JOHANNESBURG - South Africa made global headlines last week. Allegations of corrupt dealings at Naspers and Steinhoff shocked the global investment fraternity.
I received messages and phone calls from business leaders, economists and stockbrokers from all over the globe, all eager to share more bad news, all armed with deadly ammunition to launch the final missile against these two companies.
What was surprising was how many people from the Afrikaans community were angered by what had been done by these two companies.
Naspers and its local subsidiary Media24 are competing media houses to Independent Media. The recent allegations of corruption against Naspers and its board members gave us the opportunity to launch our own missile, to gain financially by selling more news in print and online, by selling their bad news, thus weakening a competitor.
This is something that Naspers and Tiso Blackstar (formerly TMG) perfected against Independent media and its owner Dr Iqbal Survé since he acquired the business in 2013.
I called Independent chairperson Dr Survé after these revelations, asking for his views of the recent corruption allegations at Naspers, which has never had a good word to say about him.
They even pay a journalist a retainer to investigate and write negative articles about Dr Survé. After many years, after finding nothing, they are forced to sit back and relax.
What surprised me was Doc’s response to the Naspers situation. He said: “Adri, I think it’s better that we stay away from any negative reporting on Naspers, but it is always your decision. Let the market decide.
“More importantly, we should always retain the moral high ground in what we do. Our reporting must remain fair and non-partisan. We owe it to our readers. Now is not the time for cheap points scoring.” .
I pondered this response after chatting to him while attending a Chinese investment summit, an important event to understand how the China experience can positively impact on SA.
SA needs real leadership
Readers, I thought deep about this week’s Editor’s Note. I thought about Doc’s words.
Real leadership is what South Africa needs now. It is so easy to fire a missile and destroy all hope for a turnaround.
I hope that Naspers will clean their “Whitehouse”, and Steinhoff will rebuild their status to their real asset worth.
Readers, have we not been indoctrinated for many many years to believe in capitalism and that socialism is “bad”? Really?
“Great times make great people”, said Xi Jinping, as an opening statement in his book, The Governance of China II. “The Chinese Dream Is the People’s Dream,” reads one of its chapters.
Prosperity of the society is regarded as higher than personal gain (capitalism). How can we explain the rise of the success of the Chinese economy in the last two decades? Is it a mere case of an ideology executed than mere lip service, broadcast from capitalist political platforms?
The people’s wellbeing was and is Xi Jinping’s lifelong pursuit. “Poverty is not socialism socialism means eliminating poverty unless you are developing the productive forces and raising people’s living standards, you cannot say that you are building socialism,” said Xi Jinping.
How bad is “socialism”? And how powerful is the “impeccability of your word”, Whether you speak it, or write it?
The time has arrived to unite all forces of hope, to create a better world for all. Is capitalism for the greedy, a selected few, serving on the same boards, enriching selectively?
In the case of Naspers, I am deeply concerned about the constant negative reporting on the country, forcing the rand to deteriorate.
Is it not interesting that Naspers (or Media24) continuously slams the government, widely publishes negative articles about South Africa, supporting a deterioration in the rand exchange rate?
I mean, every percentage drop in the rand accounts to billions for Naspers. Bad news sells, as they say. Indeed, and it’s an interesting business model for the greedy.
Compatriots, let us clean our houses. Let us love and care for each other. Let us build a country the African way. We sing, braai, laugh and joke, but when challenged, we unite, we are a family, united in hope for a better future.
Please join me in the journey.
- BUSINESS REPORT