Edition: June / Aug 2017


Let me disclose with unclaimed immodesty that, as it happens, this TT edition coincides with my 50th anniversary in financial journalism. Of course, lots of people will say that by now they’ve had as much of me as they can stand and the time has arrived for departure to a home for the aged.

Sorry to disappoint them, but TT is about to enter a transaction that will launch it into an innovative trajectory. More about this later.

That first published article was in the Financial Mail of 14 April 1967. It dealt with the Coloured Development Corporation, one of several such apartheid-based banking-type operations (the Xhosa Development Corporation, for instance, being another). Set up by the National Party government, they were intended to facilitate growth of a black middle class.

Must say that I’m rather proud of my youthful prescience. The article concluded with the observation that, while the CDC “possibly creates a cream of contentment in the upper echelons, it can do little to prevent the milk from going sour”.

Then we had the CDC, the XDC and the rest. Today we have BEE.

On the subject of BEE, a reminder that its purpose is to meet the twin objectives of inclusion and the advancement of the historically excluded while maintaining a focus on training for excellence.

In view of the renewed light being shone on Eskom and the favours it’s bestowed on Gupta-controlled Tegeta, I recall the remarks of former finance Minister Trevor Manuel: “On reading the ‘State of Capture’ report, I observe that the owners of Tegeta have no such impediments. It appears in fact that the Gupta family, who arrived from India much later, have never had any BEE issues. There is something seriously untoward about this contradiction.”

For sure. There’s no justifiable reason that Eskom should ignore BEE, or treat the Guptas as if they were BEE and then some.

Was caught the other day in an EFF protest march on Constitution Hill. As the fellas in red approached, wielding sjamboks and knobkerries, I waited in my car and hoped to hell that they wouldn’t notice I’m white.

Eventually, when they surrounded the car, they smiled and waved. Good humour all around. The big takeout is that relationships between people on the ground are much better than politicians pretend.

Here’s a recent quote that resonates: “Democracy is like a bus. He would ride it until it got him to his desired destination, and then he would get off.”

No, this wasn’t in reference to President Zuma of SA but to President Erdogan of Turkey.

Actually heard on a Radio 702 talk show: “How can we have economic freedom when we don’t have enough money to buy the things we want to buy?”

Answers anyone, please?

Even a drought can have unintended consequences.