Five essential reads that you can't afford to miss
From Justice Malala to Tim Cohen, BusinessLIVE offers you the best writing for just R4 a day
First up is Justice Malala's unmissable Monday morning column. Today he reflects on the meaning of the recent ANC policy conference under the headline The hollowed-out ANC is heading for implosion. His conclusion is that the ruling party has failed to confront any of the country's serious policy issues and is heading for implosion.
Many of the people who were at the ANC’s national policy conference last week will tell you what a disaster it was. The party — faced with a 27.7% unemployment rate, a junk credit rating, a recession, racial polarisation, increasing protests and, crucially, a corrupt and incompetent president in thrall to the Gupta family — emerged after six days of talks without a single coherent policy to revive the economy.
Neither was there a coherent programme on any other issue, except a nonsensical call for the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank. Despite this gargantuan failure, even the “good guy” in this ANC firefight, Cyril Ramaphosa, continued to delude himself.
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Also unmissable is Business Day editor Tim Cohen's Monday morning column. This week's headline reads Letters show McKinsey may be in trouble. Tim writes that the consultancy may be in trouble with overseas prosecutors over its involvement in Gupta-linked deals.
The problem doesn’t relate so much to the South African operation because SA’s prosecutors have made it clear that they don’t intend to investigate anything related to the Gupta empire. This is despite the fact that a graduate law student with one hand tied behind her back and her foot in a pot of glue could find a dozen cases of fraud and theft on an average weekend just from what the news media has reported so far.
Head of the National Prosecuting Authority Shaun Abrahams is fast winning the prize as the most gutless prosecutor in global history, but that is another story.
McKinsey’s problem relates more to more diligent prosecutors overseas who operate under laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the US and the Bribery Act in the UK. In both cases, what appears to have happened here may violate these pieces of legislation.
Business Day's columnist on financial affairs, Stuart Theobald, writes about recent calls for the Reserve Bank to be "nationalised". The Bank is different to most others in that it has private shareholders, although they play no role in setting policy.
In an article entitled Reserve Bank shareholders do not hold sway, but add a degree of transparency, Stuart writes:
Did the delegates at the ANC’s policy conference really understand what rights Bank shareholders actually have?
My suspicion is they did not, which would amount to a very poor way of forming policy.
One would hope that policy was made in the context of significant research into understanding what the status quo is and what the likely outcome of changes to policy would be.
Perhaps that is because the ANC is no longer an institution that is serious about policy. It is now an institution riven by factions, with one in particular determined to extend its power to every institution of society, consequences be damned.
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Joseph Cotterill of London's Financial Times writes how UK firm Bell Pottinger has suffered reputational damage as a result of its involvement with the Gupta family in South Africa. The headline reads: Bell Pottinger’s reputation hurt by South African scandal.
For years, the British public relations group Bell Pottinger has advised on burnishing the standing of controversial regimes from Belarus to Bahrain, but its work for South Africa’s Gupta family has mired it in scandal this week, inflicting reputational damage on the firm itself.
Lord Bell, its former chairman, has alleged that its current management was aware of the risks from the beginning of representing the business family accused of "capturing" the government of President Jacob Zuma.
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Finally, Mark Keohane writes about this weekend's remarkable 15-15 draw between the All Blacks and the British and Irish Lions which resulted in a drawn series.
In an article headlined All Blacks finished because of a drawn series? Nonsense!, Mark writes:
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was all class in victory, defeat and in a draw — and New Zealand will be stronger in their 2019 World Cup defence because of the drawn three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions.
Social media’s pitchfork mentality has focused on the brilliance of the Lions and the vulnerability of the world champion All Blacks.
I do not quite get that because there wasn’t a series winner and in the context of three Tests the All Blacks scored more points and more tries than a Lions squad promoted as being the best to have been assembled in the professional era.