We spoke from his office in Johannesburg. Our discussion covers the recent student protests, racism in our culture and on our campuses, #feesmustfall and higher education funding. WARNING: There is some explicit language in this interview.
Professor Adam Habib is the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, and has served in this position as from the 1st of June 2013.
He is an academic, an activist, an administrator, and a renowned political media commentator and columnist.
A Professor of Political Science, Habib has more than 30 years of academic, research, institutional and administration expertise. His experience spans five universities and multiple local and international institutions, boards and task teams
Professor Habib holds qualifications in Political Science from three universities including the University of Natal and Wits. He earned his masters and doctoral qualifications from the Graduate School of the City University of New York.
Gareth obtained a Masters degree in sociology at Wits University before moving to Cape Town in 2001 and, for the next ten years, worked for the Democratic Alliance in South Africa’s parliament. Among other things, he oversaw the party’s research and communications, as an Executive Director. At the beginning of 2013 he left the party and moved into journalism. He now writes a column for the Business Day and works as a Senior Reporter for the Sunday Times. He has published two books. The first, Clever Blacks, Jesus and Nkandla: The real Jacob Zuma in his own words (2014), was a collection of controversial quotes from South African President Jacob Zuma that reveal his private convictions and beliefs. His second book, Holy Cows: The Ambiguities of Being South African, was released by Tafelberg in 2015.
I sat down with John Purchase to talk about the state of the agriculture industry in South Africa. We cover the current crippling drought, El Nino, GMO crops, the state of food security and policy decisions around land reform. Plus – Should we be farming Rhinos!
I must point out I spoke to John in early December 2015 so some of the comments about future rain are based on the interview date. As many listeners will know the hoped for rain did not fall and the drought has worsened over the country.
John is currently CEO of the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) of South Africa, having been appointed to the position in 2007. Prior to taking up the position with Agbiz, he was the CEO of Grain South Africa. He started his professional career as a scientist in South Africa’s Agricultural Research Council (ARC).
John was appointed to the Board of the Land & Agricultural Bank of South Africa in July 2012, as well as appointed as Council Member to the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) by the South African Cabinet. John is the current chairman of the CEO Forum, a forum of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in which the CEO’s and MD’s of agribusinesses and organized agriculture meet with the Minister and senior executives of DAFF (government) to address the critical and strategic challenges facing the broader agricultural, forestry and fisheries industries of South Africa.
He serves on various Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) committees and NEDLAC task teams with regard to policy and legislation matters impacting on the agro-food industry, such as co-operatives legislation, consumer protection legislation (GM labelling), climate change and carbon tax policy, land reform policy and legislation, spatial planning and land use management legislation and expropriation legislation.
Among other awards, he received the 2011 Alumnus of the Year award from the University of the Free State, as well as the 2012 South African Agriculturalist of the Year Award from the South African Agricultural Writers Association. In June 2013 he was also elected to the Board of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association.
We also discuss why we aren’t governed like a normal G20 country, why the specific reasons for his sacking don’t really matter, why we have never been serious about fiscal reform, what this means for our sovereign rating and where we go from here. It’s not all doom and gloom however with both guests finding some silver lining in our current plight.
This week I discuss the racial situation in South Africa with Scott Burnett.
We discuss the racial inequalities in our country, the problem of White Privilege and an analysis of offence. Plus why some Save the Rhino bumper stickers are racist.
Scott has worked for many years for loveLife; a national youth leadership development organisation where he developed a strong interest in social change and youth leadership. In 2003 he was selected as a Clinton Democracy Fellow for his work on citizen service.
He holds and honours in English Literature and Philosophy from Rhodes university and a Masters in Philosophy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
He is currently a PhD candidate at the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies where his focus area is critical whiteness studies with a specific research into the influence of whiteness on environmental discourse.
This week on ZAR I discuss the state of the nation with Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela.
We discuss why we are headed for a crisis if we don’t change course, why the size of the state has increase corruption, why we still have a robust and independent judiciary and why millennials are the hope for the future of the country.
Advocate Madonsela is the Public Protector of South Africa, a position she has occupied for over 6 years. The 3Rd Public Protector and first woman to occupy the position, Adv Madonsela was appointed by the President with effect from 15 October 2009 following a unanimous vote by all parties represented in Parliament.
Advocate Madonsela is also a Human Rights Lawyer and Equality Expert and is one of the 11 technical experts who helped the Constitutional Assembly draft the final constitution in 1994 and 1995.
Since Advocate Madonsela took office, the Public Protector as a constitutional institution has tackled tough questions and has received unprecedented national and international recognition, which has included her being recognized by Time Magazine as one of the world’s most influential people in 2014.
Neil joined me on the line from Cape Town in the midst of the #feesmustfall student campaign. We discuss the future of trade unions, why we need a national minimum wage, how to cultivate a patriotic business sector and why COSATU is the ANC’s most vociferous critic.
Neil is Strategies Co-ordinator in the COSATU Secretariat. He has been active in various community organisations, and anti-apartheid formations such as the United Democratic Front, and trade union organisations, in particular the Congress of South African Trade Unions, over the last three and a half decades.
Neil has worked for COSATU since 1989 and has co-ordinated several departments in COSATU over this period, including COSATU’s parliamentary office and communications department.
His current role involves giving strategic advice to the COSATU Secretariat, as well as coordinating various teams of experts for the federation, including working with the country’s top progressive economists.
Since January 2015 he has been tasked with leading the delegation of three Labour Federations (COSATU, Nactu and Fedusa) in negotiations on the introduction of a National Minimum Wage in South Africa, through the Wage Inequality Task Team of Nedlac.