Blog Archive

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


By: Zandile Mavuso
The Competition Commission of South Africa’s fast-track settlement for firms in the construction sector has resulted in more than 20 companies disclosing information pertaining to bid-rigging and collusion to date, which involves more than 130 projects.

“The process was designed for companies to disclose projects that were subject to anticompetitive conduct. Upon complying with the requirements, the commission will settle with participating firms by levying penalties,” explains Competition Commission of South Africa advocacy and stakeholder relations head Trudi Makhaya.

Last month, a daily business newspaper reported that four of the biggest construction companies in the country were tight-lipped about the probes into alleged collusion in major infrastructure projects and that these companies were cooperating with the commission in its investigation.

The investigation of by the South African Police Service’s directorate for priority crime investigation, commonly known as the Hawks, into the construction industry is a completely separate process from the commission’s fast-track settlement process.

“What is important is that the commission eliminates anticompetitive conduct and transforms the sector, especially during this time of [expanded government] infrastructure investment. We want the construction industry to be more vigilant to such acts, so that we can build a sector that encourages investment,” she explains.

Corporate Leniency Policy

Makhaya notes that underpinning the fast-track settlement process is the commission’s corporate leniency policy (CLP), which offers a cartel member the opportunity to disclose information about a cartel before further investigation reveals the extent of the misdemeanour, in return for immunity from prosecution and fines.

The CLP is applicable with respect to alleged cartels. A cartel refers to an agreement or concerted practice among competing firms, or a decision by an association of firms to coordinate their otherwise competitive behaviour, for instance, through conduct such as price fixing, the division or allocation of markets and/or collusive tendering.

This conduct typically constitutes a contravention of Section 4(1)(b) of the Competition Act.

Immunity in this context means that the commission would not seek a penalty from the successful applicant before the Competition Tribunal for its involvement in the cartel activity, which is part of the application under consideration.

The CLP is lenient in that the first cartel member that approaches the commission of its own accord and provides information that will result in proceedings against a cartel, will not be subjected to prosecution in relation to the alleged cartel, which forms part of the application under the CLP.

The granting of immunity under the CLP is not based on the fact that the applicant is viewed as less of a cartelist than the other cartel members, but on the fact that the applicant is the first to approach the commission with information and evidence regarding the cartel.

Therefore, a firm involved, implicated in or suspecting that it is involved in cartel activity, would be able to come forward of its own accord and confess to the commission in return for conditional immunity.

The immunity is confirmed at the end of the case process by the tribunal, if the firm is found to have fulfilled the requirements of the CLP.

Meanwhile, the commission notes the important role that National Treasury has played through its fraud [detection] policies, which have allowed for a more effective mandate.
The commission also provides training to State-owned enterprises, educating them on issues pertaining to anticompetitive conduct.

“Business Unity South Africa has also been instrumental in educating companies about competition law as part of its work programme. It has competition champions that maintain a keen interest in national and international developments in competition law. We hope to advise their member companies accordingly,” says Makhaya.

Future Plans
Makhaya states that competition law plays an important role in stimulating economic growth, development and employment creation.

“Competition law is crucial in supporting other policies set by government, as the law has the ability to transform different sectors by instilling the rules that promote fair competition. By advocating for competition and investigating anticompetitive conduct in different sectors, we will be able to promote economic growth,” she adds.

The commission is looking forward to its next strategic planning phase, when it will engage with stakeholders on work completed by the commission and find ways in which to improve. The commission also hopes that the planning phase will foster the identification of other sectors that require scrutiny in terms of competition law, in addition to the current priority areas.

The commission states that anticompetitive conduct is an international problem, which has caused welfare deficits in many countries. Therefore, the commission is actively involved in the African Competition Forum, an informal association of competition agencies across the continent, which it hopes will assist the countries to develop ways to eliminate anticompetitive conduct.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Teko Modise- crossing over doesn’t take the art away

By: Zandile Mavuso

If you are a diehard soccer fanatic like myself, you probably one of those people who understand the phenomenon behind the art of a soccer ball being juggled between the legs of a human being, doing wonders and spectacles that are just a marvel to watch.

I’m talking about the tsamayas, shibobos, show me your number and bicycle kicks that footballers across the globe display on the field of play. The ability to showcase such art and greatness has over the years brought people across the world together because of the common understanding and appreciation of the beautiful game. In all my years of existence, I have never seen so many people gather in stadiums, others glued to their television screens all in the name of soccer. Clearly there is something significant about this game that gives joy to those who stay loyal to it.

If one had to go into people’s homes, more specifically in South African townships, you will find that in seven out of ten houses, there will be a photo of Kazier Chiefs, Orlando pirates or Mamelodi Sundowns-just to name a few- used as part of their display in the living room. Soccer goes beyond just being about the 11 players battling it out against their respective counterparts. It has become more than just a matter of getting the ball into the back of the net. Soccer has become a way of life for many and an extension of their lives.

If this be the case, it is no surprise that Orlando Pirates’ fans booed the General, Teko Modise when he came on for Mamelodi Sundowns in an Absa Premiership clash between the two clubs on the 12thh of February. Modise having crossed floors a couple of weeks ago to the Brazilians, has been part of the Bucs’ family for a number of seasons which has seen his talent elevating the club and contributing to their achievements and wins. While at Pirates, he was voted player of the year in the Absa Premiership for two consecutive seasons. A real asset he has been to the black and white and like any child he leaves home to start a new life elsewhere, it is never easy on those who remain behind and to the one who has left. Regardless, the child has to be supported by those he left behind as leaving does not change who they are.

Teko Modise still remains one of the football wonders and talents that South African football has ever produced. Inheriting the nickname The General in itself is evidence enough that he is one of the greatest. His greatness does not lie in the kit he wears, but rather in his talents, which is what should be of importance to soccer lovers.

If it’s about the art of soccer and not about the kit that the players wear, why can’t we be supportive of the individuals and stop being critical of them? At the end of the day, the game still goes on and the rules still remain the same. And as for soccer, it will still be the beautiful game, irrespective of the team they play for.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Radio Studies

Radio Studies
At the beginning of the year, we were asked to write a journalistic philosophy that we were going to use as a guideline in the radio productions that we were to cover during the course of the year. After having produced different genres of radio productions, some of the points I mentioned in my public philosophy have been altered and some have been enhanced as different situations have required different approaches that would ensure that the production is completed to the best of my abilities and also to get the message across.
In the philosophy, I had mentioned that Grahamstown is a small city geographically, which has dimensions of different classes of people within the same space. My aim was to give the marginalised, ‘powerless’ people the opportunity to be heard as I felt that journalism could serve to be instrumental in helping people. In the forth term, our JDD-CMP group was assigned to cover stories in Ward 4 which covers the Manley Flats area which is a rural area on the outskirts of Grahamstown. Using the idea of public deliberation by Haas (2007), we set out to get the community to talk about the issues that they go through on a daily basis. The idea was not for us to find the stories and report them in a mainstream-monitiorial form, but rather, to allow the public to tell their stories and for us to provide the platform for discussion. We took a facilitative role approach, which Christians (2009: 126) highlights that it ‘promotes inclusiveness, pluralism and collective purpose... help to develop a shared moral framework for community and society’. Therefore, taking up the idea of public journalism helped enhance my purpose of helping the marginalised and allowing them to fit into the idea of democracy.

Glasser (1992: 176) thinks of objectivity as an ideology that is enforced on journalist to orient them into the running of the newsroom. The experience during the JDD-CMP course also enhanced the idea of objectivity that I had said: ‘I view objectivity as a euphemistic term that is used in our journalistic field so that we follow certain criteria. A journalist is bound to produce subjective content as there comes a time where your own knowledge is the only thing that you can rely on’. After listening to the problems that the people had in Ward 4, the initial role of facilitating shifted a bit to a more radical role because of the intensity of the conditions that the people were living in. The project became a subjective matter in that I felt as though I could do something to help the people solve their problems as I had a powerful instrument of change to my advantage which was the media. The radical role as described by Christians (2009: 126) aims at exposing power abuse so that there could be change in society. The people in ward 4 had mentioned that the ward councillor had been made aware of their water crisis and has promised them that he would help change their situations but has failed to do so after years of being informed with the problem. As a journalist, I took up a partisan approach to the story as the matter at hand needed to be advocated so that change could take place.

Given my experience through the stories that I covered during the year, being exposed to different forms of journalisms, my approach has been altered slightly from what I initially wrote in my philosophy. Dealing with people from different backgrounds who have diverse needs has made me realize that as a journalist, one has to acquire every kind of skill and have a basic understanding of all forms of journalisms that exists. Situations require certain reactions from the journalism profession.
Opportunities in South African Radio
Radio in South Africa is still one of the most popular forms of media and people are still loyal to. It reaches and appeals to different people based on class and race. The media landscape in South African broadcasting is divided into three-tiers namely: commercial, public and community radio tiers.
Commercial radio is aimed at attracting advertising to audiences, e.g. MetroFM and 702. Public radio is aimed at building democracy and serving the interests of the nation, e.g. SAFM which is under the SABC. Community radio is also aimed at building democracy but its emphasis is more on building strong relationships in particular communities. Community radio also emphasises the participation of the community in the production of the content.
Within the radio landscape, I see myself working in public radio such as SAFM which is a station that predominately cover current affairs news, issues that people are faced up with on a daily basis. The reason behind this is because I believe that our country is in need for democratic deepening where people could be able to share their stories on a national stage so that change and development could be forced to take place. Civil society has been marginalised by the concentration and power dominance of the political society. The state-society relationship no longer exists thus proving to be unfavourable to the concept of democracy. As it is now, democracy is just a concept that looks good on the constitution but has failed to live up to its name in practice.
At the moment, the issues and stories that are covered at SAFM appeal to the middle class and upper class as they understand the language and the issues are realistic to them. What the station has failed to produce is content that appeals to the lower class which is largely illiterate thus their vocabulary is limited. Therefore, packages should vary and alternate within the 11 official languages in the country. By so doing, more and more people are able to relate and join in the discussions that affect their lives. People do not participate in certain issues that affect society because they feel isolated and marginalised because of the class and social stratifications that exist in our country. If anything, public radio should embrace diversity by getting people to deliberate on these issues for development to be practical and for the state-society relationship to exist.
In recent times, the SABC has been forced to depend on the government for financial support as they have not been able to sustain themselves in that regard. This financial dependence has meant that politics have dominated the content produced and thus have shifted the focus of nation building and has become a ‘government building’ media house. Pushing development journalism which aims at telling stories from the grassroots up and thus establishing collaboration with the state has failed in recent times because of the dominance of the state on content. The SABC has been accused of pushing the political agendas of the dominant party and thus content being bias. The mutual trust and partnership that public radio was initially meant to be built on has failed to live up to its purpose.
By producing stories that would ensure a larger listenership would be beneficial to the public in that, it would make them feel part of the greater purpose of democracy. Current affairs issues covering stories from all dynamics of class stratification would thus help people understand the kind of challenges and difficulties that others in society are faced up with. If more people listen to SAFM, civil society would get involved in issues that affect them and thus the power that the political society has can to be renegotiated and regulated. The audience have the power to change their relationship with the state. By assuming a facilitative role of producing content that deals with their issues, journalism can empower the public to take responsibility in our democracy.
The masses in South Africa are the poor but they are not empowered to challenge the state. If my approach is aimed at including the lower class in reviving democracy through participation, journalism could serve to be a catalyst that connects the people to the state. By establishing that relationship will then allow democracy to be instrumental not only in status but in practice and development will be viable.

Reference List
1.      Christians, C. et al. 2009. ‘Roles of news media in democracy’ in  Normative theories of the media: journalism in democratic societies. University of Illinois Press: Urban
2.      Hass, T. 2007. ‘The emergence of public journalism’ and ‘A public philosophy for public journalism’ in The pursuit of public journalism: theory, practice and criticism. Routledge: New York.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Media Landscape


Broadcasting in South Africa has evolved over the past 20 years and has taken up policies and regulatory committees that aim at using the media to be the driving force behind democracy. In this essay, what will be discussed in length is the way in which South Africa’s broadcasting has changed over the years in radio broadcasting. The three tiers are going to be of importance and thus will be discussed densely.

The Three tiers of South African Broadcasting

Before 1994, there were three tiers of radio that existed, namely: commercial which was external to South African boarders, public which did not really exist as the SABC was and is still a state owned broadcaster. Community radio which had some stations that were broadcasting illegally and others were awarded licenses by Home Affairs (South African Broadcasting Landscape lecture slides). The IBA is a product of ‘civil society-led campaigns’ in the early 1990s which were concerned with the independence of broadcast. In 1992 at the Conference for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) the independent regulatory of broadcast media and telecommunication was agreed upon (Barnett; 1999: 650).

This meant change in the function of the three tier radios that existed. Commercial radio was aimed at attracting advertising to audiences, e.g. Metro Fm, 5FM etc. The challenge for the IBA was a matter of how they were going to use commercial radio broadcasting to incorporate black empowerment. How much privatisation were they willing to give to foreign investors at the expense of local citizens (Barnett; 1999: 657)?

Public radio was aimed at building democracy and serving the interests of the nation, e.g. SAFM which is under the SABC. This means that the SABC has to provide programming that will deal with all issues that affect the nation at large. Current Affairs shows that will celebrate the democracy that the country was trying to implement. This means that all the 11 official languages and all the different cultures that exist in the country should be catered for in programming.

Community radio was also aimed at building democracy but its emphasis on building strong relationships in particular communities Community radio also emphasises the participation of the community in the production of the content. Community radio licenses are given to radio stations that are: in geographical areas, campus based, religious groups and those targeting cultural & ethnic communities. (Olorunnisola; 2002: 131-132). By the end of 1999, there were about 65 licensed community radio stations in South Africa. Now the country has one of the most vibrant community radio stations in the whole continent (Olorunnisola; 2002: 126).

The Institutional context and frameworks of Production

In the three tiers that exist in radio broadcasting, the production of news is primarily what governs the way in which news and the institutional context is carried out. This means that the production of news in all three tiers differs based on the purpose they serve and as a matter of carrying out its objective.

When the IBA started issuing licences for radio broadcasting in 1994, community radio was a top priority. In issuing community radio licences, the IBA had four distinctive types of licenses they were issuing. Namely: stations that were serving in geographical areas, campus-based stations that would cater to student, different religious groups and radio stations that targeted cultural and ethnic communities (Olorunnisola; 2002: 131-132).

Bush Radio was issued with a geographical license as it aimed at catering for the community in the Cape Flats in Cape Town. Prerequisites of community radio stations are that they have to get the community involves in all their broadcasting. The community should be able to participate and get involved in issues that are addressed in the shows. In other words, the shows have to be participatory communication (Olorunnisola; 2002: 132). Thus programming at Bush Radio has been divided areas which deal with upliftment projects in the community for all members of the community. From infants to adults, they have scholarships and training programmes for the youth where they educate them. They also deal with human potential development where they teach the community how to evaluate and critic issues in and around them. Bush Radio also embrace shows that aim at enhancing local musicians in the area and also drama projects that exist in and around the area. Shows look at the challenges of all the people in the area, and create a discussion with the community through participation communication (

The SABC in 1996 took an economic decision to sell its radio stations which led to the first privatisation of radio broadcast in the country. High bidders such as Primedia and Newshelf 71 were amongst the many broadcasting companies that bought SABC radio stations. In so doing, radio became an entertainment and money making business. Thus the content of commercial radio stations being driven by advertising (Barnett; 2001: 657).

Privatization meant that the stations were to take on new policies that were to govern their broadcasting. The identity of 702 is based on the idea of having talk shows where listeners are expected to call in and develop a conversation with the presenters. They aim at challenging educated people in their mid 20s to early 40s. They include men and women from all races and look into a variety of shows that will cater for their target audience. The reason behind the ages of the target audiences could also be linked to advertising and who advertisers are targeting. Therefore, if 60 year olds were the target audience, this would do the advertisers no good as their products would not serve its purpose as it would be listened to by the wrong age group. Their content is primarily driven by advertisers because of the dependence of the advertising revenues for the existence of the station. Therefore, programming aims at attracting listeners who will appeal to advertisers which will mean more people knowing more about that which is advertised (

Reference List

1. Barnett, C.1999. The limits of media democratization in South

Africa: politics, privatization and regulation. Media, Culture & Society. SAGE Publications. London. Vol. 21: 649-671

2. Olorunnisola, A. 2002. Community Radio: Participatory Communication in

Postapartheid South Africa. Journal of Radio Studies. Vol. 9, No. 1.



Friday, May 14, 2010

Flu Vaccines Run Dry

With the shortage of flu vaccinations in pharmacies around the country. How are Grahamstonians going to protect themselves from the flu virus this winter? Zandile Mavuso Reports

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As It Is Round 2

Monday, May 10, 2010

Reflection on the podcast- AS IT IS

At first glance, I thought that creating a podcast was going to be a mission that will require a lot of time and effort. All I could think about was the number of sleepless nights and arguments that were going to arise as a result of disagreeing on the format, jingles, stories and so on.

The first big challenge was pitching the stories that we did and make them fit into the agency document that we drew up at the beginning of the year. Our stories had to be relevant, outside of campus and have that so what element to them. They had to be informative, educational and unbiased and show a thorough balance between all parties concerned. At times when you start pitching the story, all that was said and agreed upon on the agency document falls out the window as the prime objective is finding the story and the rest will follow afterwards. Unfortunately it never some of the things that fell out of the window did not come back in when I actually ran with the story.