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Insight Africa Briefs



  • Cape Messenger Best Wishes

    18 Nov 2015

    Publisher’s Note

    Today is something of a red-letter day for the Western Cape business community as we officially launch Cape Messenger, our online newspaper committed to promoting business in this – as Christo Wiese puts it – beautiful part of the world which we are fortunate enough to call home. 

    Cape Messenger has been possible because of the encouragement and support – in terms of ideas, time and money - of several very creative and generous people. They know who they are and we thank them. 

    We have a first-rate editor in Donald Pressly and excellent supporting staff in Debbie and Stacey. We also know we that we won't be short of contributors. So it is over to our readers whom we expect to be imaginative, lively and challenging.

    Denis Worrall and Ebbe Dommisse 

    Directors – Cape Messenger
    URL: www.capemessenger.co.za

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  • Cape Messenger launches tomorrow

    18 Nov 2015

    Dear Insight Reader,

    For the reasons editor Donald Pressly has mentioned we have postponed our official launch to tomorrow (Tuesday) and will then publish the many messages of goodwill that we have received. But  from among presidents, famous writers , top academics ,prime  ministers and ministers, and leading business people  we feel this one from  Prof Irina Filatova, our Russian commentator, is the most charming and delightful: 

    “Business is a profession of the young these days. Like poetry. And the young love funky and trendy things. I would like Cape Messenger to be a cool, funky and trendy publication. Give us all a smile!” 

    Irina, with your participation we are sure we'll achieve what you hope for. Denis Worrall

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  • Politicians should take a pay cut to finance higher education shortfall

    18 Nov 2015

    CONTENTS

    1. Cape Messenger Editorial – Donwald Pressly
    2. Student Protest – Denis Worrall
    3. Government’s Failure to Comply With The Constitution – Sheila Camerer
    4. Investment Opportunities
    5. European/South African Investment Workshop , Stellenbosch - 2 & 3 February 2016

    Editorial Note

    POLITICIANS SHOULD TAKE A PAY CUT TO FINANCE HIGHER EDUCATION SHORTFALL

    Donwald Pressly, Cape Messenger Editor

    Every business community needs an independent and robust media to promote its interests locally, nationally and internationally; and in response to increasing unhappiness with the English-language media in the Western Cape, several serious business people got together and launched Cape Messenger, an online newspaper dedicated to serving business interests in the Western Cape. Its website is still under construction but is "live”. Please visit it at www.capemessenger.co.za and give us your impressions.

    The mini-budget – or more correctly the medium term budget policy statement and fiscal adjustments – was pretty much drowned out by the student protests. What with the “storming” of parliament by the students and the police using tear-gas and rubber bullets against them, it looked like it could have turned into another Marikana at the gates of power. Inside the Economic Freedom Fighter MPs – there are 25 of them – were doing their utmost to delay the delivery of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s speech. It finally started an hour late and only after they were evicted, again. Fortunately Parliament on 21 October didn’t turn into a Marikana although some students were left battered and bruised.

    When Nene finally delivered his speech, it was rather like an after-thought. It frankly lacked the gravitas of previous policy statements. The whole nation it seemed realised that the real news-making wasn’t happening within parliament, but outside the national assembly’s walls. Ironically, journalists in the parliamentary press gallery remained locked up for an extra hour as they are required to wait until Nene started delivering his speech. (The lock-up is a regular procedure where journalists are provided the embargoed budget documents early in the morning). So the bulk of the regular media didn’t get to see the astonishing scenes in the street that runs through the parliamentary precinct.

    It was a lacklustre policy statement. Lots of money was borrowed from the contingency reserve to pay the R64 billion-odd extra needed over the next three years to pay public servants’ salaries. Economists.co.za director Mike Schussler points out that the average public servant earns over R240 000 a year, while Joe Average in the private sector earns under R200 000 a year. All the political commotion outside parliament leading to the dramas at the Union Building on Friday as the students demonstrated against fee hikes – and won the important concession for 0% hikes at universities next year - caught the public’s attention instead.  But the public servant bailout was an important fiscal seed of destruction sown. Together with municipal officials – who will be getting an extra R16 billion or so – South Africa is heading down a fiscal path in the wrong direction.

    Once the reserves run out and government starts borrowing money to pay for the millions of public servants, then South Africa is on a decidedly slippery slope.  Public servants should not be winning more than 7 percent increases (when inflation is somewhere near 5%).  Instead, public servants – and, indeed, politicians and academics - should all be getting 0% increases next year. That is only fair isn’t it? One hates to suggest it, but overpaid politicians – an ordinary MP already earns about R1 million a year - should actually take a salary cut.

    Donwald Pressly,
    Editor,
    Email: donwald.pressly@gmail.com

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