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Financial Mail - - YOU SAID... - Zane Johns Ndayi Si­mon Pre­ston David Con­radie Mpilo Mamiza Leslie Lethubuhle Keith Mor­ris Kim Sales Ro­mano Mar­gon Cobus Saun­der­son Michael von Blerk Ky­mon Gian­nakopou­los Hi­lary Mur­ray Cal­lie Cil­liers Em­manuel Mt­shali Ser­ape Thabiso T Man

Why has Mass­mart failed to live up to the ex­pec­ta­tions un­leashed af­ter US re­tail gi­ant Wal­mart bought half the com­pany five years ago?

Usu­ally when com­pa­nies in­vest abroad they use their base na­tional busi­ness to sub­sidise mar­ket en­try and cheaper pric­ing in the new coun­tries they com­pete in. The strat­egy of com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in SA is con­trary to this, with a bla­tant strat­egy of rip­ping off cus­tomers on price and qual­ity at ev­ery step of the process.

Even lo­cally pro­duced and man­u­fac­tured items are sold far cheaper abroad than na­tion­ally — fuel and ve­hi­cles, for ex­am­ple. And im­ported goods are worse, with many im­porters bring­ing in sec­ond- or third-tier-rated items and sell­ing them at first-tier prices. They are try­ing to change some­thing that was work­ing. Cen­tral­is­ing ev­ery­thing.

Du­bi­ous pro­cure­ment, in­flated costs, wasted mil­lions and ru­mours of cor­rup­tion — how a project meant to over­haul Mashish­ing’s elec­tri­cal in­fra­struc­ture turned bad.

There was a time in SA when we could build all our own stuff, on time, on bud­get.

Yes — when we were a pariah na­tion forced into iso­la­tion. And don’t look back too nos­tal­gi­cally. There was plenty of cor­rup­tion then — just dif­fer­ent ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

CEO Stephen Saad says the good days are not over for Aspen, point­ing out that the com­pany makes R1bn in profit ev­ery month.

Surely that level of profit is ex­tra­or­di­nary and shows how we’re get­ting ripped off as con­sumers? It’s no won­der health care is un­af­ford­able.

Dear Mr Saad. We get re­wards based on the share price. Only em­ploy­ees get in­di­rectly re­warded for things like “R1bn in profit ev­ery month”. And that is be­fore we pay ridicu­lous medicine costs.

Shouldn’t Aspen take over As­cendis or Ad­cock In­gram?

The big­gest dis­ap­point­ment of Cyril Ramaphosa’s still-brief ten­ure in the high­est of­fice is the re­al­i­sa­tion that he’s in­ca­pable of overnight mir­a­cles.

1994 — needs time; 2008 — fi­nan­cial cri­sis, needs time; 2009-2017 — Anc-elected Zumoc­racy, needs time; Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan 2030 goals drafted in 2011 — needs time.

Time has al­ready run out.

A small group of Grootvlei gold min­ers have won what is pos­si­bly a pyrrhic vic­tory against the own­ers, in­clud­ing Khu­lubuse Zuma.

A hushed-up story that was just swept un­der the car­pet, much like the oil sale scan­dal was. Tick­tock, tick­tock. #Thetruth­n­ev­er­change­sor­goe­saway.

The risk of a pol­icy er­ror is high as SA con­tem­plates a fis­cal stim­u­lus pack­age to reignite growth, but with­out step­ping over im­por­tant bound­aries.

So they are con­tem­plat­ing spend­ing money that they don’t ac­tu­ally have avail­able? It’s too late to dis­cuss — it is hap­pen­ing at a dizzy pace. Hope the gam­ble pays off. Just be wary of the loot­ers in the shad­ows and crevices.

What hap­pened to Zuma’s nine-point plan?

The fact that Ramaphosa spoke out pub­licly sug­gests the Zuma fac­tion is run­ning out of oxy­gen.

It’s sad to see some of the se­nior mem­bers of such an old or­gan­i­sa­tion choos­ing a per­son over an or­gan­i­sa­tion. Lead­ers come and go, but our or­gan­i­sa­tions will still be there for many years. I won­der, at ANC “top six” meet­ings, how Ace Ma­gashule is able to look Cyril Ramaphosa in the eye.

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