CEO of PPC cement cut salary by 15% to pay workers more

Good on Mr Ketso Gordhan for cutting his own salary by 15% so he could pay his staff at the company more, and not advocating for higher taxes on high income earners to be redistributed to low income earners by the government. Because as we know, the latter route never happens and only helps enrich politicians on the gravy train, and leaves low income earners even worse off over the long-run, once they’ve become dependent on hand-outs. Full BDlive article here.

All quiet on the blogging front

It’s been quiet on the blogging front because I’ve been flat out advising and consulting on Africa economies and markets in the past two months, where things are blowing up a bit.

Then, after seeing prospective clients in Cape Town, I took some time off with my wife and daughter at the beach in Betty’s Bay. We had a super break, with some great weather and lots of time to introduce our 10-month old to beach sand and the sea.

I’m unlikely to blog much in the next few weeks either, with lots on the go, but I’ll post any media appearances on the blog. In the meanwhile, I’ll probably be tweeting more as it takes less time. My twitter feed is here.


Good read on Kenya and Pakistan attacks over the weekend

This is a worth a read if one is struggling to make sense of the deadly attacks that happened in Pakistan and Kenya over the weekend.

As Ahmed points out, actions by foreign governments against Muslim people are causing reactions. The US government in Pakistan and Kenya defense force in Somalia.

What happened in Nairobi and Peshawar was quite different. In Peshawar, the Taliban group responsible for the attack declared that they had committed the suicide bombing of All Saints Church in revenge for American drone strikes in the Tribal Areas. A Taliban statement read, “Until and unless drone strikes are stopped, we will continue to strike wherever we will find an opportunity against non-Muslims.” In Kenya, al Shabab announced its assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi as revenge for the 2011 Kenyan military invasion to oust al Shabab from control of southern Somalia, where Kenyan troops are still stationed. An al Shabab spokesman stated, “Either leave our country or live with constant attacks.

Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, DC and the former Pakistani Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Harrison Akins is the Ibn Khaldun Chair Research Fellow at American University’s School of International Service and served as the senior researcher for Ambassador Ahmed’s latest book The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam (Brookings 2013).


Work commitments have been full-on and as a result, blogging has taken a back seat. We are working on some exciting new thematic research products at ETM, which I am focusing on. So expect blogging traffic on the site to be a lot slower than usual. My twitter feed is likely to be a bit fuller than the blog.

Testing New Blog Theme

I will be testing a new blog theme or two over the weekend to find one that I’m happy accommodates readers on mobile devices. I felt the prior theme wasn’t good for mobile readers.

Comments or suggestions welcome below, if you wish (thanks).

PS. I found a solution without needing to change the normal web browser layout (that’ll have to happen in the future), but readers with smartphones will find the blog has an adapted look and feel suited to the device.

How Long To Crack Your Online Passwords?

I’ve just read two interesting articles about the internet and online passwords worth taking note of.

  1. The NSA (US government), with a tool called “XKeyscore” collects “nearly everything a user does on the internet.”

    They can see the websites you’ve visited, can monitor your messages and activity on social media, and see all your past emails.
  2. Passwords are apparently really easy to crack with modern password cracking technology. According to crypto experts Silent Circle, my online banking password would take 8 hours to crack (not long enough for my comfort zone, so I’ve strengthened it to one that’ll take centuries to crack).

    Click here and enter your password to see how long it will take to crack your passwords. Don’t worry about entering a username or anything else.

Apart from using a highly complex password that’s difficult to remember by using a tool such as Entima random password generator, Simon Black explains what you can do (after the fold):

Continue reading

Parkhurst Businessman Thrown In Jail For Questioning Parking Ticket

The Parkhurst business man who, in this video is shown resisting being called a “criminal” for exceeding his parking time limit and after being confronted by not one or two, but nine metro cops in the otherwise peaceful suburb of Parkhurst, was thrown in jail for a night and day and not given the option of bail when he appeared in court.

While Parkhurst residents are, in addition to the taxes they’re paying to a government police force to keep them safe, spending an additional R600 per month to employ the services of Parksec and Cortac to patrol their neighbourhood and protect against crime (not to mention insurance premiums) this is hugely antagonistic and will fuel a hatred for the police force, and is also likely to stoke racial tensions.

I am still of the view that one day, hopefully soon, private security companies will extend their services to protect the people against these thugs in government uniform.

Who The Hell Is Robert Wenzel From Really?

clb note: Only readers of will really find this post interesting, so I’ve snipped it in half. Click the link to read the rest.

Tim Swanson, author of Great Wall of Numbers: Business Opportunities and Challenges in China, has just e-mailed me the following:

Chris, did a lot more digging and investigation.  Robert Wenzel does not exist, his real name is Raymond Nize and he has several other aliases and a different life altogether:

But first, here’s some context to what I’m about to post. When I first heard of Robert Wenzel and started following his blog, and before I subscribed to his economic commentary the EPJ Daily Alert, I did background checks on him from my desktop. I could not find a single interview, either television, radio, or newspaper based, that he had ever done. He claimed he worked at a hedge fund on Wall Street for over 20 years, but again, no record of that. His avatar on his blog is also of a guy with his head cropped off. I found it a bit strange, but nevertheless, his economic commentary was solid and he was prolific at churning out analysis on the blog.

Following Wenzel’s “debate” with Stephan Kinsella on intellectual property, Stephan has repeatedly asked the question on his facebook page, who is this guy (Robert Wenzel) really, and is that even his real name? Well, clearly Kinsella is onto something. Continue reading