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Why #Seattle is a good partner…. July 18, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Cape Town.
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Pike Place Market in Seattle

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Today I was very privileged to be part of the #mondaythinktank hosted by FUTURECAPETOWN and today the question was which city should Cape Town look to form a partnership with?

Well, I was very lucky to have lived in Seattle, Washington and, being a born and bred Capetonian, of all the cities I have visited, this one best reminds me of home!

The feeling of nostalgia, old world charm yet modern chutzpah one gets when walking downtown is very simliar to the feeling one gets when strolling down St. George’s mall during a weekday lunchtime. And while Seattle is surrounded by lakes as opposed to our oceans, a stroll through Pike Place Market is almost as if you’re back in Kalk Bay or any other place south of Muizenberg.

Seattle has just as rich an arts and culture heritage as Cape Town, with Seattle having a diverse music base ranging from opera and claaiscal music to jazz to grunge rock, and, of course, it’s the birthplace of the legendary Jimi Hendrix.

As far as Sport is concerned, just like Cape Town, mainstream sport is woven into the psyche of the city, with the Mariners, Seahawks and Sonics garnering as partisan a following as the Cobras, the Stormers and Ajax Cape Town.

Seattle also has a well developed tourism industry, with a multitude of festivals happening throughout the year, covering a vast array of sectors within the regional economy.

Finally, Seattle prides itself on the many outdoor activities one can do in and around the city virtually througout the year. These activities change with the seasons. Although we are blessed with more natural abundance, surely we can learn from them as to how we can use our resources to maximise our brand. 

For more on the City of Seattle, please see their Official website

Thanks for the kickstart @futurecapetown ! There are vast opportunities for collaboration here!


Strikes and Synergy July 12, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Politics.
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National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa

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South Africa is dealing with yet another strike season. This time around, it is the National Union of Metal Workers (NUMSA) who have led the cause, and are into the second week of the industrial action. They are asking for increases of 10-13%, while employers are offering an average of 7%.

The right to strike is one of the many rights that were part of the overall struggle against apartheid, and no one would deny any worker’s right to strike, provided it is within the confines of the law. However, as outlined by ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete, when the strike trun violent, and in some cases, even deadly, then they lose not only the point of the action, but also the sentiment of the public in supporting their right to the action.

Now one could add that the violence associated with strike can be traced back to the armed struggle and the violent uprisings that marred the 80’s in this country.

The violence, however, highlights a greater divide within the South African workplace. It is alarmingly clear that there is virtually no synergy between employer bodies and trade unions in this country. Moreover, there is precious little desire on both sides to create synergy in this most vital of partnerships. And Synergy, is exactly what we need in the current market conditions. Without it, the South African workplace will not realise the potential that lies within.

So, just how do we create that Synergy? Your comments welcome…

Phone Hacking, RICA and why @nicdawes is on to something July 10, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Politics.
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This week, the dominating story on the world stage was the unceremonial closing of arguably the world’s largest newspaper. This follows a phone hacking scandal, where it’s alleged (and proven) that journalists of the News of the World newspaper hacked the phones of, among others, the victims of the 7 July 2005 bombings in London. This story has significant importance  on two fronts in South Africa.

The first is the act of phone hacking. For a large part of the past 2 years, South Africans were encouraged to have their mobile phones approved according to the RICA Act. The Act is meant to curb the use of cell phones in criminal activities, as well as allowing security agencies within government structures the freedom to tap into one’s phone, should there be reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is happening (this, of course, requires a warrant). The problem is that while the use of monitoring devices by government institutions is regulated by the Act, at present, the database is not completely secure, as was demonstarted last week, when pre-RICA’d sim cards were freely available on the black market. This shows that the application of the Act is far below what is required. Hence, one must wonder whether a similiar scandal is destined to happen in this country, even with the act in operation.

The second point was laid out by Nic Dawes, editor of the Mail And Guardian newspaper in South Africa. In one of his tweets of 8 July, he highlights how the Guardian newpaper’s pursuit of the News of the World‘s nefarious doings shows that press regulation has many forms. This, of course, comes hot on the heels of the launch of the Press Freedom Commission, which, among others, is comprised of Justics Pius Langa and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. The primary goal of the commission is to “Ensure press freedom in support of enhancing our democracy which is founded on human dignity, equality and freedom”. This is in direct contrast to the ANC‘s wish to establish a media tribunal, which is meant to curb press freedom and ultimately make the printed media subject to the will of the executive and the ruling party.

Now, it is clear that in both instances, regulation is required. However, the price of the rlation must not be the curbing of freedom, either of the individual, or the press. Let’s hope that we learn from the News of the World’s demise and ensure that we all remain responsible citizens, as well as vital, fearless, required arms of our hard fought democracy.

Julius Malema finally debunked in the media June 22, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Politics.
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It was so good to hear Xolani Gwala take Julius Malema to task this morning over the content of his closing speech at the ANC Youth League National Congress this past Sunday in Sandton. Interviewing him on ‘The Forum at 8’ on SAFM this morning, Xolani pushed him in to a rather small proverbial corner, and eventually forced him to backtrack on most of his statements in that speech.

Although there is credence to what Julius says in terms of land restitution being too slow, he clearly has not thought of the consequences of retribution without compensation. Neither is his views on nationalization coherent enough to be taken seriously.

The letter that I sent to theCapeTimeswith respect to today’s happenings can be found below.


Well done to Xolani Gwala on an excellent piece of radio journalism this morning (22.06.2011) on ‘The Forum at 8’ with your interview with Julius Malema. You have shown him up as someone who is unable to back up his wild rhetoric with coherent logic. It is very clear that for most of the discussion, he backtracked on virtually all the comments he made during his closing speech at the ANCYL congress on Sunday afternoon.

His own comrades within the ANC Youth League were calling in to the program to voice their displeasure at the way he represented his organisation and the resolutions passed both at the National congress last week, as well as on the radio this morning.

Hopefully, he will now be further exposed on such platforms, and the nation will see that while he is a populist and part of what he says is true, the way in which he handles himself offers no value to the debate of nation building inSouth Africa.