BNC London: Paul O’Sullivan – Will SA still be a great country in 2025?

In a gripping keynote at the BizNews Conference in London, renowned forensic investigator and Certified Fraud Examiner Paul O’Sullivan exposed the alarming vulnerabilities of WhatsApp as a tool for intelligence gathering, while painting a bleak picture of South Africa’s future. Highlighting rampant corruption, infrastructural decay, and governmental failures, O’Sullivan emphasised the critical importance of the upcoming elections for the country’s fate. His speech, laced with anecdotes and stark realities, called for immediate action to avert a looming crisis, urging both local and global stakeholders to recognize and address these pressing issues.

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Summary of Paul O’Sulllivan’s keynote address at the BizNews Conference in London

Paul O’Sullivan opens with thanks and humour, then discusses the dangers of WhatsApp groups as intelligence tools, the poor state of South Africa’s infrastructure, corruption in police appointments, and the negative impact of government policies on the economy. He reflects on personal experiences with the failing property market and pollution issues, criticises the ANC, and emphasises the critical nature of the upcoming elections for South Africa’s future.

Paul O’Sullivan’s PowerPoint Presentation

Edited transcript of Paul O’Sulllivan’s keynote address at the BizNews Conference in London

00:09 Good morning, everyone. First, I’d like to thank Alec for arranging everything. Despite joking about the first-class ticket and hotel stay, I’m here voluntarily.

00:15 Initially, I considered leaving the WhatsApp group because I typically avoid them. WhatsApp is an excellent intelligence-gathering tool. For example, I know someone here is from Santa Ana in the US and another from Paris on a Vodafone contract. With just phone numbers, I could identify many of you using tools like Truecaller, which raises significant privacy concerns.

00:45 Truecaller can identify phone numbers, and if someone looks up mine, it shows as “Rumpelstiltskin” because I’ve manipulated it. This anonymity isn’t available to everyone. In South Africa, police can’t use Truecaller without a subscription, which costs 700 Rand a year. Without this, criminals can see who’s investigating them, complicating police work.

03:04 Today, I’ll discuss whether South Africa will still be a great country to live in by 2025. Looking at Joburg, many parties claim they can fix things, but who will actually deliver?

04:02 We’ve had 30 years of freedom in South Africa, with many achievements and failures. For example, Kruger Park is now accessible without racial issues, unlike in the 80s. However, the ANC’s promises about housing, healthcare, roads, education, water, and electricity often fall short. Our ports are among the most expensive due to inefficiencies, and the roads are in poor condition, leading to fatalities.

05:54 Education and healthcare are in disarray. I remember paying eight Rand for treatment in the late 70s at Joburg General Hospital, but today, the service quality has deteriorated significantly.

06:51 South Africa hasn’t had a consistent police commissioner since George Fivaz. The last commissioner, Massimola, was appointed despite clear evidence of his incompetence and corruption. I was asked to vet candidates, but my input was ignored.

10:08 Recently, the deputy commissioner of police in the Northwest province was found using police helicopters for personal use and committing fraud by claiming mileage allowances.

11:08 The Rand’s value has plummeted since 1994, affecting investments. I bought a house in Houghton in 2019, but the property market has since crashed. Despite spending millions, I can’t sell it for even 9 million Rand.

15:22 Eskom’s message about 41 days without load shedding is misleading. They’re spending 2 billion Rand monthly on diesel to keep the lights on, which isn’t sustainable.

16:08 The Vaal River is heavily polluted due to sewage, similar to Loch Neagh in the UK, which suffers from nitrate pollution. Cleaning these water bodies will take decades.

17:52 Despite the ANC’s decline, many still vote for them due to misinformation and fear. Our housekeeper, for instance, believes she’ll face repercussions if she doesn’t vote for the ANC.

20:07 I have multiple citizenships but choose to live in Johannesburg. However, the upcoming elections are crucial. The outcome will determine if South Africa remains livable.

21:49 With 24,000 South Africans registered to vote abroad, every vote counts. Hopefully, it leads to meaningful change.

24:21 We’re losing professionals to other countries. For instance, I met a South African traffic cop in Perth who had emigrated from Boxburg.

24:42 South Africa’s future depends on the election results. It can either thrive or face chaos.

25:11 Finally, a bit of history: 80 years ago, this room was used by the Allies to plan Operation Overlord. In 1945, Frank Whittle demonstrated the jet engine here. This building, opened on May 16, 1899, has a rich history. Thank you.

*The above transcript has been condensed and paraphrased for brevity and clarity, and may not capture the full context or nuances of the original speech delivered by Paul O’Sulllivan at BizNews London Conference

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