Golding just has the golden touch

For­mer MP and me­dia mogul turns his hand to non-profit tu­ition

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ROBIN ADAMS

MAR­CEL Golding is one of the coun­try’s most re­spected busi­ness­men.

The for­mer politi­cianturned me­dia mogul has earned his stripes in both the po­lit­i­cal and busi­ness sec­tors.

He also helped build freeto-air chan­nel e.tv into a multi­bil­lion-rand op­er­a­tion.

But since his much­pub­li­cised de­par­ture from e.tv as its chief ex­ec­u­tive in 2014, the Capeto­nian has kept out of the me­dia spot­light.

His life, though, has been an in­ter­est­ing one. Golding, 56, grew up in Craw­ford dur­ing the 1960s. He at­tended Belthorn Pri­mary and Alexan­der Sin­ton High, which he de­scribes as “a very pres­ti­gious sport­ing school, but also a good aca­demic school in that it pro­duced quite a lot of top stu­dents”.

As a teenager, Golding dreamt of be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional foot­baller. “I played top soc­cer. By the age of 15, I played WP and South African schools,” he said.

But in 1975, his dream was shat­tered af­ter he broke his leg: “I was walk­ing and then a car whipped me off the road on the kerb in Thorn­ton Road. I was very lucky.

“That put pay to my dreams of be­com­ing a foot­baller. And then I fo­cused on my aca­demics.”

In 1976, Golding be­came the pres­i­dent of the stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive coun­cil at Alexan­der Sin­ton. A year later, he en­rolled at the Univer­sity of Cape Town. “At the time, stu­dents (of colour) were still re­quired to have a per­mit,” he said.

“I stud­ied the most fa­mous sub­ject at the time called CAGL – Com­par­a­tive African Gov­ern­ment and Law.

“I com­pleted my stud­ies there, I tu­tored for a while at univer­sity, then went into the union move­ment via writ­ing for the South African Labour Bul­letin, which at the time was a pres­ti­gious jour­nal.

“I started as the ed­i­tor of the labour union news­pa­per in 1985.”

In 1986, Golding was elected as deputy sec­re­tary­gen­eral of the Na­tional Union of Minework­ers, and was re-elected twice.

In 1993, he was asked by Pallo Jor­dan to help with the ANC elec­tion cam­paign for the fol­low­ing year.

Golding wrote speeches for Nel­son Man­dela, and spent most of his time “on the cam­paign trail (in the lead up to the elec­tions)”.

“I trav­elled most week­ends with Madiba around the coun­try. In 1994, when I was elected by our union to be the one can­di­date to go to Par­lia­ment, I went with the 20 Cosatu can­di­dates that went to Par­lia­ment,” he said.

Golding left the minework­ers’ union in 1994 and be­came a MP.

He served as chair­per­son of the min­ing and en­ergy com­mit­tee un­til 1997, as well as the chair­per­son of the au­dit com­mis­sion.

Golding es­tab­lished the Minework­ers In­vest­ment Com­pany and as­sumed the role of chair­per­son.

“I left with Johnny Cope­lyn. He was the Sactwu (South­ern African Cloth­ing and Tex­tile Work­ers Union) guy. We both left Par­lia­ment to list the first trade union-con­trolled in­vest­ment com­pany on the JSE,” he said.

In 1998, Golding set his sights on the me­dia-busi­ness world. He helped es­tab­lish a con­sor­tium be­fore or­gan­is­ing a bid for e.tv. It re­ceived the green light to broad­cast later that year.

“When we won the (broad­cast­ing) li­cence, I was the deputy chair of the con­sor­tium (who owned

How­ever, his more in­ter­est­ing ac­qui­si­tion has been a univer­sity, Cor­ner­stone In­sti­tute, a pri­vate, non-profit higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tion in Wood­stock.

“At the time when I was ap­proached it was in fairly deep fi­nan­cial trou­ble. And then we de­cided to take it, with all its prob­lems and obli­ga­tions, and try to turn it around,” Golding said. “We are in the midst of work­ing on it. It’s not an easy thing to do. Partly be­cause it is not for profit.

“But I am con­fi­dent that, over time, we will turn it around. We have a new CEO and we’ve got a very dy­namic man­age­ment and board.”

He said the fo­cus of the univer­sity is to pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents from dis­ad­van­taged ar­eas.

“It is part of a phil­an­thropic ini­tia­tive that we have taken to try to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple in the nor­mal course who would not have op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Golding said.

“Let’s take the sta­tis­tics, for ex­am­ple, from Mitchells Plain.

“There are over 200 chil­dren that have univer­sity ca­pac­ity, prob­a­bly have the ex­emp­tion, but do not have the fi­nan­cial means or the con­fi­dence to want to go on to study fur­ther.

“It is funded by stu­dents to an ex­tent, it is also sup­ported by peo­ple who give bursaries. We give a num­ber of bursaries a year.”

Cor­ner­stone In­sti­tute, though, is not just for dis­ad­van­taged stu­dents, he added.

“It is also for peo­ple who may be ex­cep­tion­ally gifted but a big univer­sity is not ap­pro­pri­ate for them, they need more in­di­vid­ual at­ten­tion,” Golding said.

“So be­cause our univer­sity is small, that is in­creas­ingly a ne­ces­sity; they are not just a num­ber at this col­lege, they ac­tu­ally have a per­son­al­ity.

“We know who they are, we know their cir­cum­stances, and the type of in­di­vid­ual at­ten­tion given to them is dif­fer­ent to what’s given at a univer­sity where there are thou­sands of stu­dents study­ing the pro­gramme.”

When he is not fo­cused on his var­i­ous busi­ness ven­tures or phil­an­thropic en­deav­ours, Golding dotes on his sev­enyear-old twins, Liam and Erin, with his part­ner Bron­wyn Keene-Young, a for­mer chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer at e.tv.

And Golding’s recipe for suc­cess? “Hard work, hon­esty and per­se­ver­ance are the keys to build­ing sus­tain­able in­sti­tu­tions,” he said.

‘I trav­elled most

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