UCT constitutionalist Pierre de Vos has taken issue with the objection to the registration by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), by the Freedom Front Plus (FF+).
The FF+, which De Vos says represents voters in such places as Putsonderwater and Bapsfontein, argued that the EFF’s registration would be “unconstitutional” because it “propagates nationalisation of land, mines, banks and other assets without compensation”. The word “fighters” in the party’s name was also inappropriate in a democracy, the FF+ argued.
“Legally this is utter nonsense,” De Vos said. The constitution did not contain any provision that banned individuals – or political parties – from propagating nationalisation or from propagating changes to the constitution, De Vos argued.
But yesterday Pieter Groenewald, the FF+ parliamentary leader, said the constitution was written to offer protection and freedom within the guidelines of the law. “When it is clear someone is acting in contravention of this, the FF+ will be neglecting its duty if it does not strongly object to it.”
For example, the constitution protects the integrity of communities, including their cultural and economic integrity. “The EFF’s policy is unconstitutional as it boils down to expropriation without compensation,” he charged. The EFF’s racially based redistribution would collapse the economy “and will have disastrous consequences for the country and all its residents”, Groenewald said.
“The IEC was established precisely because it has to take decisions about participation in elections. It cannot register a party which wants to undermine the constitution. Malema and the EFF undermine the constitution in spirit and deed and it [portends] nothing good for the country’s future,” Groenewald said.
But De Vos is probably right: there is nothing stopping any political party from canvassing, and seeking electoral support, for something that is contrary to the constitution, or even conventional wisdom.
Full marks to trade union Solidarity for not only grappling with the very thorny issue of bank charges but for also coming up with conclusions that will be very useful not only to its members, but to anyone who has access to the report.
Congratulations also to Capitec, which seems to be leading the drive towards cheaper and simpler banking options.
Comparisons between banks is complicated by the fact that each of the big five – Absa, First National Bank (FNB), Standard Bank, Nedbank and Capitec – have differing views on what the different segments of the market might want from a bank. This raises potential criticism, from those who do not score so well in the survey, that Solidarity is comparing apples with oranges.
The good news for consumers is that the charges of the cheapest mainstream accounts at four of the five largest banks were virtually unchanged over the past year. “Standard Bank was the only significant exception, as that bank closed its most competitive mainstream account for new clients after just one year.”
It seems Standard Bank’s Achiever Electronic account competed well with rivals’ bundle accounts in 2012. The removal of this account meant that Standard Bank’s Elite Plus account was its cheapest mainstream offering. It is, according to Solidarity, the most expensive of the five banks’ offerings in that segment.
As expected, Standard Bank is not happy with this conclusion, which it says is misleading. It says the Achiever Electronic account was not discontinued, but replaced by the Access Account Plus at the same price of R59.84 a month and not the R102.40 as measured by Solidarity.
Solidarity counters that the Access Account offering, whether on a “pay-as-you-transact” basis or the R59.84 fixed fee option, emerges as quite expensive compared with similar accounts from the other banks. However, Solidarity does point out that this Standard Bank option might still be the most attractive choice for many people because of the convenience that the bank’s 7 000 access points offer.
The chief information officers (CIOs) who will be the most successful in a challenging business environment are those who have mastered industrialisation of information technology (IT), according to Lee Naik, the senior director of Accenture’s IT strategy and transformation division.
His advice comes on the back of news this week that inflation reached 6.3 percent in July, breaching the upper end of the Reserve Bank’s 3 percent to 6 percent target for the first time in 15 months, according to Bloomberg.
“[Inflation] is a pressure on everybody. If you think of how things work, if you are paying R100 million on something, the next year you can expect to pay R106m. Let’s make IT as industrialised as possible, challenge it, leapfrog the way you’ve been thinking for 20 years. If everybody says it’s a box, why can’t you make it a square?” he says.
Those CIOs who are successful at delivering efficiency are the ones that gain a chair at the business table, Naik says.
His observations are that many South African corporates are spending between 80 percent and 90 percent of their IT budget on non-discretionary spend instead of the inverse.
The remaining 10 percent is allocated to what actually drives real value creation. He advises CIOs to extract their companies from long-term multi-year contracts and to opt for shorter agreements, which allow the company to tailor its IT needs. CIOs are no longer simply technical gurus but should also understand the business in which he or she serves.
“The CIO is a guy who knows finance, he understands business, he can talk the language of business… If you’re not enabling their business, it means you are doing IT for IT sake, in which case you are wasting money,” Naik says.
Edited by Banele Ginindza. With contributions by Donwald Pressly, Ann Crotty and Asha Speckman.