Wine tasting podcast: Deetlefs Estate Soet Hanepoot 2017

A sweet treat

By John Fraser.

Sweets for the sweet. Our wine tasting team turns its detention to a dessert wine, which we found a delightful surprise.

Our food and wine guru, Michael Oliver, shared the bottle with IT consultant Malcolm MacDonald and EY Cova’s Duane Newman.

There was also an affable discussion about whether you should end a meal with cheese, the merits of a tasting menu, and whether you should first order the grub or the booze.

Click below to give it a listen. It will be nectar to your ears.

NB: Michael Oliver’s cookbook is unmissable and is flying off the shelves in the stores:

An excellent choice for any time of the year

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Another podcast venture into the world of SA wine: Kershaw Elgin Chardonnay 2018

Wot a stunner!

By John Fraser

The intrepid podcast team is back, this time with a premium South African wine which will not only blow your socks off, but may dislodge your sandals as well.

It is the 2018 Kershaw Elgin Chardonnay, a Cape gem.

Food and wine writer, author, chef and trapeze artist Michael Olivier uncorked the stuff, and served it to EY Cova’s Duane Newman and IT consultant Malcolm MacDonald.

We also had a substantive chat about Michael’s new South African cookbook, which now can be found in all good kitchens.

Click below and give the podcast a listen:

NB: Michael Oliver’s cookbook is unmissable and is flying off the shelves in the stores:

An excellent choice for any time of the year

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Zondo Commission findings: a permanent change in SA politics

President Ramaphosa receives the first part of Zondo report

By Prof Sethulego Matebesi

Commissions of inquiry have been a feature of political life in South Africa since 1994. However, the Seriti and Zondo commissions arguably represent the most explicit evidence of the scourge of corruption in democratic South Africa.

The Seriti inquiry into the arms deal, which cost R137 million, was handed over to former President Jacob Zuma in 2016. This commission found no evidence of the 1999 arms deal corruption. However, Justice Raymond Zondo would hand over one of his three reports to President Cyril Ramaphosa in early January six years later.

Despite their similarities – their role in investigating allegations of widespread corruption and the stern rebuke that the commission heads received from certain public sections – there are several fundamental differences between them, with one predominating.

The most fundamental difference between them is that the Seriti Commission’s chairperson and commissioner were referred to the Judicial Service Commission on charges of gross misconduct.

A full panel of the Gauteng High Court found that the Seriti Commission mysteriously omitted crucial facts before concluding that there was no proof of corruption. Contrarily, the evidence presented to the Zondo Commission has already had dire consequences for several individuals, politicians, and state-owned and private companies in South Africa and abroad.

While it is still early days, and perhaps unfair to make this comparison between the two commissions, the Zondo Commission has undoubtedly removed some dark stains from the judiciary that do not augur well for democracy.

Erosion of ethical conduct

President Ramaphosa’s renewal project, underscored by a commitment to fighting corruption and strengthening governance, has gained traction over the past two years.

Nevertheless, as the Zondo report makes abundantly clear, South Africa is struggling to respond effectively to the complexities of corruption and money laundering.

As a nation still being forged, too many men and women entrusted to lead this glorious nation have abandoned the cardinal rule that ethical conduct was central to leadership. Instead, they have knowingly become corrupt conduits through their collaboration and conniving to collapse democratic institutions and practices.

No competent government will fold its hands and watch as its citizens’ livelihoods are destroyed by criminal elements within and outside its ranks, as reported by the Zondo Commission.

However, we need to credit President Ramaphosa – with all his leadership flaws – for his continued bold statement to implement the commission’s recommendations without fear or favour. We may want to dismiss this boldness as another political gimmick.

In any event, I believe that civil society organisations and liberal democratic institutions are converging, as they did in the past, to challenge attempts to circumvent the recommendations of the Zondo Commission.

A trial for President Ramaphosa

Several incidences after the release of the Zondo Commission report indicate what we can expect when the final report is released. Of note were some ANC members’ statements that seemed to differ from President Ramaphosa about the need to support the implementation of the commission’s recommendations.

Somehow, Ramaphosa will be on trial – fairly or unfairly – during the year. He will have to overcome some challenges, including the dismal performance of the ANC during the 2021 local government elections and his stance on corruption.

Yet, thus far, he has managed to shrug off threats from increasingly aggressive and confrontational elements within the ANC.

The ANC will hold its elective conference at the end of the year. Besides the multipronged, political disinformation strategies that often precede such conferences, some defenders of democracy implicated in the Zondo report may join beleaguered activists to crush opponents and settle scores.

Others, however, may take the findings against them on review. Surmounting these threats from within the ANC will depend on the extent to which the President and his supporters are willing to risk his aspiration for a second term instead of serving the long-term interests of South African citizens.

Beyond the politics

The Zondo Commission’s report will remain largely fruitless unless it goes hand in hand with political will and oversight to act on recommendations with the prima facie of wrongdoing and criminality.

Without the latter, we need to ask serious questions about Parliament, and the Executive’s ability to solve political matters often offloaded onto commissions of inquiry.

For example, while I understand the need for an independent anti-corruption agency and other measures to fight graft, we conveniently ignore how the Auditor-General’s reports detailing rampant corruption and blatant criminality (not irregular expenditure as the elite want us to believe) are ignored year after year.

What difference will these measures bring when you still have leaders and officials with malign influence on procurement procedures?

The bickering against the Zondo report and President Ramaphosa will grow louder and dominate the South African political landscape over the next few months.

We should consider the advice of former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, who once noted that integrity in public spaces is indispensable.

Prof Sethulego Matebesi is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology, at the University of the Free State

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ZA Confidential Podcast: The Fishwives Club Sauvignon Blanc.

A sassy Sauvignon Blanc

By John Fraser

The ZA Confidential podcast onslaught has returned, with an elegant tasting of a self-styled sexy Sauvignon Blanc from The Fishwives Club.

Showoff wine expert Michael Olivier dazzles our panel with his knowledge, eloquence and tap dancing. The guest tasters are Duane Newman of EY Cova and IT superstar Malcolm MacDonald.

There is also a chat about how to better promote local South Afriucan wines.

Click below and marvel…..

NB: Michael Oliver’s new cookbook is unmissable and is flying off the shelves in the stores:

An excellent choice for any time of the year

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A flavour of the Cape. Stellenbosch Hills Anna Christina MCC.

A real treat

By John Fraser

A bunch of wine lovers meet a beautiful bubbly. A marriage made in Heaven.

This podcast focuses on the Stellenbosch Hills Anna Christine Cap Classique.

Guest tasters Duane Newman of EY Cova and IT expert Malcolm MacDonald are introduced to this gem by Michael Olivier, the cookbook author, chef, wine and food writer, and raconteur.

As well as glugging away, we have a wide-ranging chat about the world of wine, and the need to lift any stigma which some still attach to local products.

Click below to give it a listen. With the Xmas break approaching, you will thank us!

NB: Michael Oliver’s new book is unmissable and has just been published:

An excellent choice for Christmas

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ZA Confidential Podcast: Cloof Pinotage 2018

By John Fraser

The wine for today’s tasting is the gutsy 2018 Cloof Pinotage, a robust red from Darling.

Business Day editor Lukanyo Mnyanda, Auto icon Jeff Osborne, IT troubleshooter Malcolm MacDonald and Economist Mike Schussler participated, drank…..and disagreed.

Author and wine buff Michael Olivier introduced the wine.

The team also had a useful chat about the SA government’s hostility to the wine and booze industry.

Click below to listen in:

Michael Oliver’s new book is unmissable and has just been published:

An excellent choice for Christmas

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ZA Confidential podcast wine tasting. Muratie’s Mr May Grenache Noir 2019

A mixed response to this Cape wine. Still too young?

By John Fraser

The soon-to-be-pissed podcasters are back, tasting a robust red from the Cape.

Mr Michael Olivier introduces the Mr May, a 2019 Grenache Noir from Muratie.

Guest tasters are Auto expert Jeff Osborne, Economist Mike Schussler, BusinessDay editor Lukanyo Mnyanda and IT superstar Malcolm MacDonald.

There was also a robust chat about how to recruit new wine drinkers, and what to do about the SA government’s hostility to the local wine industry.

Click below to find out what all the fuss was about:

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Do also check out: And buy his new cookbook!

ZA Confidential Wine Tasting: De Wetshof Riesling 2017

A Cape stunner

By John Fraser

The purring podcasters are back, this time tasting a fine Cape white wine, the 2017 De Wetshof Riesling.

Guest tasters are economist Mike Schussler, auto expert Jeff Osborne, Business Day Editor Lukanyo Mnyanda and IT superstar Malcolm Macdonald.

Author, wine writer and good bloke Michael Olivier introduced the wine to the thirsty panel, who gave it many a slurp, and a unanimous thumbs up.

We also chatted about what makes a distinctive South African wine, homing in on Pinotage.

Please take a listen, by sending your well-trained mouse to click below:

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Southern Africa’s first carbon registry will open the door to reward SMMEs for going green

Marc Tison

By John Fraser

For the first time, Southern Africa will have a green toolbox to offer small firms extra rewards for cutting pollution

The initiative – which forms part of a move to establish the region’s first Carbon Register – is being showcased to delegates at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

“We are on the cusp of opening access to a regional solution for Carbon Markets, which will allow all Southern African SMMEs access to extra rewards for cutting their carbon footprint,” said Marc Tison, Senior Vice President of SEEDX10.

SEEDX10 is tapping into an already established global Carbon Market solution through a global partnership, to enable the Southern African Carbon Register to operate seamlessly across the region without any need for additional regulatory approvals.

A Carbon Register is a mechanism that rewards businesses and organisations for creating carbon credits – these have a value and, through the Register, are tradeable around the world.

The credits are awarded for green projects and initiatives which reduce emissions and can be sold to willing buyers to offset their own carbon footprint.

The buyers of carbon credits are large emitters of carbon like Eskom and large corporates, and worldwide demand is expected to spiral as countries scramble to make the carbon savings that are being pledged at COP26, by making the penalties for emissions higher and higher – using mechanisms such as carbon taxes.

“This new Carbon Register will enable SMMEs in Southern Africa and its neighbours to trade voluntary carbon credits – both within their own territory, between territories and globally, in compliance with all sections of the Paris Agreement,” said Tison.

“The aim is to create a new source of carbon credits from the Southern Africa region as global demand for these shoots up. Without access to a Carbon Register, SMMEs cannot participate in the global Carbon Market. This will unlock a new, exciting, and alternative form of funding for SMMEs to assist them to build and scale their businesses.”

With offices already established in the USA, SEEDX10 is launching a Carbon Register for Southern Africa – with a unique offering.

“Our global location is key as it provides us with easier access to global capital markets and new trading markets for our clients who have products developed in the region that have global export potential,” explained Tison.

“Small firms cannot at present easily benefit financially from their carbon-slashing initiatives.

“We offer the chance of aggregating the achievements of a cluster of SMMEs to give them the combined critical mass to enter – and to directly financially benefit – from the carbon trading environment.

“Meanwhile, we believe we are launching a unique offering to SMMEs – we will be providing financial incentives to SMMEs who register their green projects through a link-up with Global Impact Holdings (GIH), an established and credible venture-capital provider.”

GIH is a fast-growing venture capital player in SA, with a focus on supporting small businesses and making a positive impact on the economy.

“A cluster of small firms – or a larger operator – in Southern Africa could undertake a carbon-cutting programme and sell the benefits of cutting emissions – represented by these carbon credits – to another player anywhere in the world that is unable, or finds it too costly, to reduce their own pollution,” explained GIH Executive Chairman Chris Hart.

“It sounds complicated, but this ground-breaking Carbon Register is an exciting and innovative way for Southern Africa to develop cleaner and greener firms and factories and to be rewarded handsomely for doing so.

“If we can bring together – and mobilise on a significant scale – groups of SMMEs that are undertaking carbon-cutting initiatives, they could become significant suppliers of carbon credits to the local and global market and help to achieve the global warming reduction target of 2 degrees set by the Paris Agreement at COP25.

“The carbon savings can be made by creating greener factories, reducing their carbon footprint in the design of the factories and offices they are building.”

Attempts to date to establish a voluntary Carbon Register in South Africa have failed to take off, but the new initiative will reduce red tape obstacles.

“We have secured an exclusive licence to operate this Carbon Register in Southern Africa – to register and issue carbon credits, based on global issuance standards, to a global carbon exchange,” said Tison.

“By fast-tracking this benefit, we can avoid all the regulatory hurdles which will delay anyone who is starting from scratch.

“The Carbon Registry business, with internet presence already established at, will be incorporated in Botswana, where SADC’s head office is. We will be providing each country with its own secure Carbon Register so each country’s SMMEs can register their businesses and their green projects. Meanwhile, governments will be able to trade carbon credits globally and with one another.

“We plan to launch and open the Carbon Register by mid-2022 for the entire region, on the back of a $10m initial private capital raise.”

Hart explained that this initiative means that Southern Africa will become the first region in the world to provide financial incentives for small businesses and projects to pursue the benefits of creating carbon credits.

“A real issue for SMMEs is to unlock funding, but carbon credits can create funding for SMMEs. The firms can create these credits and get income,” he explained.

“GIH intends to co-fund every credit, providing an alternative mechanism for funding – incentivising SMMEs to sign-up.

“Internationally, if you can get the SMME market running on this, it will make a significant contribution.

“No single country in the world is incentivising – rather than penalising – firms to sign up, but we will facilitate a grant to incentivise them, by bringing in private equity.

“The investors will get a stake in the business. This is bolstered by donor funding to provide the capacity for our own business to be able to provide a sign-up incentive for SMMEs.”

The South African market is currently starved of carbon credits, and the Carbon Register will play an important part in developing and growing it.

“We will be making a presentation at a session at COP26 to present the Southern Africa Carbon Register initiative,” said Tison.

“This should propel us forward so we can offer Southern African businesses – both large and small – the chance to become respected players in the green economy while being incentivised and rewarded for their efforts.”

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Wine tasting podcast: Groote Post Seasalter SB 2021

A darling Darling wine

By John Fraser

The tasters have returned. For our latest ZA Confidential podcast, we headed to delightful Darling for an unusual white, an exciting Sauvignon Blanc. The Groote Post Seasalter SB 2021 was uncorked or unscrewed or hacked into by Michael Olivier.

The tasters were top economist Mike Schussler, Business Day editor Lukanyo Mnyanda, auto expert Jeff Osborne and IT whizzkid Malcolm Macdonald.

Click below to join the fun……

The panel also took a look at Michael Oliver’s new book and discussed whether or not there is a distinctive national cuisine in SA.

An excellent choice for Christmas, New Year, Easter and Winnie Mandela Day (it’s coming, folks…..)

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