Shackleton Group September Newsletter
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Syria escalates with between 1000-3000 foreign fighters thought to be contributing to the ISIS cause. Per capita Belgium has the dubious distinction of contributing the most Western fighters to ISIS. Fighting in Ukraine escalates as Russia engages the Ukrainian army in spite of Kremlin denials. Sanctions against Russia are stepped up as Robert Mugabe, a Putin chum, chimes in that the sanctions against Russia are “illegal”. He would know what is legal and what is illegal.

Zimbabwe, that bastion of human rights, lauds the Justice Law and Order Sector of Uganda, another human rights bastion, as Africa’s best. In other news from Harare, Robert Mugabe says South Africa is failing to lead the development of other countries in the African Union “because South Africa’s economy is in the hands of whites.” Mugabe’s personal fiefdom, Zimbabwe, has just had to pay China $180 million in unbudgeted expenditure to service outstanding loans, driving the nation further into debt. Russia has commissioned a platinum mine worth R3 billion in Zimbabwe. To put into perspective just how bad the economic situation in Zimbabwe is, 60% of businesses in Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city and the country’s industrial hub, have been placed under judicial management. Way to go Bob; keep leading from the front.

To the surprise of many lawyers, Oscar Pistorius is acquitted of murdering Reeva Steenkamp. He got done for culpable homicide and unlawfully discharging a firearm in a restaurant but the prospects of jail time are remote.

Gerrie Nel is expected to take the murder acquittal on appeal. Watch this space.

Extradited Briton Shrien Dewani has been found fit to stand trial on a charge of orchestrating his wife’s murder whilst they were in Cape Town on honeymoon. His demeanour during his last court appearance suggests that he is confident that he too, will get off.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, already found wanting at the Farlam Commission, has, together with other top police brass, been scathingly criticised and accused of pursuing an agenda to nail KZN Hawks head Johan Booysen. In the words of Nazeer Cassim SC who chaired the internal police misconduct hearing which concluded last week, “The objective facts demonstrate an agenda to get rid of Booysen because he was perceived as a determined, professional , competent and tenacious policeman who would arduously bring the wrongdoers to book”.  Booysen who clearly posed an ongoing threat to crooked politicians, businessmen and high ranking police officials, was entirely exonerated of any wrongdoing.

The EFF caused mayhem in Parliament, refusing to leave, after being ordered to do so by the Speaker, until President Jacob Zuma had answered their questions regarding when he intended to pay back money spent at Nkandla.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, when reporting on the shenanigans at Nkandla, stated that Zuma had been unjustly enriched. Zuma meantime has rejected her findings and says that his Police Minister must decide whether he has to pay back the money spent on improvements to his private residence. Tension between the Madonsela and Zuma increases after the leaking (by Zuma’s camp) of a letter Madonsela wrote to Zuma asking when he intended taking the remedial steps outlined in her report on the scandal. It seems that court is the next step.

Whilst it is fascinating to watch Zuma’s former pet pit-bull Malema bite the hand that used to feed him, our Parliament has degenerated into a circus with a partisan Speaker cynically putting party before country. As journo Ranjeni Munusamy puts it, “South Africa has a President who shows disdain for parliamentary accountability, a Speaker who abuses her powers, Members of Parliament who have no respect for that hallowed institution, and a state which deploys heavily armed riot police to fight political battles.” Read more here and Richard Poplak’s must-read take on the “Age of Rage”.
And while Malema may have led the cries to “pay back the money” in Parliament, the EFF’s Commander in Chief remains in the spotlight as questions arise over who is bankrolling his payments to SARS to enable him to settle his R16m tax bill and continue living the opulent lifestyle he became accustomed to as ANCYL President.  An alleged cigarette smuggler with links to convicted mobster Glenn Agliotti is said to be helping the former ANCYL enfant terrible.

It’s been a bad month for banking.  The Reserve Bank and a consortium of the big four banks were forced to bail out African Bank.  Moodys downgraded Capitec by two notches and cut the ratings of the big four banks (Standard Bank, Absa, FNB and Nedbank) by one notch to Baa1 spooking JSE investors.

Tshediso Matona is announced as Eskom’s new CEO. With the maintenance of the parastatal’s systems far behind where it should be; the prospect of a national blackout a very real threat and a R220 billion funding shortfall to make up, he will have his work more than cut out for him.

In other parastatal news, it appears that chairperson of the SABC board Ellen Tshabalala lied about her tertiary qualifications. Tshabalala who has been instrumental in protecting Hlaudi Motsoeneng (who lied about his matric), claimed to have a B.Com from the University of South Africa as well as a post-graduate degree in labour relations. According to the university, she doesn’t. Motsoeneng, just by the way, earns more than the President of South Africa.
The short-lived political career of Dr Mamphela Ramphele is over, but it appears her debts live on with multiple creditors seeking outstanding payments from Agang taking both the party and its former leader to court. The party believes Ramphele is liable; a claim she refutes.

The Institute for Accountability in SA urges the ANC to recall President Jacob Zuma, with its director Paul Hoffman listing the scandals he has been involved in and saying, "All these things are accumulating to the point at which his personal credibility is so tainted that the ANC, if it is patriotic and loves this country, ought to be thinking about replacing Zuma."

As for Zuma’s friends, the Gupta family, it appears they have added another head of state to their list of influential “friends” with the beleaguered Prime Minister of Lesotho, Thomas Thabane defending his decision to issue them with diplomatic passports. Shortly after that, Thabane fled the country as his military staged a half-hearted coup.

The ANC government again denies the Dalai Lama a visa to visit South Africa. The SACP’s Blade Nzimande makes ridiculous statements on the issue, while 14 Nobel laureates have written to President Zuma asking him to grant the visa. With bilateral trade between China and South Africa valued at in excess of $21 billion in 2012, it is unlikely that the Dalai Lama will set foot on our shores.
74 400 – the estimated number of women predicted to be raped in South Africa in August.

3.5 working days – how long you as an average South African commuter spends in traffic every year. Johannesburg is the worst SA city for traffic, but at least it’s not Moscow.

R10 billion – the value of the armoured vehicle Denel military contract Operation Hoefyster which Duduzane Zuma and Rajesh “Tony” Gupta stand to cash in on.

232 carats – the size of white diamond found at the Cullinan mine east of Pretoria.

R9.2 billion – what phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project will cost the South African government. Lesotho’s water is essential for South Africa and specifically Gauteng’s needs, which is why we are so involved in the recent coup/non-coup in our landlocked neighbour. NUM, ever practical, believe South Africa should annex Lesotho .

7 million – the decline in the Russian population between 1992 and 2009, nearly 5 percent—a rate of loss unheard of in Europe since World War II. Why, for a country that is not technically at war (cough, cough Ukraine) are Russians dying so young?

89% - the percentage of South African employees who admit to wasting time at work. The other 11% are lying.

“…good news facts present government with a dilemma: to justify racist policies, it must understate success; to retain popularity, it must exaggerate it.” Leon Louw, executive director of the Free Market Foundation on why good news presents a dilemma to the ANC.

“There’s no excuse for secrecy in these matters, not only because it involves the use of public funds for private comfort, but also because it shines a light on the distance between the lives of those who are elected to lead and the ordinary citizens they serve.” Murray Hunter of the Right2Know campaign on how amendments to the ministerial handbook have not included the public. To find out just how much SA’s cabinet really costs us, click here.

“He sat there and eyed the inevitable results of his seed with an expression that approached distaste, knowing that somewhere in the dimness of the past he should have taken a harsher hand or, alternatively, dipped their pacifiers in something sweet and soothing.” Richard Poplak on Zuma watching Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu go at him in parliament.

“It is a curious fact that the ANC has, so often in the past, evoked mass action to make its point, whether by its marching to The Goodman Gallery to protest,  “The Spear” or throwing faeces on the steps of the Western Cape legislature. It only cares about democratic good manners when it suits the party. Given a dose of its own medicine and it cries blue murder. But let’s be honest: it is a very particular treatment, and only the EFF is able to deliver it. Julius Malema is the real leader of the opposition in parliament. Maimane has a problem: he lacks the necessary gravitas. He is, as they say, “a nice guy”. And we all know where they finish.” Gareth van Onselen on Julius Malema, the real leader of the opposition.

“There are those in the ANC who sincerely believe that they somehow own our chapter nine institutions. Madonsela was initially chosen in part because of her sterling record in the ANC itself. She turned out to quite correctly value the rule of law over party loyalty. It was an inconvenient shock to the party. Now the next public protector who will take over in 2016 may well be another Mushwana, and this golden period of real accountability could end.” Verashni Pillay on who will take over from Thuli Madonsela.

“For a wandering group of hunted men like Al Qaeda to declare a caliphate would have been Pythonesque in its deluded grandeur, as if a few dozen Neo-Nazis or Italian fascists declared themselves the Holy Roman Empire or dressed up like Augustus Caesar.” Graeme Wood of the New Republic on how unusual the Islamic State’s declaration of Abu Bakr Al Baghadadi as Caliph is.

“One of the smartest investors in the world is considered to be Warren Buffett. His single biggest investment is in the railroad industry, which I think is a bet against technological progress, both in transportation and energy. Most of what gets transported on railroads is coal, and Buffett is essentially betting that after the 21st century, we’ll look more like the 19th rather than the 20th century. We’ll go back to rail, and back to coal; we’re going to run out of oil, and clean-tech is going to fail.” Venture Capitalist Peter Thiel.

"The essence of constitutional freedom is to allow more liberty than the good citizen will take"
— Justice Jackson

"Freud: If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother"
— Robin Williams

“Why we’re withdrawing from the Arms Procurement Commission,” by Andrew Feinstein, Paul Holden and Hennie van Vuuren.

The Hedge Fund and The Despot – how a Wall Street consortium propped up Mugabe’s regime despite sanctions.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllan tysiliogogogoch – the name of a Welsh town. Seriously. Here’s how you pronounce it.

Andy Mitchell - Crooked Path Pinot Noir
Greyton in the Overberg is not traditional wine country, but that hasn’t stopped garagiste winemaker Olivia Mitchell from sourcing the best grapes in the Western Cape for her small batch releases. Mitchell, formerly the head chef of Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek left the kitchen years ago to make her excellent Shiraz and Chenin Blanc but we’re especially excited about her Pinot Noir (there’s also a bubbly in the offing). Featuring pepper and cherry tones, it’s a versatile wine that goes just as well with heavier meals as it does with a lighter option like a tuna steak. Perfect for summer. Buy it here.

Fancy yourself as a twitcher? Before the silly season rolls around, download BirdLasser, an exceptionally smart South African-developed bird app. Using geo-locating, BirdLasser allows you the user to contribute to the conservation effort by sharing exactly where you found the birds you saw. So while improving on your life list, you make a difference to the environment. BirdLasser isn’t trying to compete with apps from traditional birding behemoths like Sasol eBirds or Roberts, but rather aims to work in conjunction with them to improve the birding experience and make a difference to conservation projects like the Ground Hornbill project. Free on iTunes.
Shackleton Risk Management (Proprietary) Limited (SRM) is an authorised Financial Services Provider (FSP Number 33621) with representatives based throughout the country. We offer a number of niche market commercial insurance products to liquidators, attorneys and business rescue practitioners. These include Professional Indemnity, Fidelity Guarantee, Misappropriation of Trust Fund insurance as well as bonds of security to Liquidators, Curators and Executors. Each year we broker billions of Rand’s worth of liquidation court bonds throughout South Africa, and are seeing significant growth in the other legal insurance realms.
Shackleton Credit Management (Proprietary) Limited (SCM), formerly known as Lynn & Main Holdings (Proprietary) Limited, is a private company specialising in the acquisition of commercial non-performing debt portfolios. Having to date acquired debts in excess of R3 billion from leading South African financial institutions, the company is widely regarded as the leader in the South African commercial debt acquisition market.
Shackleton Life is an authorised Financial Services Provider, which offers the Shackleton Life Bond Protection Insurance plan. This plan pays the mortgage bond in the event of Death, Dread Disease or Permanent Disability, and pays the monthly bond instalments in the event of illness, injury, temporary disability and Retrenchment ensuring your most important asset is protected for Life.
Shackleton Life Bond Protection Insurance plan is underwritten by Old Mutual Alternative Risk Transfer, a member of the Old Mutual Group.
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