🔒 Premium: Forthright Feedback from BN tribesmen; one supportive, another definitely not

Nobody has a monopoly on the truth. So from today, we will regularly publish considered responses to my contributions from BizNews community members.

We kick off with two from long-time supporters, both experienced in financial services sector execs. Their contributions, however, differ greatly. The first supportive, the second precisely the opposite. Am looking forward to publishing more of these diverse and thought-provoking opinions.

I’ll refrain from putting in the last word on the latter. But point you, instead, to a superb treatise by Irina Filatova published today on Politicsweb. Irina, whom I met and interviewed at her Cape Town home seven years ago, is Russian, an academic and author, who  also happens to be married to RW Johnson. For me she is far and away the foremost authority on Russian affairs in SA.


More to read today: 

PS: Click here or on the image above to watch the recording of yesterday’s webinar. 

In My Opinion – Chris Edwards on SAA, offers advice to new owners at Takatso Consortium 

A cabin crew member reacts as South Africa’s national airline, South African Airways (SAA), prepares to take off after a year-long hiatus triggered by it running out of funds, at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 23, 2021. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

By Christopher Edwards* 

Thanks for your story on SAA. We have had the same experience with Qatar. We even fly to the US via Qatar as they have made it fairly painless and even pleasant. 

We have also been acquiring SA assets from our government, albeit at a far more modest level. The effort required to turn these government managed assets into functioning commercial enterprises is Herculean.

I think the larger the asset the more heavily culture features as the predominant factor requiring change, and if cultural change is difficult following typical commercial acquisitions one will appreciate the challenge of bringing about cultural change when the legacy has been derived from government.

We are discovering the type of change required is, well, everything. Absolutely everything.

This is difficult with SA employment law and doubly so when the assets were government owned and their need to demonstrate support for workers (however ill-defined that appears to be at a pragmatic level, but seems to lean towards colour). Interestingly we are learning the workers appear to be the most suitable to the entity, and it is the management who most require change.  

Buyers beware of the many contracts they will assume following government acquisitions. They are likely to uncover ludicrous transactions that no sane person would enter with their own money. (The General Manager signed a 5 year lease on printer/scanner for R100,000 a year. The printer costs R50,000 new. This, being unvarnished negligence, would be more understandable if it was simple corruption).

So saying, ex-government opportunities appear to be growing for those who who can stomach the risk.

Our experience leads us to believe every government asset delivering a commercial service should be sold or partnered with a commercial equity partner. (The United States, admittedly ‘red in tooth and claw’, distribute over $1tn through Medicare to private ‘healthcare providers’).

The prices paid for the assets will appear insubstantial but don’t take account of the multi-year, prolonged effort required to change the organisation, nor the funds committed (similar to SAA apparently) as thoughtful investment and not flippant expenditure. For instance, we invested another 2x acquisition price in the first twelve months. 

Much like SAA these government sales have the appearance of painful losses – and well they should be – nonetheless the captain and crew have been dining in first class and the sinking ship requires a firm and focused hand on the rudder.

I am reminded of Margaret Thatcher’s quote I think:

One ship drives East, and another drives West,
By the self-same gale that blows;
Tis the set of the sail, and not the gale,
That determines the way she goes.

Anyway, good luck to you. I hope you found your way into the SAA action. 

One hopes there is accountability for folks like Dudu. Thumbs up to Paul O’Sullivan and his ilk. 

  • Christopher Edwards is the managing partner of Port Meadow Capital

In My Opinion – George Cocolas attacks my ‘pathetic’ Boardroom Talk on Ukraine (and the WEF) 

Ukraine war

By George Cocolas

You have been one of the people in the investment world  that I have admired for decades – and so it was with complete shock that I read your “so-called” philosophical discussion today about why BizNews has fallen into line (I prefer the term kow-towing) with the “Great and the Good” leadership of the “benign” WEF.

You know, that WEF? The one that, had it had its way, would have silenced and de-platformed every single thing that you have published on BizNews related to the safety of COVID vaccines, the totalitarian lockdowns, and indeed, any article that could possibly have gone against the “official narratives” so espoused by politicians and the MSM.

Nick Hudson from Panda…… Gone in a puff of smoke.
Brian Pottinger….. Brian Who?

These fine people would have enjoyed the same de-platforming and silencing of their views as many other wretched truth-sayers:
Professor Tim Noakes…….. Gone in a haze of keto-induced flatulence
Donald Trump – Same as Tim Noakes, only that his hazy cloud was orange-coloured.

Also many many others, those who dared to peak above the parapet wall and point out the truth. Ricky Gervais – watch out! A woman CAN have a low-swinging donkey-dong just as any other man can (or wishes he had).

Firstly, Your North Star argument severely rubbishes the intelligence and knowledge of your readers, which is bad enough.  

Even a cursory search of the Google-controlled internet would yield enough information to glean that the Ukraine story is NOT what it appears to be.

That Ukraine is no saint. That it is a large washing machine for dirty money and Western propaganda. That NATO was never supposed to expand beyond a united Germany. I think the phrase that was used to sell the Russians the unification of Germany was “Not one more inch” (Eastwards) for NATO.

Perhaps you expect us to not believe that Ukraine is using nazi militias that would have made Hitler blush. And that is just the start. I won’t even go further on Ukraine hosting bio-labs that were associated with Hunter Biden. (Wikipedia has scrubbed the references, but go ahead and search elsewhere – because you will find the information yourself).

I’ll believe my own eyes, thank you very much.

Furthermore, you reaffirm that BizNews is acting as a gatekeeper for information. As according to your North Star principle, you “serve the BizNews community from cornerstones of promoting Democracy and Free Enterprise”. 

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant” is a phrase that is echoed by most libertarians across the world as the availability of the truth on the ground is what best serves democracy (Julian Assange anyone?).

However, in practice today, it means that this phrase has been rendered meaningless –  as the large majority of such people have been silenced, arrested, lost their jobs, been de-platformed or even worse.

And if your goal, which I think should be to present information to your readers to primarily help them make business and investment decisions – after all, it is announced in your very business name – BIZNEWS –  then you have failed miserably.  

Even more egregious I believe, is that your actions are preventing your viewers/members from making rational business decisions to their financial advantage.

A cursory rundown of exactly how successful the Russians have been in their mission over the last 3 months (as THEY have defined it – and not as the MSM has defined it), would no doubt have provided your readers the knowledge and forewarning that they should massively increase their exposure to oil and gas investments.

As well as to cobalt, nickel and many other commodities that Russia is rolling in. Congratulations Alec. You have withheld information on the real world from your readership and have succeeded in making your readership less informed knowledgeable, and as a result, no doubt, financially less well-off. Or poorer! Either way it is the same thing.

You disappoint me greatly Alec. You have indeed taken BizNews toward a “One-eyed” direction……. Cock-eyed.

As for your virtue-signalling WEF-approved North Star – I suggest that it is best suited to another celestial realm. Your fundament.

Yours, in great “Tsk Tsk” disappointment,

George Cocolas


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