‘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

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

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.


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

The Legal Advisor – An Invaluable Occupation

The legal advisor is a person who advises another, usually in an official capacity, about various matters of law.

A more cynical approach would be that of American actor Will Rogers who said: ”Make crime pay. Become a lawyer.”

A legal advisor can be employed by large or smaller companies, other organisations or by the government to provide legal services, advice and guidance to the organisation and its employees. In other words legal advisors are in-house lawyers, as compared to advocates and attorneys, who provide their services to the public as a whole rather than to a specific employer. They seldom operate in court rooms.

Most legal advisors are former attorneys or advocates who have chosen to work in a corporate environment. Therefore, the requirements and training for a legal advisor are roughly the same as for attorneys and advocates.

A legal advisor should have lots of ambition, be totally dedicated and maintain a disciplined approach. On top of this he or she however needs various special characteristics and skills of which honesty, decisiveness and integrity are very highly regarded in the profession. Other crucial characteristics include always being objective in a matter, being able to distinguish facts from irrelevant detail and having the ability to solve problems, big and small. A legal advisor also needs outstanding communication skills, discretion, good judgment, diplomacy and tact, to name but a few. Working under pressure at times comes with the territory.

Job opportunities are endless for the legal advisor. They can work for companies or organisations; central, provincial or local government; at law schools; at legal aid societies; be self-employed or work in private practice.

Currently a legal advisor in South Africa with one to three years experience can expect to earn between R450.000 and R650.000 per annum whilst a qualified lawyer with over 10 years experience would earn around R1.3 million. These figures are however merely rough estimates, and are possibly on the conservative side.

The Financial Advisor - Do’s and Don’ts

I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.” These words of wisdom by Warren Buffett are often taken to heart by the financial advisor. To some it has become their mantra.

financial advisor faces difficult decisions every day. In their quest to render the best possible financial services to clients, they have to face up to tough choices.

Some advisors believe that one of the biggest challenges they face today is saving investors and clients from themselves. The pressure that came with the recession of 2008 left many in a difficult position. Extreme risk-aversion and following fads are just a few of the side-effects. Side-effects that the financial advisor must be alert to.

The vigilant financial advisor knows that steering habits and educating clients can make a little go a long way. Calling clients and balancing portfolios are necessary steps to defeating larger challenges that the financial adviser is up against.

Drew Horter believes that “as hard as it is to attract new clients, it may be even harder to keep them”. According to a 2012 survey by Paladin Registry and ByAllAccounts, more than 60% of affluent investors consider firing their financial advisor within one year. Horter says it is for this reason important for the financial advisor to consistently deliver high-touch client service. He recommends a “28 touches” system, through which the financial advisor interacts with clients for a minimum of 28 “touches” annually. This can be achieved through a combination of one-on-one meetings, newsletters, birthday cards, client appreciation events, phone calls and other means. Horter believes that “by being proactive and making frequent contact, the financial advisor can solidify close, long-term relationships with clients”.

Some believe the biggest challenge the financial advisor face today is efficiency. Mark Tibergien, CEO of Pershing Advisor Services believes that “the financial advisor is not struggling with finding new clients, but they’re struggling with how to do their business smarter. They continue to be pretty inefficient”.

There is also the dilemma of investors using multiple advisors. Many feel that it is unwise to put all one’s eggs in one basket.

Experts however say it is often not smart to diversify amongst financial advisors. One reason offered is that there is a potential of overlapping. Investment overlap is having two or more investments that you think are diversified, only to find out that a significant portion of each has the same asset classes.

Another reason why it might not be a good idea to diversify is that you’ll probably have increased risk. If both advisors buy the same thing, you may have too much of one particular asset class.

And then finally it’s really time-consuming to entertain the ideas of more than one financial advisor. You may waste tons of time. You’ll have to evaluate two sets of phone calls with investment ideas and two sets of meetings to review your investments.

Most specialists will therefore advise you to choose one financial advisor.

And you’ll know you’ve hit the jackpot when your financial advisor also shows a little genuine humanity. Or in the words of Maya Angelou: “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

South Africa’s Most Expensive Houses for Sale

Antique lamps, crystal chandeliers, fully furnished indoor cinemas and meticulous landscapes are just some of the features found in South Africa’s most expensive houses for sale. And while these homes make no apologies for their opulence, private cinemas, heated swimming pools and massage rooms are luxuries most of us simply cannot afford. That however, does not mean we can’t take a peep into the luxurious homes resided in by the country’s elite.

These are five of South Africa’s most expensive houses for sale according to Property24.

1. R360 million: 8 Bedroom House in Camps Bay

Camps Bay House

The Enigma Mansion, located between Clifton and Camps Bay, resides on Cape Town’s most expensive land. The over 7000 square meter property offers unobstructed views of the Atlantic Seaboard as well as a 3D cinema, Versace pool, teahouse, Balinese massage temple and underground parking. Additionally, The Enigma Mansion boats a state-of-the-art media room, dance studio, sauna, wine cellar, gym and of course breakfast, lunch and dinner menus served by acclaimed Chef Richard Chamberlain. This palatial property is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s most expensive houses for sale.

2. R120 million: 9 Bedroom House in Upper Constantia

Upper Constantia 1

Previously owned by Earl Spencer and visited by the late Princess Diana, it’s not hard to see why this 2 acre makes the list of South Africa’s most expensive houses for sale. The residence includes en-suite dressing rooms in each of the main bedrooms, a wine cellar, library, tennis court and two vineyards.

3. R110 million: 5 Bedroom House in Fresnaye


This five bedroom house boasts rare white Carrara marble floors, an elegant living room area housing three fireplaces, a custom bar, gourmet kitchen and spectacular views of the ocean towards Robben Island. Additional features include lift access, a cinema, braai area, swimming pool and fully equipped gym. Situated at the end of an exclusive cul de sac, this property is third on the list of South Africa’s most expensive houses for sale

4. R78 million: 4 Bedroom House in Uitzicht


Designed by architect, John Halford, this property boasts a pool room, wine cellar, private lounges, heated indoor-outdoor swimming pool and gym. At approximately 8.84 hectares this Uitzicht residence commands a glorious view over the lagoon and provides private access to the beach.

5. R75 million: 10 Bedroom House in Upper Constantia

Upper Constantia 2

Cielo nel Capo’s architecture is reminiscent of a Tuscan Villa. Considered to be one of the top properties in Africa, Cielo nel Capo has featured in Hollywood, European and Bollywood films in addition to numerous advertising campaigns.

This villa which is set over five levels, accessible by two elevators, boasts a state of the art cinema, heated indoor swimming pool, tennis court, spa and steam room. Cielo nel Capo has a home automation system which controls lights, pool pumps, irrigation, security gates and is integrated with a comprehensive alarm system. Cielo nel Capo is number five on the list of South Africa’s most expensive houses for sale.

Shake-up at DOC - cabinet

Former cabinet spokesman Phumla Williams on Sunday declined to comment on a report that she had been demoted and replaced by a junior employee at the communications department.

“All I will say is I am no longer the cabinet spokesperson and the government communications spokesperson,” she said. “I’m not commenting on the report.”

Williams, however, would still be working in the department.

City Press reported that communications minister Faith Muthambi had sent Williams — who had been acting Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) head since Jimmy Manyi left two years ago — an e-mail informing her she was relieving her of those duties.

Unnamed sources in GCIS reportedly told the paper that staff were shocked when Muthambi appointed Donald Liphoko, a chief director in the department, as acting director-general, in effect making him Williams’s boss.

“We couldn’t believe that she chose Donald. The man can hardly cope with his duties as it is and now she is making him acting DG,” a senior manager in the department told the paper.

GCIS ceased to exist at the beginning of this month after its functions were absorbed into the communications department.

Muthambi reportedly defended her decision regarding Williams.

Ayanda Holo, head of stakeholder relations in the department, said Williams would be sent to help minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe with the interministerial committee tasked with repositioning Brand South Africa, which now falls under the department.

Source: TechCentral

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OFM journalist scoops prestigious national award

OFM senior journalist, Christal-Lize Muller, has won the prestigious national Vodacom Journalist of the Year award for her radio feature on the trials of the Korkie family. The former teacher from Bloemfontein, Pierre Korkie, was taken hostage 17 months ago in Yemen and his family has since been waiting for his release.
Christal-Lize Muller - OFM Radio
Christal-Lize Muller

Christal-Lize conducted an exclusive interview with Pierre’s wife Yolandé, making the best use of her journalistic skills. The interview has not only netted her one of the most sought-after journalistic awards in the country, but also a well-deserved R10,000 prize.

“It’s a wonderful feeling! It’s only hard work that is now being rewarded; support from colleagues, endurance and working long evenings talking to sources. I should also mention Imtiaz Sooliman from Gift of the Givers, who keeps us up to date with Pierre Korkie’s situation. This is a huge honour and I am thrilled to bring back the award to Bloemfontein and to OFM in particular,” says Christal-Lize.

Christal-Lize started her career as a journalist at the Potch Herald community newspaper almost a decade ago. From Potchefstroom she went to Mpumlanga where she worked as a television and radio journalist for the SABC, before trading her journalistic career for a corporate one. After working as communication officer for Anglo Platinum and PRO for an auction company in Cape Town, she returned to Bloemfontein to pursue her first love, journalism. After two years at Volksblad, she joined OFM as senior journalist.

Says General Manager Nick Efstathiou: “We are all extremely proud of Christal-Lize. Her hard work and dedication has yielded rewards and we share her joy. We look forward to many more high quality news stories from this enthusiastic and driven journalist.”

The Vodacom Journalist of the Year award seeks to acknowledge journalists who have shown exceptional commitment to reporting excellence across media platforms.