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Monthly Archives: February 2012

The budget Speech

Pravin Gordhan

Cape Town – Financial literacy education is very dear to me to an extent that I lead a team of volunteers at University that solely focuses on teaching high scholars about money and debt management and saving. The minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan announced in his 2012 budget speech that those who save will get a form of a tax break.

At this stage I am not at liberty of analyzing his speech, but he said many things that are heart warming, and not so heart-warming to smokers, drinkers and gamblers.Personally, I welcome his speech.

What I found profound is the following statement:

To encourage voluntary savings, consideration is being given to the introduction of tax-exempt short and medium-term savings products. The proposal is that individuals should be permitted to save up to R30 000 a year, with a lifetime limit of R500 000, in registered savings or investment products that would be free of tax on interest, dividends or capital gains.

In retrospect the minister is encouraging wealth creation and saving amongst South Africa citizens.

Be financially savvy!

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Economics

 

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Does South Africa offer an enabling entrepreneurial environment?

Image appropriated from bcablog.com

“Nurture not nature does appear to be more important in shaping the entrepreneurial mindset.” __  Maria Pinelli.

That comment made by the president of the Republic of South Africa still lingers strongly on my mind. You will remember he said then that he declares 2011 as the year of job creation, and further to that the New Growth path set an ambitious target of creating 5 million jobs by 2020. A rational human being can ponder on what Mr president said then and the ambitious target set by another ever-awesome ruling party’s policy document, and ask very poignant questions such as “How will those jobs be created?” and “Why create 5 million jobs, while we can create 1 million businesses?”

Those are questions that will really seek very educated guesses and intellectual arguments. Let me rather be on a discovery to explore this question “Does South Africa offers an enabling and a supportive entrepreneurial environment for its citizens?”

A reasonably well-headed individual wouldn’t dare challenge the assertion that “Entrepreneurship is vital for economic and societal development in any given country. It is an established notion that any country which rewards and compensate innovation is bound to produce more entrepreneurs than job seekers. I am of the view that the culture of entrepreneurship empowers an individual who take the risk to establish a new enterprise, that will eventually lead to job creation and  the economy which integrates itself  competitively on a global sphere.

As a student with an entrepreneurial spirit at heart, I do not really believe in the fact that as students graduates they should knock at the doors of blue chip companies and leading service firms in search for employment. I believe that new graduates are innovative, driven and have the skill and the drive to start new ventures. However, most of aspiring entrepreneurs are dismayed in launching their new enterprises by the knowledge that funding in South Africa is highly inaccessible, despite many venture capitalist and many incubators and support organisation that the country boast about.

Does South Africa offers and enabling and a supportive entrepreneurial environment? I am still on the course to discover that, bear with me as I journey through the said discovery.

Total Entrepreneurial Activity or TEA for short is a widely used tool used to measure entrepreneurial activity by looking at the percentage of individual active entrepreneurs, between the age of 25 and 64, in any given country. A research paper issued by a leading bank in the country, titled “The Entrepreneurial Dialogues, State of Entrepreneurship in South Africa”, revealed a rather mediocre static that South Africa TEA  was standing at 5% following the economic crisis in 2009.

There are fragmented approaches that seek to inspire entrepreneurship in South Africa. May I take a liberty of mentioning NYDA, (without being rebutted) and The Department of Industry and SEDA, to name but a few. I have a feeling that these support structures have failed most of the country’s aspiring entrepreneurs because it (this fragmented approaches) do not seem to be producing acceptable results. Frankly, they are failing at an alarming rate.

Maybe, South Africa is not a country whereby entrepreneurship and innovation is rewarded.

However, I must put my naivety aside and admit that strides are being made in corporate South Africa to nurture the culture of entrepreneurship. The Business Report, reported online on the 20th of February, that another leading South African banking house  has launched Enterprise Development, a unit focused and dedicated to assist the growth and development of emerging enterprises.

Even though my accounts, do not answer the question directly, it is evident that South Africa is trying harder through concerted efforts made by private individuals and responsible corporate giants to offer a supportive environment for entrepreneurs.

C’mom, the world is our oyster, as they say, let us develop an entrepreneurial flair as students and help make Msholozi’s far-fetched dream of  creating 5 million jobs to see a light of day.

DISCLAIMER: Some of my thoughts may surprise you, you are not alone, I surprise myself sometimes…

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Business, Economics

 

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A tribute to a greatest enchantress, Whitney Houston

You will soon understand as to why I start this post by the phrase “Tomorrow is not promised to any of us”.

Picture appropriated from classicwhitney.com

 

When something remarkable happens in this world, you will know in a snap. On Sunday morning (South African time), different social media platforms went abuzz with the news of the passing of a talented songstress, Whitney Houston. Whitney had a voice, talented and her ballads were breathtakingly spectacular. In Time Magazine, on an article penned by Howard Chua-Eoan titled “The Voice: Whitney Houston”with a subtitle “One of the greatest voices in the history of American popular music has been silenced. An appreciation of the talents of Whitney Houston”, the author wrote that Whitney made a person move; she made a person want; she gave immediacy and voice to a person instincts and emotions. But she was a goddess.

For me Whitney was a real deal, a true gift.

Perhaps, Chua-Eoan is right when he equips that one of the voices of the popular music has been silenced, but the truth is that Whitney will forever be remembered as the most talented enchantress that the vocal industry has ever witnessed. I do not, even for a moment, think that her death will forever silence her voice. As her fans, we will continue listening to her vocals. I guess after all, Chua-Eoan, was not that correct in saying Whitney’s voice is silenced.

Her passing reminds me of a last verse from Michael Jackson’s song, Gone too soon. It goes like “…..Born To Amuse, To Inspire, To Delight, Here One Day, Gone One Night, Like A Sunset, Dying With The Rising Of The Moon, Gone Too Soon, Gone Too Soon!

Indeed she left too soon. Can I take the liberty of quoting her first verse from her song. All at once,  when she sang “All at once I finally took a moment And I’m realizing that You’re not coming back And it’s finally hit me all at once”.

It finally hit me all at once that Whitney you are gone.

True, Gone Too Soon, and I assume that you now understand why this post started with a subtitle “Tomorrow is not promised to any of us” and perhaps let me further remind you and maybe to a greater extent to myself, a Scottish tombstone epitaph that read as follows:

Consider, friend, as you pass by: As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, you too shall be. Prepare, therefore, to follow me.

O, Death!

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in General

 

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A call for learners to apply promptly

SOURCE: Getty images

*I am back from a well deserved break. This is the first post of the year and I hope you will enjoy reading posts being published here as much as I enjoy penning them. With that I would like to wish you a very happy 2012!

The stampede that broke out of  at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) last month was saddening and sent shock waves on social media websites. What is more saddening is that a mother of a prospective student died on the scene.

It raises questions as to why this must happens because ideally prospective students are given a maximum of seven months to lodge their applications. Students applications open on the 1st of March to 31st October for most universities.

Some may argue that the stampede was unnecessary and may also put a blame on the institution. In my opinion, I think that if we put a blame on the institution then we must all accept liabilities. A responsible citizen of a nation like South Africa must take a duty of responsibility to educate every learner who seems to be less informed about such matters.

This shocking event can be attributed to number of factors such as late application, lack of career guidance and lack of general information regarding tertiary studies.

As I would like to believe that it is also my duty to educate scholars on this matter. below I offer an account of possible solutions that can be used to combat this fateful act in the future.

Possible Solutions

  • More University should be built. In his medium term budget vote, The minister of Higher Education, Mr Blade Nzimande revealed that two universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape are in the pipeline.
  • Career Counselling must be strengthened in the Life orienation curriculum from as early as in Grade 9 and as such this part of the curriculum must be examined until Grade 12.
  • Parents must encourage their children to apply timeously.
  • Prospective Students must attend University career days to explore different study courses.
  • The call made by the Minister that a Central Applications Office be implemented is another option.

Lesson for high scholars is this “Apply timeously so that you dot end up stampeding at centre of higher learning come January”. More advise for high scholars, please ensure that you seek more information pertaining to your career path as soon as yesterday.

NB: You can send  topic suggestions to dumi.mahlangu@gmail.com.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2012 in General