Rational Perspective

Rational Perspective

After almost four decades in broadcasting, writing, and creating two major online publishers, Alec Hogg is South Africa's best known financial journalist. Financial reporter of the year at age 23 (in 1983) he was honoured by his industry 30 years later with a lifetime achievement award. In 2016 he followed numerous countrymen like Trevor Noah onto a bigger stage, moving to London to globalise his business. The Rational Perspective podcast is his regular look at people in the news featuring and aimed at other curious human beings who, like Alec, believe a day without discovery is a day wasted.

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    Meet Tshepo Mahloele - Big Capitec shareholder, ABSIP's "CEO of the Decade" now accused by Holomisa as kingpin of corrupt network

    The young democracy of South Africa is a noisy place, especially during periods of political power shifts. And after the ejection of Jacob Zuma, wild accusations are being thrown against both the guilty and innocent. Even in this context, a scathing five page letter penned on political party UDM's letterhead by its leader Bantu Holomisa is impossible to miss. Sent to president Cyril Ramaphosa and then surreptitiously distributed via the internet, Holomisa targets four black businessmen. He pegs financial services entrepreneur Tshepo Mahloele as the kingpin of this apparent "iceberg of corruption" which he claims has plundered the State pension fund. I met Mahloele this week and took along my recorder to hear his side. And got the story of a low profile financial service entrepreneur who has rode the Capitec wave from R30 to R900 and whose private equity fund has invested $1bn into African infrastructure. An unsung hero or a corrupt villain? I know where my money lies.

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    McKinsey’s South African mea culpa bombs as it claims "no corruption", critics reject apology as too little, too late

    I enjoyed a front row seat at the first public engagement by Kevin Sneader, new global managing partner of the world’s largest consulting firm, McKinsey & Company – the business in the vortex of South Africa’s State Capture scandal. Sneader, who has been in the post for exactly a week, accepted an invitation from GIBS, a leading South Africa’s business school. A scathing riposte to his 20 minute speech was delivered by the other panelist, Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa. Mohale, who is as eloquent as he is outspoken, was formerly chairman of Shell South Africa. The temperature rose even further when the floor was opened to questions where former Competitions Tribunal's chairman David Lewis and forensic Investigator Paul O'Sullivan kept up the pressure. A must listen.

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    GGA's Alain Tschudin: Providing context on SA's major flashpoints - history helps with solutions to crumbling municipalities, EWC

    Dr Alain Tschudin is my kind of interviewee. An academic with a career in professional research, he is also an author so like most wordsmiths, his conversation flows easily. A PhD from Cambridge, he is the executive director of Good Governance Africa, a not-for-profit which aims to help unlock Africa's potential by praising those doing right - and exposing the corrupt. In this interview he addresses South Africa's two big flashpoints - the destruction of rural municipalities and the ANC's policy of land Expropriation Without Compensation (EWC).

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    After years of deep research, UK film maker Anthony Fabian convinced SA's new dawn will break soon

    In the latest episode of my Rational Perspective podcast, British film maker Anthony Fabian speaks about progress on his Good Hope project which has evolved from an eight part documentary on South Africa into a full length documentary feature. After hundreds of hours of filming and a continuous struggle for funding, Fabian is on the final lap of his ambitious project which focuses on the next generation of South African leadership - a group whose multi-racial, progressive and inclusive outlook on life confirms that after nine years of corruption and mismanagement, a bright new dawn is very much in the offing. A return to what president Nelson Mandela dreamed of. Rather appropriate in the year which marks the centenary of his birth.

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    Jakkie Cilliers: We’re missing EWC point – rural chiefs in crosshairs, unleashing growth the priority

    As you’ll hear in this episode, apart from giving us some insight into the way next year’s elections will go, author and ISS founder Jakkie Cilliers offers a cool headed counter to scaremongering of many pundits on South Africa's Expropriation Without Compensation. He has drawn on very recent engagements with the ANC top brass to support the prognosis outlined in his book. Lots of meat.

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    Global internet champion Naspers hitting top gear with "best set of financials in two decades"

    In today’s episode, an update from South Africa’s exponential growth marvel, Naspers, as Alec Hogg of Biznews.com gets to spend half an hour in London with the group's CEO Bob van Dijk and its CFO Basil Sgourdos to talk about numbers, strategy, exponential growth and the past decade's 23% Internal Rate of Return on its investments excluding the astonishing Tencent (over 50% when the Chinese company is included) .

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    An hour in London with iconoclast Pieter-Dirk Uys, opening up on Mandela, Ramaphosa, courage, madness - and sex

    Last night, I was among 300 relocated South Africans at London’s annual fundraising dinner for Afrika Tikkun and its associated charities. It was a splendid black tie affair whose theme in this 100th year since Madiba’s birth was to honour 30 iconic South Africans. Each table of ten was named after a national hero. Alongside Nelson Mandela were familiar names like Desmond Tutu, OR Tambo and Dr Chris Barnard. Included on this elite list was Pieter Dirk-Uys, the inconoclastic actor, playwright, activist, raconteur and politic analyst. Unfortunately, Uys wasn’t able to make the dinner – it was the last but two night of his three week run at the Soho Theatre at the other end of London. But seeing him being honoured in this way brought home just how special an afternoon I’d just had.

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    Meet the unheralded American introducing African talent onto global opera stages

    In this episode we meet Elise Brunelle, acting MD of the Cape Town Opera, who reckons there are well over 50 South Africans making a living on the world's opera stages. It's an inspiring story showing that even in a country where the needs of the broader population are vast and urgent, talent keeps breaking through in the least likely areas, testament to the resilience of our species, and the way the cream somehow always finds a way of getting recognised.

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    Six great shares to look at now. London's best value investors share their best ideas.

    Two earlier episodes of the Rational Perspective podcast are devoted to interviews with two of the presenters – Dawid Krige and Ben Preston. Thanks to my trusty Zoom Hn4 Pro recorder and a front row seat at the London Value Investor conference, I’ve sifted through the other speakers and selected three more stocks whose virtues were extolled by the best of them.

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    Coal miner Peabody: A fast-rising phoenix - from bankruptcy to top value manager's stock pick

    At the London Value Investor conference last week, stockpicker Ben Preston of Orbis – Allan Gray’s global arm – extolled the virtues of Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal miner, which declared itself bankrupt in April 2016. I caught up with him during the tea break where we caught some of London's early summer sun outside of the Queen Elizabeth conference centre in Westminster.

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