‘Marcus exit no surprise, Zuma spoilt for choice’

I have a vivid memory of a Sunday morning in July 2009 when journalists were called to a press conference at the Union Buildings. Gill Marcus, who was about to be announced as the new Reserve Bank governor, walked into the conference looking, as she always did, slightly out of place among the well heeled dignitaries.

Wearing her trademark kaftan, she looked like a regular person caught up in the corridors of power and influence. Until she spoke, that is. I have never seen her stumble, or appear rehearsed, whether she was speaking on national or economic issues or answering stupid questions at a bank annual general meeting. Her ability to communicate complex issues at everyone’s level is a true talent.

Today Marcus, who has just turned 65, announced she is stepping down when her contract expires in November.

The announcement is not a huge surprise, and there has been speculation for some time about who would succeed her. President Jacob Zuma will be spoilt for choice. Deputy governors are Daniel Mminele, Lesetja Kganyago and Francois Groepe, the latter probably being the least likely to take over from her.

Since her return to South Africa from exile in 1990, Marcus has largely been involved in serving the ANC and government, including as deputy finance minister. She was also Absa’s chairperson.

Marcus is not the type to try to win popularity contests, but she gained many people’s respect. She is remarkable in being able to reach the highest levels while always being true to herself.

Source: City Press

Will SA pay billions for Inga power?

Questions have cropped up about the ­financing for South Africa’s participation in a multibillion-dollar joint infrastructure project with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Last year, Treasury’s 2013 Budget Review determined the cost of the Grand Inga ­hydropower project – situated on the Congo River’s Inga Falls – at R200 billion. The financing was to be determined once feasibility studies were completed.

Initial studies have now been completed, according to the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), and the Congolese government has opened bidding for construction of the first phase of the project, Inga 3.

South Africa recently locked down 2 500 megawatts from Inga 3 through a treaty of joint cooperation between the two governments as it took steps to address its energy deficit, with nuclear deals also on the table with other ­governments.

SA needs 61 200MW by 2030, according to the department of energy’s revised integrated resource plan.

Former energy minister Dipuo Peters said the R200 billion was “too little” for the project. The IDC has been ­approached for funding, but it is unclear if other development finance agencies have been approached, or if South Africa will fund any of the construction.

Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) boss Patrick Dlamini told City Press last week that the project would need an estimated $100 billion (R1.1 trillion) for all the ­different phases, which will produce 40 000MW of electricity when built.

The DBSA’s annual report, which was released last week, showed it had capital of R4.8 billion on call, which Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene wanted to raise to R20 billion.

“The likes of Eskom will be critical user [for Grand Inga],” said Dlamini. “Brand-new lines will be built, which then becomes very expensive.”

He said if the Southern African Power Pool – a grouping of the Southern African Development Community power utilities – was able to build these lines, it would be much easier to finance the project. The utilities were “very willing” to build them, but financing was a problem, he said.

There was no question of packing up and going home though, as extraction of Africa’s natural resources has ­always been a power-hungry endeavour.

The IDC’s Africa unit, which has an exposure of R7.5 billion out of R11.1 billion committed or approved to projects in the rest of Africa, is not involved in the hydropower project either, although spokesperson Mandla Mpangase said it had been approached to participate.

“The level of our involvement has not yet been ­determined,” he said.

“The project is not yet at a stage for us to make a determination of funding as there are a few gaps that need to be finalised relating to the evacuation of the power from the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa.”

Mpangase said it could, together with other development finance institutions, get involved in the project if it needed to.


Source: City Press

Where to Eat – Too many Possibilities

Where to eat, when there are thousands of options!

Eat Out has so many recommendations, the mind boggles. You will most definitely not be able to dine at each of the wealth of world-class restaurants, bars and cafés lining South Africa’s streets.

The decision where to eat becomes a trifle easier when you know whether you’re in the mood for say Asian, Indian, Italian, or Portuguese food.

However, choices of where to eat, remain tough.

If you enjoy dining with ‘chopsticks’ you have dozens of exotic-sounding restaurants to choose from”: Lai Lai, Li Kou Fu, Sai Thai, Yamato, Padbok Thai, Wing Hin, Nagoya, Shangai, Daruma, and Greedy Buddha, to name but a few.

If it’s Indian food you’re after, the list rolls just as warmly from the tongue: Little India, Vintage India, Curry Okies, Jeera, Jewel of India, Amaravathi Palki, House of Curries, Jaipur Palace, and also Some like it hot.

When you’re planning a romantic dinner, refined French cuisine will often dictate where to eat. There is however another cuisine steeped in love and this, according to Eat Out has to be Italian. “Who doesn’t adore spaghetti messily twisted around a fork, lovingly folded parcels of ravioli, and stretchy, hot, pizza cheese sticking to your chin? How about honest, handmade pasta, and sun-warmed ingredients like tomatoes and herbs? Not forgetting the robust red vino. Italian food is generous, rich and it warms the heart and soul.”

And again, in South Africa we’re spoilt for choice. In Johannesburg alone there is 86 Public, Amarcord Osteria Italiana, Assaggi, The Ant Café, Café Del Sol, Casalinga Ristorante, Ciao Baby Cucina, Franco’s Pizzeria and Trattoria, Da Graziella Pizzeria and Trattoria, and at Montecasino you can dine at La Scala.

It’s possibly not as popular as French or Italian, but a Portuguese restaurant is a fantastic choice when you’re next wondering where to eat. Its fiery flavours found in chilli peppers, lemon, black pepper, saffron, coriander, olive oil and garlic make for a wonderful gustatory experience. Restaurants across the country recommended by Eat Out include Adega, Casa Valdez, Pigalle, Peri Peri De Mocambique, LM in the East, Catemba, Beira Alta, Casa da Galinha, and A Churrasqywira.

So in conclusion, where to eat, when there are thousands of available options, remains a question difficult to answer. It is however a privileged journey, one that the true foodie is just too grateful for.

What can be sold to prop up Eskom?

Economists say state might dispose of its key assets to ease utility’s massive funding gap

Telkom, Broadband Infraco, Alexkor and SA Express are among the state-owned assets that could be sold to prop up Eskom, which faces a R225 billion cash crunch.


Speculation is mounting after government’s announcement on Sunday that it had found a solution for the utility’s funding gap. This included an equity injection to be funded by leveraging “nonstrategic government assets”.


Peter Attard Montalto, an emerging markets economist at investment bank Nomura, who estimated Eskom’s current funding needs at R5 billion – and R20 billion in the medium term – in Business Report this week, told City Press these were “guesstimates based on our current understanding of Eskom’s balance sheet and what sort of tariff increases might be possible, as well as Eskom’s debt to equity and debt to revenue targets it wants to hit”.


One possibility available to government is to sell off part of its holdings in telecommunications companies Telkom and Vodacom, of which it owns 39.79% and 13.91%, respectively. These are worth R11.6 billion and R26.8 billion, respectively.


“I named Telkom and Vodacom because they are listed equities and it would be easy to turn a sale around in two months,” said Attard Montalto.


But political economist Mzukisi Qobo does not see government selling its stake in Telkom, given its role in blocking an offer from South Korea’s KT Corp for 20% of Telkom.


“I seriously doubt they will dispose of Telkom,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense.”


Another possibility is Broadband Infraco, which has a 12 800km national fibre-optic network and is a provider of backhaul connectivity. Government owns 74% of the company, with the rest owned by the Industrial Development Corporation. In this year’s annual report, the corporation stated its stake in the company at R364 million, valuing government’s share at R1.4 billion.


“Broadband Infraco or Alexkor, even SA Express, could all be partly spun off, but that would require an [initial public offering] and a process that, given the state of the economy and these companies and the regulatory framework of their sectors, might well take six months,” said Attard Montalto.


“These could well be possible over the long run, but the liquidity of Telkom and Vodacom seems attractive.”


Qobo said other measures the state could look at to fund Eskom would be to issue a bond or partially float some of the state-owned companies, much like the Chinese model.


China has partially listed some of its state-owned companies such as petroleum company Sinopec, in which it holds 75.8%.


This might just be the medicine South African state-owned enterprises need,especially after the Treasury this week told Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises that 40% to 50% of these enterprises were in the red.


“I think they will implode if not significantly restructured,” said Qobo.


But the rescue package for Eskom, widely expected to be fully set out in Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s medium- term budget policy statement next month, might do little to avert a credit rating downgrade for the power utility.


Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) indicated this week it needed more information on the government package after the bailout announcement – based on recommendations from an interministerial committee set up to find solutions for Eskom’s R225 billion cash crunch – to avert a credit rating downgrade to “junk” status.


Ravi Bhatia, S&P’s primary analyst on South Africa, said more details were needed before the agency could make a decision on Eskom’s CreditWatch.


“We would need details on the package – on how big the equity injection will be, as well as details on debt metrics,” he said.


Nene said on Monday that government had identified the assets it would leverage for the equity injection, but that it was “too early to disclose what they are”.


He did not say if assets would be sold, used as security, or used in other ways to raise funding.


S&P placed Eskom on CreditWatch in June, meaning there was a 50% chance of a downgrade within 90 days.


This expired yesterday.


The Eskom bonus
Government will give Eskom an equity injection by ‘leveraging’ nonstrategic government assets, and allow it to borrow R50 billion from existing guarantees.


It will also apply a raft of other nonfinancing measures, including cost savings at Eskom, refining energy policy, and supporting the utility’s application to the National Energy Regulator of SA for tariff adjustments.


Source: City Press

Weddings and events - finding the right planner

Organising your special day, or even just an important function, can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Weddings and events planning has become an industry and there are many people who have made a career of planning weddings and events. However, finding the right person to arrange a wedding or important event could be a challenge. Here are some tips to finding the right person to arrange your special day:

  • Do your homework

Visit as many planners’ websites as possible and look at photographs of events that he/she have organised. If the style of the events does not appeal to you, you most likely do not share the same aesthetical vision and the person might not be the right fit.

  • Prepare for your first meeting

Being well prepared for your first meeting with a prospective planner will save you a lot of time and possibly heartache in the long run. Have magazine clippings, photographs or other examples of your vision ready so that your prospective planner knows exactly what to expect and can quote for his/her services accordingly.

  • Ask for references

Ask prospective planners for references. When following up with past clients, ask them whether your prospective planner stuck to the budget, whether he/she was easy to work with and how well he/she interpreted the client’s ideas.

  • Have a contract

Having a contract protects both you and the planner of your wedding or event. Aspects that should be covered in the contract include the budget, hiring of vendors, scope of work and how emergencies will be dealt with.

  • Listen to your gut

Trust your gut feeling. If it doesn’t feel “right”, the person is probably not for you. As you will be spending a lot of time with your planner, it must be someone you get along with.

By following these guidelines, you could take the sting out of finding the right planner for your wedding or event. However, problems may still occur and that is why communicating regularly with your wedding or event planner is crucial. Trust your planner, but make sure that he/she sticks to the budget and timetable of the event.

Want to work at an agency? Send a CV worth reading

Standing out amongst a pile of CVs is often not easy, so how do you make a good first impression with a CV destined for the ‘yes’ pile?

Palesa Letaba, Talent Officer of Native VML, said: “We go through so many CVs during the job-application process and, sadly, many don’t make the grade because of amateur mistakes like poor spelling and the inclusion of irrelevant information. To assist those wanting to make an impression we’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts for a successful CV application.”

Starting with the Dos list, Letaba says it’s important to be different. “You have to understand that HR departments see hundreds of CVs every month and if you don’t stand out you’re unlikely to be noticed. Graphs, infographics, headlines and a clean, eye-catching layout all add up to a CV that makes our hearts beat a little faster.”

Next, she suggests writing an introduction in the email. “Don’t just send a CV. If the subject line doesn’t tell us what you are interested in, it’s unlikely we can help you. If the best you can do is to send your CV with a ‘Sent from Blackberry/iPhone/whatever’ message, we will struggle to take you seriously.”


Spellcheck and a quick proofread is an essential before hitting ‘send’, added Letaba. She advises getting a friend to read it or read it out loud to see if it makes sense.

“Let the medium be the message. What I mean by that is an application for a finance position and design position should be very different. Let your personality shine through. Don’t think of a black-and-white word document as your application. It could be anything, such as a video, blog post, singing telegram etc. Try telling a (short) story, rather than giving a list of jobs, degrees, accolades. While this is the traditional way of doing a CV you need to remember that you are applying at a creative agency, so traditional isn’t necessarily the best route. The best tip I can offer is to make sure that by the end of page three (max) we have picture of you as a person,” she said.

Letaba says that when talking about your experience, talk about your accountabilities and achievements rather than your tasks in each role you’ve had. Put your most recent experience first and make sure the dates are accurate. “If there are overlaps or gaps, tell us why. The days of a career gap counting against you are (mostly) over, but please let us know if you were hiking in Mongolia, saving the rainforests, learning to code or becoming the world Tekken champion in your downtime.”

Looking at her list of CV don’ts, Letaba says forwarded emails are a no no. “It’s really not advisable to let the company that you are hoping to work for know that it was possibly your second choice by forwarding a CV originally addressed to someone else.”

“Also applicants who call and ask: ‘When is the closing date for applications?’ don’t inspire much confidence. It sounds like you are going to wait for the last minute to apply. Apply now if you are interested.”

She adds that keeping your CV info relevant is an essential. “We don’t really care if you were the under 14B Vice Captain of your netball team.”

Inappropriate tweets

“Lastly, if you have totally inappropriate tweets on your Twitter account, don’t include your handle on your CV.”

Getting around the ‘no previous experience’ issue can be tricky when applying for any new job, but Letaba believes it can be overcome. “Tell us what you want to do. If you haven’t found yourself, pick a direction that sounds exciting and is relevant to our business and be prepared to answer questions about your choice. We won’t expect you to know everything, but we would expect a good answer to ‘Why does this appeal to you?’ Read a few articles and be able to converse, at least basically, about the subject. Tell us why we should pick you over the 300 other people who have applied for the same job.

Show us a varsity project, a piece of proactive work, an idea you have, a blog you write, something! The person who reads your application is interested in finding the very best talent to present to whoever makes the hiring decision. Give him a reason to take the next step in meeting you,” she said.

“Working in an agency is challenging but highly rewarding. Agencies are always looking for new talent, enthusiastic personalities and hard workers, so be encouraged. All the best with your applications; may the force of good grammar and articulate persuasion be with you,” she concluded.


Two of Ireland/Davenport's Loerie wins withdrawn

Two Loeries Award entries submitted by Ireland/Davenport that went on to receive awards have been withdrawn by the Loeries.

Ireland Davenport’s Gold for its New Voice Non-English Radio entry, ABSA Funeral Plan, “Abashwe” as well as Bronze for its New Voice Non-English Radio entry, Fox International Channel’s “The Simpsons Crime Report” did not meetentry criteria.

The New Voice category for non-English radio was created by the Loeries to promote the use of South Africa’s non-English languages. Until this year, pro-active work that had not been flighted was eligible. However, from the beginning of 2014, this category was brought in line with all other categories of the Loeries: All work must be commercially published, launched or aired to a substantial audience for the first time between 1 June 2013 and 13 June 2014.

Rules changed, honest mistake

Unfortunately, Ireland/Davenport did not make themselves aware of the change to the rules and submitted work for this category that had not flighted. While the responsibility rests with the entrant to ensure that all entry criteria are met, the Loeries accepts that this was an honest mistake.

“It is important that all entries meet our entry criteria,” says Loeries CEO, Andrew Human. “From this year, all entries require a signature from the company head accepting all the terms and conditions of entry. We have a zero-tolerance policy and will continue to ensure that all the rules of entry are enforced.”

Winners table adjusted

As a result of these changes, a total of 254 awards were handed out in the main categories, with the winners being broken down as follows:

  ALL Student Professional
Entries 2534 342 2192
Prof non-craft entries     1453
Prof craft entries     739
Grand Prix 4    
Gold 30 4 26
Silver 59 11 48
Bronze 100 18 82
Craft Gold 17 3 14
Craft Certificate 44 5 39

Two of Ireland/Davenport’s Loerie wins withdrawn, Source: Bizcommunity

TribeOne Festival: Tshwane mayor still confident of recovering R25m

The City of Tshwane and its mayor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, are confident the council will recoup the R25 million paid to the organisers of the TribeOne Festival which was supposed to kick off today.

But the city will likely have to fight for its money because event managers say they don’t owe the city a cent.

The organisers pulled out last week claiming the Dinokeng site near Cullinan was not ready.

Yesterday the High Court in Pretoria struck off the roll the city’s urgent application to challenge the cancellation.


The city’s Selby Bokaba has accused the event organisers of cancelling the event for the wrong reasons.


“They are being disingenuous. They’re playing this [public relations] campaign which is based on nothing but lies.”

But Derrick Kauffman, a lawyer representing one of the organisers Sony Entertainment, says the cancellation was valid.

“If we are successful in alleging the city’s repudiation was indeed repudiation and the cancellation was valid, then they lose the ability to claim back the money.”

After the matter was struck off the roll yesterday, Kauffman said this was a great victory.

“We were vindicated. The judge struck the matter from the roll by ruling there was no urgency for the application to be heard.”

He added that the judge ruled costs were reserved which means the two parties will return in a fortnight and argue who will bear the costs of the application.



Ramokgopa says they took the organisers to court to ensure the city’s reputation was not dragged through the mud.

“The only reason we went to court was to protect ourselves. It’s a reputation issue. The face of the concert might be TribeOne, but it’s the ultimately the City of Tshwane.”


He said plans are being put into place for the concert to take place at a later date.

The mayor denied the city failed to build the necessary infrastructure for the festival and has blamed organisers for failing to sell enough tickets.

City officials remain adamant the venue was ready, but organisers Sony Entertainment and TribeOne say their assessment showed it was not safe for the three-day event.

The festival, which would have seen performances by 130 local and international artists, including Nicki Minaj and J Cole, was cancelled last week after Sony Music Entertainment Africa pulled out.


Ramokgopa said organisers estimated that 100,000 people would attend, but only about 3,000 tickets were sold by the third month.

He said the organisers themselves approved the venue.

“We received a presentation from the organisers themselves, not from our team, which confirmed that they were satisfied and also to share with us how far they were with regard to the sales of the tickets.”

An estimated R65 million has been spent for the cancelled event, but Ramokgopa said the council was still planning to stage the event soon.

“The case with regard to a concert of this magnitude in this area remains pending. We are proceeding with it.”


Source: Eye Witness News

Top Five Tourist Attractions in Bloemfontein

The City of Roses, as Bloemfontein is commonly known, not only makes it the perfect stop over but the ideal holiday destination too. These are the six most popular tourist attractions in Bloemfontein.

1. Cheetah Experience
One of the most popular tourist attractions, The Cheetah Experience is a definite must visit for big cat lovers. The centre’s main focus is the conservation and breeding of the cheetah however it also serves as a sanctuary for other wild cat species such as lions, tigers, leopards, servals and caracals. Not only will you learn about the big cats but you’ll also be able to physically interact with certain animals at the centre.

2. Oliewenhuis Art Museum
The Oliewenhuis Art Museum, one of the youngest art museums in South Africa, can be found in one of Bloemfontein’s most scenic gardens. The 1941 Neo-Dutch style mansion was used by King George as his residence in 1947 before being converted into an art museum in 1985. Perhaps one of the most recognized tourist attractions, it houses a permanent collection of South African art pieces and regularly hosts temporary exhibitions.

3. Anglo Boer War Museum
Bloemfontein’s Anglo Boer War Museum is one of the city’s best run tourist attractions. The museum boasts numerous artefacts from the famous South African war and a recreation of scenes from local landscapes. Visitors will be happy to find a knowledgeable and passionate narrator ready to give an informative tour as well as answer their questions.

4. National Museum
Museums always make for great tourist attractions and as expected the National Museum does not disappoint with their fascinating exhibitions, fossils and reminders of an olden day Bloemfontein. Established in 1877, the National Museum can best be described as a natural, cultural and art history museum and is home to some of the country’s most extensive collections of fossils and archaeological artefacts including the Florisbad skull.

5. Free State National Botanical Garden
This beautiful and colourful landscaped garden on Bloemfontein’s outskirts allows tourists to experience nature. Nature walks allow tourists to engage with the guides while moonlight walks provide a different fauna and flora experience. This tourist attraction is a 70 hectare garden with 400 species of plants, 144 species of bird, 54 species of reptile, and about 32 species of mammal.