The washing powder wars

This article first appeared on / Author: Prelene Singh

JOHANNESBURG – An interesting generation gap may not lie in the area of technological advancements and the advent of social media but in a much more traditional space, that of laundry.

With the aggressive entry of new players to the market, the landscape for cleaning agents such as liquid soap and washing powder has dramatically changed in recent times.

Over the last six months brand managers have noticed a significant drop in the price of washing powder on the shelves.

Charmaine Lodewyk, General Manager at Brand Leadership, says Unilever brands in particular are facing significant competition.

“With the entrance of Maq and Ariel consumers have more choice than they did before.”

Manufacturers now have to fight for shelf space by implementing price cuts in order to sell their product.

Omo, Surf, Skip and Sunlight as well as no-name house brands are no longer leading the pack.

These older brands, which were the go-to brands for our parents and grandparents, are now being forced to up their game in the race for market share.

It seems that traditional brands, which have lived in the homes of their customers for a very long time, are losing ground to newer products.

Lodewyk says today’s consumers are more concerned about their pockets than brand loyalty.

“Most people are brand conscious and brand loyal, but I think now they vote with their pockets. We buy what we can afford.”

Listen to the full interview on the Midday Report.

ANCYL investigates missing millions

This article first appeared on Author: Prelene Singh


JOHANNESBURG – The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) said on Thursday they were still investigating the millions of rands in assets which expelled President Julius Malema said the organisation owned.

The money is unaccounted for and the organisation has been investigating the issue for more than a year.

Mzwandile Masina, the convener of the national task team running the ANCYL, was asked on the Midday Report whether they are any closer to explaining where the money went or what it was spent on.

Masina said now that the organisation was clear from legal restraints, they would be meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the matter and take further necessary steps.

Expelled ANCYL President Julius Malema.

Operation of the youth league has been hampered since it was provisionally liquidated in November last year by the High Court, with it in the red to the tune of R15 million.

According to the court the debt was accumulated under the leadership Malema as a result of unsettled payments for a conference held in 2008 where he was elected.

Masina pointed out that after the provisional liquidation the Youth League had to attain permission from the courts in every decision they took.

The league’s national task team coordinator Magasela Mzobe said the league was shocked by the provisional liquidation.

“If not contested it could have led to the liquidation of the African National Congress. We are therefore studying the verdict in order to determine our next step.”

The league’s national task team coordinator Magasela Mzobe (right).

Yesterday an application to have the ANCYL liquidated was withdrawn in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria after a last-minute settlement was reached with an events company.

The league was due to motivate why it should not be liquidated today but its legal team announced a settlement with Z2 Presentations and Palanquin Hospitality Management.

The ANCYL owed the companies around R17 million in bills for a 2008 elective conference but it would not disclose how much it had agreed to pay in the deal.

Masina says the agreement is confidential and the ANC did not give them any money.

“The matter was settled out of court and it doesn’t necessarily mean that there was payment involved. So we want to keep the nature of the deal confidential.”

He described the liquidation application as the league’s biggest hurdle and says it could now return to organisational work.

Listen to full interview: Click here.

Khadija Patel: Justice on trial

Khadija Patel. Picture: Supplied.

Khadija Patel. Picture: Supplied.

An article by Khadija Patel on the Oscar Pistorius Trial. Khadija Patel is a writing fellow at the University of Witwatersrand’s Institute for Social and Economic Research (Wiser).


With the Oscar Pistorius trial, it’s not the South African justice system on trial.

“Is it still not over?” an exasperated court official asked me as I sat down next to the water cooler outside his office at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court. The Oscar Pistorius bail hearing had captured the world’s attention, and it had also sent reporters like me to narrow corridors of the court, searching out a plug and some silence, to file a story.

I smiled apologetically to him.

The circus would go on for another day at least.

“You see,” he said gesturing at the queue of people sitting on a wooden bench ahead of us, “We deal with vulnerable people in this section of the court, and this racket is not helping us do our job.”

I nodded in understanding, slinking back against the cold, brick wall, aware that I was as much the problem as the noisy scrum of photographers a few meters away.

And why exactly were we there anyway?

Earlier that day, another court official had asked me, “So, every time we have a murder case, can we expect all of you here again?”

I offered a coy smile in response to that too, unsure why it was so important for me to be there, to cover this particular bail hearing and not any other.

And as I spied the queue of people on the wooden bench, speculating what had brought them there, breathing the muggy, unforgiving air of the fourth floor of a Pretoria court house, I wondered what exactly made them “vulnerable”. I was forced to confront the reality of other people’s problems, but I also had to be oblivious to them. As though the only thing worthy of my attention in that entire courtroom, the only case that merited my presence, involved Oscar Pistorius.

Sitting cross-legged on the dusty floor, these questions were an unwanted distraction, an unwelcome intrusion, much like the French radio reporter who had just asked if she could share the plug point.

I had a story to file.

More than one year later, I’m still not sure why it was so important for me to be there, telling the story of that bail hearing, rushing to file that story.

The inimitable celebrity of Oscar Pistorius is the most obvious answer, but it is not the whole answer.

And now, with a trial one Sunday paper has billed, “South Africa’s OJ Simpson” moment, those two remarks from the Magistrates Court officials are a pertinent commentary, a valid observation of media behaviour throughout the last year.

There’s no denying this trial makes for a great story. It will have a definite beginning, a middle and an end. There is a victim and a potential villain. The protagonists are clearly defined. The twists and turns will not be predictable. The criteria for a great story are all satisfied, and journalists, in all their guises are essentially storytellers.

But as this story unravels on our television screens, Twitter feeds and radio waves in pockets of sensationalism, some argue that the attention riveted on the Oscar Pistorius trial is valuable as an analysis of the state of the South African criminal justice system.

These attempts to justify the attention for this particular trial and not any of the other hundreds of murder trials that pass through our courts, however, deny the relevance of the courts to our everyday lives.

Whether it is a traffic violation to settle, or maintenance money to chase, the courts do touch our lives. It is not some distant institution that deals with other people’s problems. It handles our problems. It impacts our lives every day and not just when a wealthy sportsman finds himself hauled before a judge.

This trial, however, is not the test of the South African judicial system.

It is Oscar Pistorius on trial for the premeditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp. It is not the South African judicial system. Because whatever shambles the courts are (allegedly) in, the true reality of the judicial system will not be exhibited in the Pretoria High Court for the next few weeks. Pistorius will not be denied a fair trial. If anything, more attention will be paid to the mechanics of justice to ensure our justice system does not exhibit weakness.

The real test of the South African judicial system lies in those murder cases we’ll never hear about, those “vulnerable” people queuing on the wooden bench, the people passing through the court rooms every day whose stories do not make for compelling television. The real tests of the South African judicial system are ignored.

From flames to fiery opposition, protests rock Ukraine, Venezuela, Thailand


I thought I would post this story I came across this morning while catching up on my morning news. This is a fluent and comprehensive round-up of what is happening in the world around us, as we speak. Protests do not only happen in South Africa, they are world wide. The protests in Ukraine have looked medieval at times, and this is disturbing not to mention earth shaking when you see the situation people all over the world are in.  

Its a good read and I hope it changes the way you view your world. 




(CNN) — Demonstrators pack public squares. Flames shoot into the air. Tear gas sends crowds scrambling.

Dramatic scenes are unfolding during anti-government protests in three disparate countries this week, on three different continents.

The images are striking, and things are heating up quickly. What’s happening on the ground?

Here’s a cheat-sheet guide to the protests in Ukraine, Venezuela and Thailand:

Clashes in Kiev, Bangkok and Caracas


Photos: Ukraine protests turn deadlyPhotos: Ukraine protests turn deadly

What are protesters’ demands?

Who’s a better economic ally, Europe or Russia? That’s the key issue at the heart of Ukraine’s protests.Demonstrators want the government to forge closer ties with Europe and turn away from Russia.

But the dispute is also about power. Many in the opposition have called for the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych and the ordering of new elections. And both on the streets and in parliament, they’ve also pushed to alter the government’s overall power structure, feeling that too much of it rests with Yanukovych and not enough with parliament.

Who’s protesting?

An opposition coalition has been leading the charge against Yanukovych and his allies.

On CNN iReport, protesters and onlookers have shared more than 100 photos and videos of clashes between demonstrators and police. The nighttime images are especially striking — figures aresilhouetted against large bonfires set alight in the streets.

When did demonstrations start?

In November, thousands spilled onto the streets after Yanukovych did a U-turn over a trade pact with the European Union that had been years in the making — with Yanukovych favoring closer relations with Russia instead.

What’s the latest?

Long-simmering tensions exploded anew in Ukraine as clashes between police and anti-government protesters left more than 25 people dead and the capital’s central square on fire into early Wednesday.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will raise the possibility of sanctions against the Ukrainian government in remarks in Paris, a senior administration official told CNN.

Also Wednesday, French President Francois Hollande said the violence and crackdowns in Ukraine are “unspeakable, unacceptable, intolerable acts.” “Those who committed violent acts have to know they will be sanctioned,” Hollande said.

Photos: Protests erupt in VenezuelaPhotos: Protests erupt in Venezuela


What are protesters’ demands?

Demonstrators are demanding better security, an end to goods shortages and protected freedom of speech.

They blame Venezuela’s government, led by President Nicolas Maduro, for those problems. Maduro and other officials blame the opposition for the country’s security and economic problems.

Who’s protesting?

Many demonstrators across the country are students. Prominent opposition politicians have also led protests and joined marches.

Since February 13, more than 1,100 images have been uploaded to iReport, CNN’s user-generated platform. Many of the videos and photos are gruesome and depict violent scenes between demonstrators and police.

When did demonstrations start?

Nationwide student protests started this month. On February 12, the demonstrations drew global attention after three people were killed.

What’s the latest?

As throngs of supporters chanted their support, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez turned himself in to authorities Tuesday. He faces charges of terrorism and murder connected with violence during the protests. Lopez has denied the charges. Maduro, meanwhile, has called members of the opposition fascists and compared them to an infection that needs to be cured.

Photos: Protests in Thailand\'s national electionPhotos: Protests in Thailand’s national election


What are protesters’ demands?

Protesters in Bangkok have been calling for months for the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whom they allege is a puppet of her billionaire brother, the deposed, exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Who’s protesting?

Opposition to Thaksin and Yingluck is strongest among the urban elites and middle class. That’s why the demonstrations have been concentrated in Bangkok. The protesters want to replace Yingluck’s government with an unelected “people’s council” to see through electoral and political changes.

Thailand residents and visitors have shared dozens of stories of unrest on CNN iReport over the past month. The latest approved photos show demonstrators sleeping in the streets in Bangkok as a form of peaceful protest.

When did demonstrations start?

Protests began in November after Yingluck’s government tried to pass an amnesty bill that would have paved the way for her brother’s return to the political fray.

What’s the latest?

Deadly violence erupted in the heart of Bangkok Tuesday as anti-government protesters clashed with police, and the country’s anti-corruption commission filed charges against the Prime Minister.


[GALLERY] The Rocky Horror Show visited Talk Radio 702

The Rocky Horror Show visited Talk Radio 702 a few weeks ago. Dominique Maher and Brendan van Rhyn were in studio talking to Jenny-Crwys Williams about their theatre production now showing at the Montecasino Theatro.

These are a few photo’s I took of them in studio.

[VIDEO] #702Unplugged with Lloyd Cele

I had the opportunity to meet the talented and humble Lloyd Cele. You might know him as one of the contestants from South African Idols.

He joined Xolani Gwala on the Afternoon Drive on Talk Radio 702. I filmed this video of him performing in studio.

He is an amazing talent coming out of South Africa and someone we definitely need to look out for.