that the former CE of Vodacom, Alan Knot-Craig, receives a (monthly) R1mil retainer from Vodacom. The allegation goes on to say that the retainer has been in place since March 2009, and that it will last 2 years.
Alan Knot-Craig was quick to respond. And I commend him in issuing a response, as opposed to the deathly silence the public is accustomed to from weighty politicians and powerful business leaders.

Alan Knott-Craig's response reads as follows:

"Whilst I cannot disclose my remuneration, my before tax monthly remuneration is significantly less than half (a) R1 million,"

What was the press thinking? How could they make such a salacious claim, suggesting that Alan Knott-Craig is over-compensated with a princely R1mil, per month?

Thankfully, Alan Knott-Craig, himself, put our minds to rest on the matter.

In a world where excess is being questioned, the thought of R400k per month (not R1mil) seems....well....very fair.

Thanks Alan for issuing the statement.

Thanks Alan for putting the public mind at rest

South Africa's unemployed and under-compensated feel much better now

Sunday, February 7, 2010

This is why Jacob Zuma will never be a leading, first world, politician…

On the 8th of May, 2006, Jacob Zuma was acquitted of rape charges. Fezeka Kuzwayo accused him of rape. He openly admitted to the sexual conduct, and claimed that the sex was consensual. The sexual encounter took place at his private residence.

The public was disgusted with Zuma’s hypocrisy. After all, he claimed to support the fight against HIV/AIDS and admitted to unprotected sex (and the famous, deep-cleansing, shower)

While Fezeka was young, and voluptuous, many felt that Jacob could have done better

The 1st of February saw the revelation that President Jacob Zuma has fathered a love-child with Sonono Khoza, daughter of Irvin Khoza. I am not sure where conception took place, but I assume it was somewhere comfortable…and private

The public was outraged with this revelation, and Zuma’s hypocrisy. After all, the president supports the campaign to eliminate promiscuity

While Jacob Zuma is a charismatic leader and dynamic personality, many felt that Sonono could have done better

Our polygamous president faces yet another sex scandal.

And some people were (surprisingly) surprised.

It took several days, but here is what President Jacob Zuma had to say about the latest ‘affair’:

''I deeply regret the pain that I have caused to my family, the ANC, the alliance and South Africans in general. 'I also acknowledge and understand the reaction of many South Africans.''

In January, 1998, news broke of Bill Clinton’s liaisons with Monica Lewinsky. She claimed that there were 9 encounters. All of them took place in the White House. Most of them in the Oval Office

The news broke on the 17th January 1998. Bill Clinton denied all the allegations, famously saying:

“Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech. And I worked on it until pretty late last night. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you”

Seven months later, on the 17th of August 1998, Bill Clinton finally admitted to the “improper physical relationship” with Monica Lewinsky.

While Monica was an astute, bright woman, many felt that Bill could have done better

American politicians are famous for sex scandals and hypocrisy. Some examples:

Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia introduced the ‘Defense of Marriage Act”, only to be photographed licking whipped cream off strippers at his inaugural party.

President Warren G Harding had repeated sexual encounters with a woman 30 years his junior – in a White House closet. He also fathered a child with her

Senator Strom Thurmond supported segregation and opposed civil right, but still got his 16 year old African American maid pregnant. He ran for president in 1948, and was a senator for 47 years.

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s Prime Minister, has been accused of ‘gallivanting’ with young women, including a teenager. Photographs of parties at his villa include pictures of nude women.

Berlusconi has remained defiant. In June 2009, he told Italians (and the world):

“This is how I am. I’m not going to change a thing. If they like me this way, they like me this way.”

Berlusconi’s female companions are mostly young, attractive women, including models. Many feel that Sergio Berlusconi has done very well

In addition to the United States, and Italy, Australia has also had its share of sex scandals. Just last year, in Australia, South Australian Premier Mike Rann was accused of having sex with a former Parliament House barmaid – on his Parliament House desk.

Many South Africans are appalled at Jacob Zuma's behaviour. And they should be.

But, many South Africans also use Jacob Zuma's bahaviour to legitimise their lack of faith in South Africa, in general, and his presidency, in particular.

I feel that Jacob Zuma should deny the allegations (at least for a few days).

I believe Jacob Zuma should lie about the sexual misconduct (at least for seven months).

I advise that Jacob Zuma conducts his lascivious behaviour in the hallways of the Union Buildings, on the desk of his Presdential Office, on the Tuinhuis kitchen floor

Perhaps then, he would be viewed as a worthy, first-world politician.

And perhaps then, the doomsdayer South African public and the naysayer South African media would give him a break

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Fok, fok, fok, fok"....South Africa is in the spotlight....again

The nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards are out. South African based films have made a good showing.

District 9 received four nominations, including: Film Editing, Best Picture, Visual Effects and Writing (Adapted Screenplay). The film cost $US30mil to produce, and has grossed over $US200mil. The film’s director, Neill Blomkamp had the following to say:

"Every aspiring filmmaker dreams of being nominated by the Academy, but when we began making District 9, none of us dared to think that our small film, shot in South Africa, with no well-known actors, could be Oscar nominated. And honestly, if it weren't for Peter Jackson’s belief in the film, we wouldn't be here today. I'm extremely gratified, excited, and humbled, and I'm also grateful to the Academy for recognizing so many of the talented people who helped make it a reality."

Invictus received 2 nominations, one for Best Actor (Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela) and the other for Best Supporting Actor (Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar). The film cost $US50mil to produce.

This kind of exposure is wonderful for South Africa. In my opinion, the positive exposure that South Africa has received from these films, and the $US 80mil spent on producing these films, far outweighs the benefits of the expensive, traditional marketing of South Africa.

Soweto, the Johannesburg skyline, rugby and terms like “Are you okay bru?”, “What a doos!” and "Fok, fok, fok, fok" are now firmly entrenched in the international entertainment and tourism industries.....

......and for all the right reasons.