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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

The looting of VBS Mutual Bank, Mondi reports 30% profit increase, Vunani results, Sanlam acquires Saham shares, manufacturing production data.
EFF deputy president, Floyd Shivambu and his brother Brian Shivambu named in the VBS Mutual Bank report. Picture: Moneyweb

Here’s what caught our attention on Thursday:

1. VBS Mutual Bank ‘heist’ 

The failure of VBS Mutual Bank was penned down in a report called ‘The Great Bank Heist’, and found that at least 53 people and companies benefitted from the plundering of R1.9 billion. Some notable names mentioned in the report include VBS Bank’s former CEO, Andile Ramavhunga, deputy president of the EFF Floyd Shivambu and his brother Brian Shivambu, among others. They are said to have benefited R16 million from the bank’s failure.

Read: Probe finds R1.9bn looted from VBS Mutual Bank 

2. Mondi issues profit rise of 30%

Paper packaging company, Mondi is reporting a 30% increase in underlying core profit, with ebitda increasing to 466 million euros for the third quarter ended September 30 2018, from 359 million euros reported in the previous comparable period. The company says its performance was benefitted the higher average selling prices across Fibre Packaging and Uncoated Fine Paper, ‘a very strong operational performance, good cost containment and contributions from recent acquisitions’.

3. Vunani results

Fund Management company Vunani Capital is reporting an increase in basic earnings per share to 15.7 cents for the six months ended August 31 2018, compared with the 8.5 cents delivered in 2017. The company’s revenue from continuing operations is at R233.7 million, compared to R160.1 million in 2017. An ordinary dividend of 6.2 cents per share was paid to shareholders on July 30, 2018.

4. Sanlam seals deal with Saham

Regulators gave Sanlam the green light in going ahead with its $1.1 billion purchase of the remaining shares in Morocco’s Saham Finances. According to Bloomberg, this gives Sanlam footing in 33 markets across North Africa, the Middle East, southern, East and West Africa. The acquisition brings Sanlam’s total investment in the company to almost $1.7 billion since February 2016.

5. Manufacturing production data

South Africa‘s manufacturing output rose by 1.3% year-on-year in August, following a revised 2.8% expansion in July, the statistics agency said on Thursday.

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Wanna quick way of telling if a low-paid politician is crooked..? Google their images and look at their wrist watches…

Zweli Mkhize: (rose gold) Patek Phillipe
Floyd Shivambu: Breitling

It’s that watch shop in the Michaelangelo Towers. It’s just too tempting. Let’s go watch watching!

Just protests should not be hypocritical: Examples of unconscious biases when protesting
To all those seeking a more just world and an end to discrimination of whatever shape or form, I highlight in this brief article how some protesters (in this case the USA and South Africa), who have just causes, are either blind to biases or their own racism when protesting or suffer some form of unconscious bias when doing so. This article points out that if ‘Black Lives Matter’ then they need to matter wherever they are in the world, not just the USA, and some logos may not be deemed as being racist in the countries where they are used but are racist towards others. In this case a logo for a football club in South Africa fits in as racist towards Native Americans. There needs to be a consistency, failing which, the cause has no legitimacy.
Many companies and sports clubs and certain advertising campaigns have been accused of having racist slants or brands for years. They include corporate names, product names, mascots, and logos. This has played out the last few years in the USA, where brands such as the Washington Redskins, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Indians and Chicago Blackhawks are among several American sports teams that still use Native American slurs or imagery that have long been described as racist. All the teams have been criticized, or even sued, by Native American groups asking that the names and traditions be changed. Many of these clubs have changed their names or retired their logos or mascots.

In South Africa recently there has been an outcry over an advert used to promote Unilever’s shampoo brand called TREsemmé and even caused a political party called the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) to stage a protest at some branches of Clicks, a South African retail chain selling household consumable products and pharmacy products. Following a large public outcry over the ‘racist’ advert which referred to black women’s hair as “dry, damaged and frizzy” while labelling white hair as “normal”, big retailers in South Africa such as Clicks, Pick n’ Pay and Woolworths pulled the product. Ironically, the in-house executive responsible for the derivation of the advert was herself black. One of the other ironies, following the aftermath of the advert and Unilever’s retractions, was an overreach of backlash and interviews about the insensitive advert.
A South African news channel even conducted a half-hour interview with black commentators, such as Mike Nkuna, a prominent black South African businessman who has interests in retail shopping centers and a 35% equity stake in the Kaiser Chiefs Football Club, one of South Africa’s most prominent football clubs.
Sometimes the hypocrisy and the unconscious biases could not be stark enough. To a black South African, there is no thought given to how the Kaiser Chiefs logo is racist and offensive to Native American Indians. Also, there is little to no thought given by black Americans to whether black African lives matter in Africa too. There is extraordinarily little news coverage regarding the atrocities committed in Africa against black people, by black leaders or regimes – directly or indirectly. Also, there is little thought or consciousness by Americans in general to how their own country, the USA, prop’s up unscrupulous black leaders who commit evil deeds against their people in Africa. So why is it that these acts are only racist and offensive in the USA?
President Barack Obama asked the Redskins team more than once to change the name and said in 2015 that it was time for sports teams to “break stereotypes” and praised Adidas for working with schools to rebrand Native American mascots and logos.
Following the chorus for changes on the heels of the Black Lives Matter movement which put a huge spotlight on racial bias, and following many top brands’ will to change racial stereotyping it is time to stop the hypocrisy of thinking that only black American lives matter and that brands, such as Kaiser Chiefs in South Africa, are not a form of racial bias and injustice too. It is time to be consistent in calling out offensive logos and who’s lives matter, no matter what continent or in which country they may originate.
International brands, like Nike and Toyota are some of the sponsors of Kaiser Chiefs. What are they doing to redress this?
Therefore, if there is to a be a consistency on the themes of Black Lives Matter or doing away with racial logos, such as the Chicago Blackhawks or Kaiser Chiefs then black Americans need to speak out against the unnecessary killing of blacks throughout Africa and owners of clubs, like Kaiser Chiefs need to change their title and logos too, failing which the hypocrisy will just remain.

End of comments.

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