Anything positive happen July/August while you weren’t looking?


My apologies, I was away for most of July with no signal, so I will combine the months of July and August to focus on positive developments.

 As is to be expected the months of July and August were gloomy and overwhelming: Eskom on the brink; failing municipalities; expropriation without compensation; endless corruption cases; the Zondo Commission of Inquiry; broken bridges in JHB; Trump tweets; Racist videos from Adam Catzavelos; and we lost against Argentina!

 Did anything positive happen? If you look carefully – YES!   X12……(at least)

By Steuart Pennington

1. My School, My Village, My Planet raised R6 672 372 during June to assist schools, charities, environmental and animal organisations.2. Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) urges the South African private sector to help build on the Brazil Russia India China South Africa (BRICS) Summit, by matching and taking advantage of the investment opportunities presented by the summit and associated business forums.

“We would like to see the local private sector match these efforts and help unlock the opportunities presented by these investments,” said BLSA CEO Bonang Mohale. BLSA has over the last few months been working with presidential special envoys to help drive the project to recruit $100 billion in FDI and another $100 billion made up of domestic direct investment. Already, one of our members – Sappi – has just announced R7,5 billion over the next five years,” said Mohale. “Another BLSA member, Old Mutual, helped generate R 10 billion investment inflows with its recent relisting on the JSE.

3.  Solafuture; during 2016, it was estimated that  80 MW solar PV was installed on rooftop projects in South Africa, a figure 10 times higher than 5 years

4. Paul Mashatile, the African National Congress (ANC) treasurer-general, has revealed that South Africa’s nuclear power expansion program has been halted due to its unaffordability. President Ramaphosa confirmed this at the BRICS Summit.

5. Groot Acquisition Trek? Capital flight? Definitely not!

Etienne le Roux of Rand Merchant Bank writes “Since 2013, R385bn has been spent to acquire and raise equity holdings in offshore undertakings — a gobsmacking figure. This explains why some conclude that business prefers expanding overseas to investing in fixed assets locally. Others push it further still, calling it unpatriotic.

It’s tempting to focus solely on the private sector’s offshore activities. But that’s not fair. In reality, the private sector invests meaningfully more every year in SA than this R385bn, which the firms have invested overseas over five years.

Also, not only have corporates continued to invest in plant, tools, machinery and so forth, they’ve even increased capital outlays moderately, from R470bn in 2013 to R550bn in 2017. And this despite the harsh economic downturn that dominated in this period.”

6. Graduate recruitment looks good for 2019 Graduate recruitment amongst the leading graduate employers is optimistic for the upcoming year, while securing the highest-calibre candidates remains extremely competitive.

Results from an independent survey of leading employers in South Africa shows that these organisations are set to recruit record numbers of graduates in 2018 & 2019. The SAGEA Employer Benchmark Survey 2018 is based on responses from 91 of the leading graduate employers in the country. It provides encouraging news for students looking for their first job upon graduation.

7. Why do things never fall apart in South Africa?

By Jonathan Jansen

Why does South Africa not fall off the precipice?

The first is our remarkable capacity for self-correction.

The second thing is that we have this ability to laugh at ourselves during a crisis.

The third reason we do not fall off the edge is our incredible capacity for forgiveness.

The fourth reason why we are able to pull back from the afgrond (precipice)

The fifth is this: we avert disaster by our tenacity as a people, our determination to take on the long odds.

Finally, the sixth, what holds this country together is a powerful “moral underground”,

I’d like to add a seventh, our extraordinary compassion.

So, yes, we are in trouble as a country. But we have reasons to hope that things will get better. After all, we have been at the precipice often and we still have cause to dream, for all the reasons mentioned.

8. Corruption Watch (CW) has released its 2018 Analysis of Corruption Trends (ACT) Report, entitled It’s Time to Act. The report shows the persistence of members of the public to expose corruption and hold those responsible to account.   During the period from 1 January to 30 June 2018, 2 469 cases of corruption were lodged with the organisation, highlighting six areas of concern, namely: schools, municipalities, the South African Police Service (SAPS), licensing centres, state-owned entities and the health sector.

9. Shaun the sheep is out. The Constitutional Court has ruled that Shaun Abrahams’ appointment as national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) was wrong, ending fierce legal battle.

It decided that the way in which his predecessor Mxolisi Nxasana left office was invalid and unconstitutional. President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Dr Silas Ramaite as acting NPA National Director of Public Prosecutions as former boss Shaun Abrahams will spend the week clearing his office and conducting a handover. The journey to cleaning up the institution has only just begun.

10. Cape Town – Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabadahas been named Wisden’s Golden Boy of 2018, an award for the best male cricketer in the world aged 23 or under.

11. Recycling: SA ranks 15th globally in respect of the generation of waste, but SA recycles:

  • 70% of paper
  • 75% of aluminium
  • 44% of plastic
  • 9% of e-waste

Approximately 200,000 informal workers are engaged in the industry.

12. AgriSA had a meeting with the ANC and produced a positive press release on agrarian reform and agricultural property, the salient points being;

  • No land grabs will be allowed
  • The protection of productive agricultural land will remain a priority
  • Optimising use of fallow land in deep rural areas
  • Property rights will remain a key priority in agrarian development
  • Government is finalizing an audit of state land for transfer to black farmers
  • Initiating production on 4000 farms currently in Government position to unlock commercial value and create farming opportunities.

So yes, there is lots to be concerned about. Much of it has to do with institutional failure;

  • will the Zondo Commission deliver on the state capture inquiry?
  • will the SOE’s begin to turn a corner?
  • will the municipalities under administration show any signs of improvement in service delivery?
  • will the hysterical expropriation without compensation debate move towards a more rational land form debate?
  • will we start sending out a message to the international investment community on policy certainty particularly in respect of mining, manufacturing and agriculture?
  • will we start doing what’s needed promote economic growth and job creation?