Radical S.African lawmakers threaten to derail Zuma's address
January 15, 2015 | 0 Comments
South African opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader Julius Malema adresses his supporters in Polokwane, South Africa, on September 30, 2014 (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)[/caption]
Johannesburg (AFP) – South Africa’s radical opposition Economic Freedom Fighters threatened Tuesday to disrupt President Jacob Zuma’s annual state of the nation address next month if he fails to answer questions in parliament about controversial “security upgrades” to his private residence.
“We are going to ask Zuma to answer before he starts with the State of the Nation Address (SONA) when he takes to the podium,” firebrand leader Julius Malema told reporters in Johannesburg.
It will be the latest stunt by a young party that has hounded Zuma for months over his refusal to accept an ombudsman’s decision that he should repay some of the $24 million (19 million euros) of taxpayers’ money spent on additions to his rural Nkandla home. The refurbishments included a swimming pool, amphitheatre, cattle pen and chicken run.In August, Malema and 19 of his lawmakers were suspended from parliament after disrupting a question-and-answer session with the president by chanting: “Pay back the money”. The move sparked unprecedented irreverence among fellow opposition lawmakers, who attempted a filibuster to stop the house passing a report by members of the ruling African National Congress exonerating Zuma of any culpability in his housing upgrades. “The ‘Zuma pay back the money’ will happen straight during the opening of parliament,” said Malema on Tuesday. “We have to hold him accountable.” At the weekend, he demanded that National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete convene a special sitting ahead of Zuma’s speech when Parliament opens on February 12.
“Please note that failure to accommodate our request will give us no other option but to insist that President Jacob Zuma answers these questions at SONA,” he said in a letter to Mbete according to local reports.
Mbete has refused, saying his request could be construed as “intimidation”, reported Johannesburg’s talk radio station 702.
The EFF has risen rapidly since its formation by disgruntled former ANC members, riding on the back of populist policies such as the nationalisation of mines and banks and the seizure without compensation of white-owned land.
They accuse the ANC of being lackeys of white minority capital, and appear in parliament dressed in “workers’ solidarity” outfits of red overalls, hardhats and maid’s uniforms.*Source AFP/Yahoo]]>
South Africa: Work Begins On South Africa's R84 Billion Smart City
January 15, 2015 | 0 Comments
Construction site (file photo).[/caption] Construction has begun on a Chinese-financed R84-billion city in Modderfontein, eastern Johannesburg, The Star reported last week. Work on the first set of 300 residential units and some of the roads was already under way, the newspaper said. Chinese firm Shanghai Zendai planned to develop the 1,600 hectares of land into the “New York of Africa”, Dai Zhikang, the company’s founder and chairman, said at a press conference in November 2013. The area will be developed into a financial hub, with as many as 35 000 houses, an educational centre, a hospital and medical centre, and a sport stadium. ‘Hope and imagination’ Zendai South Africa chief operating officer Du Wenhui told the Star that the development was a 15- to 20-year project that would see between 30 000 and 50 000 housing units of different types and sizes being built, ultimately housing about 100 000 residents. Wenhui said the project had been met with some scepticism, especially after drawings were released showing what it would look like in 20 years time. But “hope and imagination” were key words, he said. “The project will be market driven, and depending on what our clients or developers want, the sky is the limit,” he was quoted as saying. Chinese firm Shanghai Zendai is a Hong Kong-listed investment company. It develops and manages property projects in 12 cities in northern China, Shanghai city and Hainan province. Africa’s ‘future capital’It bought the 1,600-hectare property from South Africa’s chemicals and explosives company AECI in November 2013 for R1.06-billion, Business Day reported at the time. The sale was part of AECI’s plans to dispose of surplus land holdings, and the transaction represents one of the largest single foreign direct investments in South Africa. “It will become the future capital of the whole of Africa,” Dai reportedly said at a press conference in November 2013. “This will be on par with cities like New York in America or Hong Kong in the Far East.” The development, which is yet to be named, will become a hub for Chinese firms investing in sub-Saharan Africa, Dai said. Once complete, the city will provide jobs for 100 000 people and house about 100 000 more. Collaboration The Modderfontein site is located between the central business district of Sandton and OR Tambo International Airport. It is on the Gautrain route, and the development will also include the completion of the Modderfontein station. The Gauteng Provincial Government says the new city will benefit Johannesburg’s residents, Eyewitness News reported last week. Nino Zama of the Gauteng Provincial Government said there was possibility for collaboration with local contractors. “There will be jobs created, there will be business opportunities for local people and after stages of the development are completed, there will also be new opportunities created.” *Source South Africa Infos/Allafrica]]>
Winnie challenges the Late Mandela's family in court
January 14, 2015 | 0 Comments
Winnie Mandela[/caption] The late world icon, Nelson Mandela’s family are facing off at the High Court in the Eastern Cape today with his fomer wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela challenging grandson, Mandla Mandela about a family meeting this week that is due to discuss the Mandela estate in Qunu. The Court Action has infuriated some members of the Royal family and some say it is embarrassing the Mandela legacy. But Mandela’s former wife is not taking it lying down.
Malema and the EFF are defining a generation
January 14, 2015 | 0 Comments
by Nomalanga Mkhize*
REMEMBER the time, in July 2011, when Johann Rupert reportedly described the African National Congress Youth League under Julius Malema as being like a “mosquito in one’s tent”? When I read that, I remember thinking, “Oh there’s going to be hell to pay for this comment.” It was folly to be dismissive of the upstart politician who had the vigour of youth on his side and was gifted with sharp social insight.
Three months after the reported mosquito comment, in October 2011, Malema led 1,000 young people on a 50km economic freedom march from Johannesburg to Pretoria. They marched through the night with Malema alongside them. Since then Malema, now the commander-in-chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has proven that he will brook no obstacles to his political ambitions and is a formidable political force who has captured the sentiments of 1-million voters.
But why did someone like Rupert seemingly underestimate Malema by characterising him as a minor irritant? Perhaps in part he was deceived by the caricatures of “Malema the buffoon” that were common in mainstream media. For a long time there was a racist subtext about Malema in media that constructed him in the trope of the idiotic, childish African leader with the “thick black accent”. This image of Malema spawned many jokes, drawing in particular on his matric results, specifically making fun of the fact that he did woodwork as a subject.
The reality, of course, is that Malema’s matric results were not a reflection of his intelligence but of the severely dysfunctional state of Bantu education, which especially affected those who were educated from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. Malema’s grades did not look much different from many people I grew up with in the rural areas.
However, this caricaturing of Malema demonstrated to me just how much mainstream media and non-African language political discourse blindly uses suburban experience as its point of departure in unpacking South African society. To his opponents in his hometown of Seshego, Limpopo, Malema surely never appeared to be a fool; indeed, they experienced him as a very strategic, authoritarian and fierce competitor in local ANC politics.
More important than the media’s gaze, perhaps Rupert took his cue from the ANC itself.
Perhaps Rupert bought into the notion that no one is bigger than the ANC; that while Malema was noisy, he would be nobody without the ANC. This is why, after Malema’s expulsion from the ANC, there were many predictions of his political death. The rise of the EFF shows that these predictions were out of touch with the rumbling sentiment of youth discontent in SA. Even when the ANC has its finger on the pulse about the national mood, it still tends to operate from the view that the majority of South Africans are unlikely to abandon it wholesale.
Though South Africans will not abandon the ANC overnight, there is a seismic generational shift under way in the movement. What will be passing is the era of the Ruperts and the Cyril Ramaphosas, a cohort of leaders that emerged out of the Convention for a Democratic SA (Codesa) with a template for how we would build a new society.
Today the flagship political vision the Codesa generation is offering is the National Development Plan. But for a growing number of young black South Africans, plans and government 12-point strategies are just no longer enough reassurance.
In this context the EFF, with its 6% of the vote, has shifted the tone and sense of urgency on these matters. What happens between now and 2019 in the political arena is going to mark the politics of this emerging generation for the next two decades. At this juncture it is not clear what kind of political dynamics will emerge.
What is clear is that, for better or for worse, Malema and his EFF peers are leading the way into the future and are boldly defining the mood for a generation. Anyone with a commitment to SA should conduct their politics and activism with that reality in mind.
*Source bdlive. Mkhize is a lecturer in the history department at Rhodes University.
Cyril Ramaphosa – South Africa's leader in waiting
January 11, 2015 | 0 Comments
Crystal Orderson in Cape Town* After helping to found Africa’s largest trade-union federation and establishing a multi-billion-rand conglomerate, Cyril Ramaphosa is back in frontline politics. [caption id="attachment_15350" align="alignleft" width="710"] Simphiwe Nkwali/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images[/caption] Perhaps the most poignant task for Cyril Ramaphosa after his elevation to deputy president in June is to try to forestall the breakup of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).
S. Africa Takes Helm of UN’s Group of 77 Developing Nations
January 11, 2015 | 0 Comments
South Africa: Africans in Particular, People of Colour in General, Not Welcome
January 10, 2015 | 2 Comments
By Anna Majavu*
[caption id="attachment_15317" align="alignleft" width="290"] Photo: Werner Beukes/Sapa
Protesters demonstrate during a march to the home affairs department against revised immigration regulations in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 25 June 2014[/caption] This year looks set to be another gloomy one for asylum seekers, as the ANC government makes a renewed attempt to deport and restrict the number of African migrants to South Africa. Black Africans are not welcome anywhere, even as tourists, and must jump through dozens of hoops to apply for visas to enter almost every country in the world to prove their worthiness. Lately, the quest for tourist visas can even entail providing proof that they have paid their children’s South African school fees. Given that Black South Africans experience these indignities when applying for visas to Europe, Australia and North America, it is continually disappointing when the ANC government concocts new ways to keep other Black Africans out of South Africa. A strange new form for asylum seekers now compels applicants to provide pay slips, details of property owned and to reveal how much money they have. It is still not known what this information will be used for, since governments are only supposed to assess applications for asylum based on the level of persecution faced in the home country – not the amount of money in the applicants’ bank accounts. In 2013, only two out of 12 000 applicants were granted asylum and the new ‘asylum seekers’ form is likely part of government’s quest to rid South Africa completely of genuine asylum seekers and allow in only those with money. It has become fashionable for governments globally to decry the fact that people of colour are seeking asylum when in fact they are ‘economic migrants’ making contrived claims of persecution. This false separation was laid bare last week when the Ezadeen, a livestock cargo ship run by people smugglers and carrying 360 Syrian asylum seekers, was set adrift off the coast of Italy, fortunately being rescued before it crashed. The passengers, who paid R60 000 each for a place on the floor in the livestock hold, have since been dubbed economic migrants even though as Syrian victims of war, they clearly deserve asylum status. It does not seem likely that they will find homes in Italy because they have already been removed to “identification and expulsion centres” which the media is mysteriously and euphemistically describing as “immigration centres”. Refugee rights groups in Europe say that one million asylum seekers per year are detained in these centres, sometimes for years. The only people who benefit from this system are the people smugglers and multinational corporations like Group Four Security (G4S) and ‘immigration solution provider’ MITIE, which are paid billions every year to run these notorious deportation centres where human rights abuses are reported regularly. Back in South Africa, an estimated 50 000 Zimbabweans are facing deportation soon for failing to apply for permission to stay in South Africa under the new ‘Zimbabwean Special Permit’ system. Every four years or so, the South African government attempts to get rid of Zimbabwean migrants but instead succeeds only in creating fear, panic and ultimately highlighting the deficiency of its own systems.
Sequel to Mandela’s autobiography to be published in 2015
January 10, 2015 | 0 Comments
A sequel to the late Nelson’s Mandela’s autobiography The Long Walk to Freedom is to be published in South Africa next year, the former president’s foundation said on Wednesday. The book titled The Presidential Years, which Mandela began writing in 1998, will be based on his five years in office. He had already drafted 10 chapters “when he finally ran out of steam” in 2002, said the foundation which has released a handwritten manuscript of the opening sentences of the book. “The book will be based on the 10 chapters written by Mandela himself,” Danielle Melville, the spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, told AFP. She did not say who has been brought in to finish the book. The foundation, which oversees the legacy of South Africa’s first black president said it had “embarked on a project to see the completion of ‘The Presidential Years’ as an authorised account of Mr Mandela’s presidency.” The hand-written draft opens with a poignant passage: “Men and women, all over the world, right down the centuries, come and go. Some leave nothing behind, not even their names. It would seem that they never existed at all.” Mandela died a year ago at the age of 95 after a long illness. His first internationally acclaimed autobiography published in 1995 has been translated into numerous languages and adapted into an award-winning film. Mandela left instructions for the draft to be handed to five of his comrades for comments, including President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj, who was also jailed with Mandela on Robben Island. The internationally revered anti-apartheid hero spent 27 years in prison before coming out to lead South Africa after the fall of apartheid in 1994. He only served a single five-year term as president, stepping down from office in 1999 having laid the foundation for a united South Africa. *Source AFP/Voices of Africa]]>
Ali Mazrui, Julius Nyerere and Apartheid South Africa: A Tribute
January 5, 2015 | 0 Comments
Professor Ali Mazrui died two months ago at his home in Binghamton, New York. He was a Kenyan in the Diaspora and a scholar of monumental standing. Julius Nyerere was President of Tanzania from independence in 1961 to 1985 when he voluntarily stepped down. He died in 1999. In a historical sense then, the two global icons were contemporaries. Ali Mazrui and Julius Nyerere were my leading East African public heroes. Mazrui, a fellow Kenyan, was an outstanding scholar. He joined the teaching staff of Makerere University in Uganda in 1963 and, after only two years, he jumped to full professorship, bypassing the ranks of Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor. That happened before Mazrui had defended his dissertation for a doctorate degree at Oxford University. He indeed was a bona fide scholar in the Western tradition of objective inquiry. On the other hand, Nyerere was a politician from Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania.) But he was much more than a political ideologue. He was an astute, seasoned man of letters, a giant intellectual in his own right and a remarkable leader. In addition, he was by all accounts a decent human being of impeccable integrity. Most importantly, Nyerere was also a man of action, an exceptional African of vision and conviction. He was sufficiently audacious to act if that would improve Tanzania’s and Africa’s tormented condition. Little wonder that many enlightened Africans today are convinced that, in terms of political leadership, Nyerere is by far the best that free Africa has produced. Both Nyerere and Mazrui shone in their respective fields. In 2004, the London-based magazine, The New African, invited its readership to respond to the question: Who are the greatest Africans of all time? Both Nyerere and Mazrui were featured in the results as numbers 4 and 50, respectively. This was one year before Ali Mazrui was selected as the 73rd topmost intellectual on the list of top 100 public intellectuals worldwide by Prospect Magazine (UK) and Foreign Policy (United States.) As a ‘back door’ salute to the two East African icons, we pose two questions: What set Mazrui and Nyerere apart? What was their relevance to the all-important issue of apartheid in South Africa? After all, South Africa’s racist policy did trigger public comparisons between the two giants. Historically, no issue has bedeviled post-colonial Africa as deeply and uniformly as apartheid. The racially-driven policy actually united the entire Black world in an alliance-in-adversity. How did our two East African heroes handle apartheid’s existence on their continent? Rooted in the firm conviction that apartheid was a repugnant moral abomination, Nyerere was decidedly and unalterably against it from the outset. He made this clear before his country became independent in 1961. On October 22, 1959, he made a powerful pledge before the colonial Legislative Council, “We, the people of Tanganyika, would like to light a candle and put it on top of Mount Kilimanjaro which would shine beyond our borders giving hope where there was despair, love where there was hate and dignity where there was before only humiliation.” Henceforth, Nyerere effectively became a diplomatic globe-trotter, urging the Western world to desist from supporting apartheid. Meanwhile, Dar es Salaam quickly transformed into a Mecca for all the liberations movements from across white-dominated Southern Africa. In sum, Nyerere provided moral, political and material support to the struggles against white-rule in southern Africa. In the end, his contribution was consummated by his peers when they installed him as the Chairman of the Frontline States upon its establishment in 1970. Ultimately, Nyerere’s dedication to the liberation of the African sub-continent earned him the distinction of being glorified as the ‘carrier of the torch that liberated Africa.’ Nyerere was thus a hands-on political actor regarding South Africa in particular and southern Africa generally. Ali Mazrui entered the South African scene differently, as a scholar steeped in the Western orientation. After apartheid, the next most agonizing issue in post-colonial Africa was arguably that of white mercenaries. Indeed apartheid and white mercenaries were often perceived and projected as one and the same thing to the extent that the latter was a byproduct of the former. As rejects of apartheid, mercenaries were jettisoned out of the white war-machine and were happy to become soldiers-of-fortune who hired themselves out to the despots in black Africa. This tradition of mercenaries continued until 1998 when it was legally banned by democratic South Africa. The first captive in this ‘dogs of war’ aberration was Congo’s Moishe Tshombe. He first engaged the much despised mercenaries in the mid-1960s to fight for the secession of Congo’s mineral-rich Katanga Province, and subsequently for a united Congo. As a result of this illogical flip-flopping, a question arose: Was Tshombe having fellow Africans killed by South African white racists in the interest of his country or for his personal ambitions? Mazrui of that time was the ultimate scholar in the Western tradition of genuine inquiry and free speech. Regarding the presence of white mercenaries in the Congo he argued that there was a silver lining to it in the long run, because the Congolese had less to forgive each other for if the killing was done by foreign mercenaries. In his own words, “…the use of foreigners to commit some of the atrocities (in the Congo) might cynically but truly, be a positive contribution to the realization of future peace.” As far as pure logic goes, Mazrui’s proposition here was certainly viable. However, human affairs do not happen in a vacuum. In an abstract sense, there was coherence to Mazrui’s logic but, in an African setting, there was something about that logic that was cold-blooded and abrasive. Regardless of the fate of peace in future Congo, the very idea of entertaining (and paying) racist South Africans to spill African blood anywhere in freed Africa, was itself anathema, absolutely unacceptable. It was a classic case of the ends not justifying the means. What is more, the collective will of post-colonial Africa was total isolation of apartheid South Africa. Mazrui’s logic-of-the-head overlooked those deeply-held sentiments in black Africa. By repeatedly employing insensitive and unpalatable reasoning, Mazrui was nearly tagged with a pejorative stigma of being stoic to pan-African causes, the critic of orthodoxies of African thought. At least he earned the label that, in his earlier scholarship, Mazrui was an aloof and pointlessly combative polemicist. Yet, there was another side to Ali Mazrui, a kinder and gentler person who was deeply devoted to Africa and easily moved by the misfortunes of fellow Africans. Unfortunately, this side of Mazrui remained largely unknown except to those who got to know him personally. Relative to South Africa, Mazrui-of-the heart was exposed to me in the late 1960s by a South African event. In 1969, the University of Cape Town tracked Mazrui down to Makerere University in Uganda and invited him to give a public lecture at the ‘world class’ institution. This was at the height of the dark days of apartheid. UCT is the same university where in 1966 the US Senator Robert F. Kennedy had directed some brutally challenging remarks at apartheid. Mazrui took the bull by the horns by stating three conditions for accepting the offer. He was prepared to give the lecture at UCT provided (a) he was free to say whatever he wanted (b) that he addressed only a racially mixed audience and (c) he could bring along his British wife. UCT responded that it was prepared to risk the first two conditions but the third one was ‘going too far.’ Indeed bringing his white wife to South Africa would make Mazrui liable to prosecution under the Immorality and Mixed Marriage laws. So, in 1969 Mazrui did not go to the old South Africa but he made his point of protesting against apartheid by upholding pan-African sentiments. So, he was indeed capable of being moved by feelings after all! [caption id="attachment_15187" align="alignleft" width="194"] Prof James N. Kariuki[/caption] In the early 1970’s, there was a propensity among upcoming African scholars to ‘dismiss’ Ali Mazrui. To them, he had succumbed to becoming a detached, ivory tower academic committed to being a negative critic of orthodox African thought. Why did he not animate his scholarship by applying it to public affairs of society in the mold of Julius Nyerere, Martin Luther King or WEB Dubois? Yet, by the time his body started to fail him, Mazrui was deeply involved outside the academy in gigantic global projects of denouncing injustice. Such included campaigning on behalf of the African Union for reparations for slavery and seeking justice for the Palestinians. Similarly, after the presidency, Julius Nyerere took on a global responsibility of becoming Chairman of the South Commission, comprising of the continents of the Southern Hemisphere. What is the moral of this story? The two East African icons travelled different routes to international acclaim but they arrived at the same destination of combating injustices of this world. Beneath the façade in their external appearances, what they had in common transcended those differences. Perhaps African critics should allow time and space for their homegrown intellectual treasures to shine when they are ‘good and ready.’ *James N. Kariuki is Professor of International Relations (Emeritus), a consultant and an independent writer. More of his work and the Special PAV edition on Prof Ali Mazrui can be found on his blog Global Africa]]>
Zuma moves to defuse Dar, Kampala, Kigali tensions
December 29, 2014 | 0 Comments
[caption id="attachment_15051" align="alignleft" width="595"] South African President Jacob Zuma (centre), Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni (right) met in Kampala on December 21. In their meeting, the two leaders discussed peace and security in the Great Lakes region. PHOTO | FILE[/caption] Defusing rising tensions around the imminent deployment of the East African Regional Standby Force to disarm Rwandan Hutu rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, was the major reason for South African President Jacob Zuma’s surprise visit to Dar es Salaam and Kampala earlier this week, The EastAfrican has learnt.
South Africa's Stellenbosch mafia
December 7, 2014 | 0 Comments
Jana Marais in Stellenbosch* [caption id="attachment_14590" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo©Entrepreneur Magazine, Ed O’riley; Danielle Karallis/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty; Raymond Preston/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty; Nasief Manie/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty[/caption] Under fire from the Economic Freedom Fighters and others, the Afrikaner stronghold’s billionaire power brokers argue that they are committed to black economic empowerment. The new faces at the table may look the part, but are they being served the choicest slice of the pie? The city where all the country’s prime ministers between 1919 and 1978 went to school – including apartheid architect H.F. Verwoerd – and home to some of the country’s richest and most powerful businessmen, Stellenbosch has become a focal point for firebrand politician Julius Malema to attack the country’s lack of economic transformation. His argument is easy to sell: white house-holds still earn on average six times more than black ones, while unemployment among blacks is nearly six times higher than among whites. In Stellenbosch, home town of Johann Rupert, South Africa’s richest person, an estimated 28% of the population is food insecure. Its university, under fire for a lack of transformation at student and staff level, still has buildings honouring Verwoerd. Nestled between mountains and vineyards about 52km from Cape Town, Stellenbosch is the second-oldest town in the country. A popular tourist destination thanks to its location and historic centre, the student town also hosts a number of big corporate offices. Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, says dismantling the “Stellenbosch mafia” and sharing the means of production is needed if South Africans ever want to obtain “economic freedom”. This so-called mafia has top African National Congress (ANC) leaders in their pockets and controls everything from the judiciary to the banks, mines and stores, he told a rally in Khayelitsha, an impoverished township near Cape Town, in March. Bee commitment While it is true that they control a substantial portion of the economy, it is unfair to say Stellenbosch’s power brokers have not been committed to black economic empowerment (BEE), says Ajay Lalu, managing director at consultancy firm Black Lite. Stellenbosch is home to many wealthy business owners. Magnates linked to the city include Rupert (Remgro and Richemont), Jannie Mouton (PSG Group), Christo Wiese (ShopRite, Pepkor, Brait, Tradehold and Invicta Holdings), Koos Bekker (Naspers), G.T. Ferreira and Paul Harris (FirstRand and Rand Merchant Bank), Markus Jooste (Steinhoff ) and Michiel Le Roux (Capitec). Critics of the ANC government say that BEE has only benefited those with political allies. Brait, a holding company with investments in food and retail businesses, had politically connected empowerment partners. BEE firm Sitogo Holdings sold its share in Brait in 2010, netting around R70m ($6.3m) in profit to shareholders. Among these were people close to President Jacob Zuma, including Sandile Zungu and Vivian Reddy. Boardroom shuffle A closer look at board composition and shareholding reveals how interconnected Stellenbosch’s business elite is – though many of these relationships can be traced back to Johannesburg, where people like Mouton, Ferreira and Jooste spent most of their careers before moving to the winelands. Jooste is the chief executive of furniture manufacturer Steinhoff. He sits on the board of PSG, a company founded by Mouton that is one of the country’s top four investment firms. Steinhoff also acquired a 20% stake in PSG from Christo Wiese’s investment group Titan in 2011. In addition, Jooste served on the board of Capitec, PSG’s biggest investment. Wiese, who owns a small stake in Steinhoff, sat on the Steinhoff board along with Mouton and increased his stake in the company in September. Rupert’s Remgro, a diversified conglomerate with interests in banking, retail, healthcare and insurance, is implementing an Africa-focused expansion. “If you look at Remgro and their shareholding relationship with Kagiso Tiso Holdings, for example, it sends a very clear signal that they’re doing something from an empowerment perspective. “The one criticism that I could lay at their door is that they have been quite selective in which assets they decide to empower. It is never at holding companylevel,” Lalu says. Thismeans empowerment shareholders have often been left out of the growth achieved outside South Africa and it shows a compliance mentality rather than a strategic approach to empowerment, he explains. Retailers like Pepkor and ShopRite have been under less pressure to focus on empowerment due in part to their limited reliance on government business. Nonetheless, Pepkor sold a 7.5% stake in 2004 to the equity fund of the J&J Group, the investment firm co-founded by former ANC stalwart Jay Naidoo, and Medu Capital, founded by chartered accountants Ernest January and Nhlanganiso Mkwanazi. Both these empowerment funds have grown significantly over the past 10 years, with J&J now holding stakes in companies including Rand Merchant Bank, Areva, Macquarie and Bombardier. Medu Capital, with more than R1.5bn under management, partners with established businesses that require equity risk capital or empowerment partners. Other success stories include RMB’s Makalani Holdings, run by bankers Sydney Mhlarhi and Vusi Mahlangu. Their investment firm Tamela was established to hold a minority stake in Makalani and has since grown to include stakes in companies like PPC, AON and Daimler Fleet Management. And, increasingly, deals are done simply because it makes business sense, such as Remgro’s R500m investment in the Pembani Remgro Infrastucture Fund in partnership with MTN’s chairman and former CEO Phuthuma Nhleko, who is credited with building the tele- communications company into an emerging markets behemoth. The combi effect Transformation at board and management level remains problematic. At Remgro, 18 of the 22 top and senior managers are white males. Shoprite has only two black board members – one female – out of 14. All eight executive directors are white males. The retailer has also been under fire from trade unions for the low proportion of full-time employees and the low minimum wage of around $205 per month. The partnership between PSG and businessman ‘KK’ Combi has changed the Stellenbosch crowd. For PSG’s Mouton, ‘KK’ Combi’s integrity and business focus were the deciding factors when the company needed a new empowerment partner in 2005. Combi, a successful black entrepreneur who shies away from the limelight, first established a relationship with PSG through Master Currency, the foreign-exchange trading business he founded. Combi established Thembeka Capital in 2007 to partner with PSG, raised R36m by selling shares at R30 to around 500 investors and moved his office to Stellenbosch – “something I never thought in my life I would do,” Combi tells The Africa Report. The result was arguably one of the most successful empowerment partnerships in the country, resulting in Thembeka doing a number of lucrative deals with PSG, including investing in Capitec Bank, Pioneer Foods and Curro Holdings. Combi, with board seats on all four companies, is also much more than a minority shareholder with no say, which is so often the criticism levied against the beneficiaries of BEE deals. He played a crucial role in negotiations with government and the competition authorities when Pioneer was facing a R4.5bn fine for its role in a bread cartel, which could have sunk the company. It finally settled on a fine of R500m in 2010. Big deals all done Thembeka announced in September its structures will be unwound to unlock value for shareholders, with Thembeka shares to be swapped for more liquid PSG shares. The transaction is valued at R165.85 per share, a 453% increase in seven years. Some of the shares remain restricted and will be transferred to a trust to fund bursaries for black students to obtain a private high-school education. Combi will remain on the PSG and other boards. “The intention is for us to stay together and look for deals together. The BEE landscape has changed. All the lucrative big deals have been done,” he explains. Combi admits that Stellenbosch is not for everyone. “People from the north [Gauteng, the more conventional base for black investment firms] find it difficult to settle in the Cape for various reasons. Some say it is too slow, but I can tell you one thing: it has never been slow for me. Others say the political set-up in the Western Cape is different,” Combi says. The Western Cape is the only province that is not governed by the ANC. “Of course it is different. It depends on the person, if you can find it easy to criss-cross between racial lines. I find it very easy. I was born in the Western Cape, and I claim my right to be here.” He laughs: “If you think, eight years ago nobody would ever have dreamt there could be a black member of the Stellenbosch mafia.” ● Christo Wiese – Billionaire Wiese, 73, is the mastermind behind ShopRite and Pepkor, two of the country’s most successful food and clothing retailers, respectively. Today, ShopRite is Africa’s largest food retailer, with stores in 17 African countries. In 2009, officials at London City Airport confiscated cash of more than £670,000 ($1.1m) when Wiese boarded a flight to Luxembourg. He won a court bid to have the money returned in 2012. Zitulele ‘KK’ Combi – His debating skills earned him the nickname KK, after Zambia’s former president Kenneth Kaunda. Combi, 62, started as an insurance salesman in Gugulethu, a township outside Cape Town. He saved enough money to establish a cafe and a petrol station. His major breakthrough came in 1995 when he started Master Currency, a business he sold to Bidvest in 1998. Jannie Mouton – In August 1995, Jannie Mouton, then 48, was fired from his job as managing director of SMK, a stockbroking firm he co-founded in 1982. This led to the establishment of PSG Group, which Mouton – also known as the Boer Warren Buffett – built into one of the most successful investment firms in South Africa. PSG holds stakes in Pioneer Foods, Distell, Capitec Bank and Curro Holdings. Jay Naidoo – A former general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions and minister in Nelson Mandela’s first cabinet, he founded J&J Group with his friend Jayendra Naidoo in 2000. A well-known labour and anti-apartheid activist, Naidoo, 59, has returned to full-time voluntary work. He serves on the boards of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. *Source theafricareport]]>
South Africa Marks Anniversary Of Nelson Mandela's Death
December 6, 2014 | 0 Comments
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Friends and family of Nelson Mandela laid wreaths Friday at a bronze statue of the late statesman to mark the anniversary of his death. Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel, recalled the former president’s last moments, saying he was at peace and surrounded by family. Mandela died last Dec. 5 after a long illness at the age of 95. “My singular privilege was to be the shoulder he would lean on in the sunset of his life,” said Machel. Mandela spent 27 years in prison under South Africa’s segregationist apartheid regime. As international awareness of South Africa’s racial discrimination grew, Mandela became one of the world’s most famous prisoners. After his release in 1990, Mandela went on to win the presidency in the country’s first all-race election in 1994. He was awarded the Nobel prize, along with former South African President Frederick W. de Klerk, for negotiating the end of white minority rule. Mandela served a single five-year term and stepped down voluntarily to focus on charity work. Though apartheid is in the distant past, racial disparities and injustices remain. Machel said South Africans should continue to work for greater racial and ethnic reconciliation to honor Mandela’s legacy. [caption id="attachment_14558" align="alignleft" width="570"] Members of the Khoe and San tribe pray for late President Nelson Mandela in an inter-faith prayer service ceremony held at Isivivane at Freedom Park on Dec. 5, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. (STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/Getty Images)[/caption] Ahmed Kathrada, Mandela’s close friend who was imprisoned with him for more than two decades, described him as “a peasant, an aristocrat. He was a democrat with a touch of the autocrat.” [caption id="attachment_14559" align="alignright" width="570"] South African President Jacob Zuma makes a speech on the anniversary of Mandela’s death, at Tsinghua University in Beijing on Dec. 5, 2014. (GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)[/caption] U.S. President Barack Obama and wife Michelle said that the world lost a leader one year ago “whose struggle and sacrifices inspired us to stand up for our fundamental principles, whose example reminded us of the enduring need for compassion, understanding, and reconciliation, and whose vision saw the promise of a better world.” *Source huffingtonpost]]>