Justice Malala, Ann Crotty and Peter Bruce
Justice Malala, Ann Crotty and Peter Bruce

1. JUSTICE MALALA: We are becoming world leaders in stupidity

In addition to his popular column on political affairs, Justice Malala writes a weekly restaurant review for the Financial Mail. But before he gets to the food, Justice can't resist making a political point. Justice writes:

I need help with this one. So the president of the good republic SA appointed an intelligence minister who is being investigated for fraud and all sorts of other mayhem by the Hawks? And the president wasn’t aware of this? Is this serious?

We all know that our intelligence services are now nothing more than a private security company for President Jacob Zuma and the Guptas. When author Jacques Pauw said in his book The President’s Keepers that Zuma was a tax dodger and corrupt, the secret service did not rush to investigate the president. They don’t go after people who break the law, you see. They quickly decided to shoot the messenger, Pauw, instead.

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2. The mystery of the R10bn JSE Distell trade

In Business Day, Ann Crotty exposed a mysterious "R10bn trade in Distell shares on October 6", which the company did not explain to minority shareholders. This from Ann's story:

The shares were traded at R170 each, representing a hefty premium on the R130 at which the share price was trading on the day. Shareholders had assumed the 58.7-million shares that went through the market on October 6 were the sale by Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) of its 26.4% Distell stake to the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

But this assumption was at odds with Distell’s annual report, which stated that as at end-June 2017, the PIC held 61.6-million Distell shares, equivalent to 27.6% of the company. The company’s share register confirms that the PIC already held the 58.7-million shares at the end of April.

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3. Journalism returns to digging and diving

Veteran editor Peter Bruce writes about the place of investigative journalism, which has been placed in the spotlight by Jacques Pauw's book The President's Keepers. Peter writes:

The President’s Keepers is by now so big, it is beyond any niggle. That status is not available to young journalists starting out on the path Pauw, Du Preez and Serfontein created for them.

But there is another side to every story. Zuma should produce his tax returns for the first five years of his presidency, just like Barack Obama eventually had to produce his birth certificate to put Donald Trump’s story about his citizenship to rest.

And if State Security Agency boss Arthur Fraser has a problem with Pauw’s book, he should sue him, not try to shut him down.

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4. The man who wriggled out of any accountability at KPMG

Another great read by Ann Crotty was published in the Financial Mail. Ann wrote about how Yunus Suleman, a former chairman of KPMG, has escaped any blame for the company's role in the Gupta scandal. From her article:

Yunus Suleman didn’t even receive a passing mention in the headline-grabbing mea culpa released by KPMG in late September. That confession followed a supposedly comprehensive investigation into allegations of irregularities and misconduct and identified eight partners who were forced to resign, including chairman of the board Ahmed Jaffer.

Jaffer had taken up the chairman’s position only in 2015. CEO Trevor Hoole, who had taken over from Moses Kgosana as CEO in May 2015, was also one of the departees.

That Suleman got no mention was remarkable, though perhaps not entirely surprising. Suleman, who was the audit firm’s front man for years, was appointed chairman of KPMG in 2007 and remained in that position until March 2015. He joined the firm as a partner in 2002 at around the same time the Guptas became KPMG clients.

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5. PETER BRUCE: Hire a Kiwi and save the Springboks

Peter Bruce's other passion is the state of South African rugby. In this column he argues that it is time for a change of management at the Springboks. Peter, after recalling a classic encounter between the Springboks and the Lions in 1974, writes:

Watching Ireland demolish the Springboks in Dublin on Saturday night 43 years later was a very different experience. I had no belief we would win. We had been lulled into a false sense of security about our rugby by a near win against New Zealand in Cape Town a few weeks ago but that was the result mainly of an inspired performance from a few forwards and the fact that the All Blacks were missing a string of stars.

The decline of the standard of our rugby matters. It matters because it is a sport we were genuinely world leaders in. It meant kids wanted to play the game, and students. There’s a huge infrastructure below the Boks, from schools, through communities, through universities and clubs and franchises, that supports rugby. There are rich sponsors for the teams and when they play well the Springboks, like no other team across South African sport, make a measurable impact on the country.

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