By Devan Moonsamy, CEO of The ICHAF Training Institute ‘We used to look up to you!’ Student responds to KPMG’s disgraced partners Students want auditing professionals to speak to them directly on the issues ‘This is very serious in more ways than people will realise at first,’ says Issie, a young third-year student at NMMU in George, Western Cape. ‘You have let down the youth as well. It affects how we will be viewed in our jobs one day.’ Over the past few years, South African students (and indeed students worldwide) have shown just how fed up they are with their elders. The handling of responsibility and of funds have been major points of contention. It seems big private sector players can really let students down where it most hurts too. Initially, KPMG had to take disciplinary action for certain partners’ failure to declare financial interests. Shortly after this news broke, major clients, including Parliament, other government bodies, and Barclays Africa, cancelled contracts with the company. Meanwhile, that infamous name – Gupta – has also crawled out the woodwork, overseas KPMG shareholders are up in arms, and the company apparently isn’t sure whether it will continue to service the SA market in future. KPMG has thus begun a review of work completed over the last year and a half to identify the extent of the problem and they have promised to address everything. The big auditing group is seeking reform and ‘to put quality and integrity at the heart of the firm’ again. We wish KPMG the best of luck with that, and for the sake of those innocent parties (particularly other auditors and the broader public which KPMG directly and indirectly serves in many ways) it had better be done right and soon. What is the full extent of the damage caused by those who refuse to follow ethics codes in auditing? Some have said that there is also a certain arrogance and bad attitude about some in the auditing field, as though they believe their feet don’t touch . . .
Why Some Employees are Dishonest and How to prevent it. By Devan Moonsamy – CEO the ICHAF Training Institute Privy Paper Pilfering… One procurement officer from Gauteng was found to be buying incredible amounts of toilet paper with company money, most of which she was selling on. She did so for months before anyone noticed. Clearly, there was a serious lack of effective controls in place. Opportunity also played a role here. However, when asked why she did this, the procurement officer said her boss was abusive, and he refused to increase her salary, even though she had been working there for over 15 years. He apparently also embarrassed staff in front of others, refused to take care of his responsibilities, and made offensive sexist and racist remarks. The procurement officer was a good employee for years, and thus no one initially suspected her. Nevertheless, the point came where she could no longer bear the abuse and lack of adequate remuneration, and she wanted to get even. Stealing toilet paper is perhaps not such a big deal compared to what else she might have done in the absence of a suitable control system. It’s not right to steal, but we can see how the context of dishonesty can play a role. So, how can companies prevent such problems? Internal and external auditing, good recordkeeping, and security are all very well, but staff may still find ways to balance the scales or cheat the system if they are unhappy. They may simply not perform well in their jobs. Employee engagement and satisfaction are critical, as are communication skills and open channels for dialogue. Even if opportunities exist, employees are much less likely to steal if they are treated fairly and happy at work. Public Transport Picketing Prior to the recent nationwide bus strikes in SA, the bus drivers did appeal to their employers for better pay and conditions. Communication failed, and not just for a few workers, for many, which led them to take extreme action. All bus . . .
South Africans with Albinism Keep Shining Despite Discrimination By Devan Moonsamy – CEO the ICHAF Training Institute: Powerful messages are being sent about the reality of the condition, conscientising people, and making a real difference in fighting prejudices People who have the condition albinism have a complete or partial absence of skin, hair and eye pigment. It is considered a disability because of how it affects the person’s health. In Africa, people with albinism are subject to very poor treatment including discrimination and worse in some cases. There still exists a strong feeling among many today that lighter skin is better. This is very sad, and it’s somewhat surprising then that people with albinism are marginalised in African society. South Africans have been guilty of colour discrimination, we are no stranger to the problem. In the case of albinism among African people, they are often rejected, poorly treated in school and the community, and their family’s even fear for their lives. Just this year, a sangoma was charged with the kidnap and murder of two children with albinism. Shockingly, their bodies were to be used for muthi. The sangoma has been labelled a fraud and not a real practitioner of traditional African medicine and healing. Sangomas have struggled with a bad reputation because of those who use unethical and criminal methods. Most sangomas don’t do such things though. Government and sangomas themselves are trying to address these problems, maintain professionalism, and fight criminal elements. Awareness raising about the facts of albinism is critical, but there has been staunch opposition. It’s quite frightening to experience this first-hand, as I have in trying to address sangomas on the issue recently. Many also still believe that people with albinism and their families are bad luck or bewitched. People with albinism and other disabilities are often kept hidden away because their families are afraid. This is a problem . . .
Disabilities No Reason for Unemployment and Lack of Training by Devan Moonsamy – CEO the ICHAF Training Institute People living with disabilities face many challenges in finding work and in training as well, particularly regarding access. This is often as a result of misconceptions about disabilities. There are many types of disabilities, but most do not prevent a person from taking up employment, and there are ways to get around the obstacles associated with disabilities. A disability is something that prevents a person from doing something/s or functioning in the usual way that other people do. One may often find that people with disabilities (PWDs) learn to work around their disability, and it need not prevent them from entering the workplace provided they have opportunities and are not discriminated against. The SADC nations have collaboratively developed the Southern Africa Inclusive Education Strategy 2017-2021 (SAIES) for ensuring disabled children’s access to the education system. This is great news because, in the future, it will translate into adults with disabilities being better educated and more active in the economy. However, there are currently many adults with disabilities who are ready and able to enter learning and workplaces, but they do not get the chance. The SAIES prioritises inclusive quality education. It was developed directly as a result of concerns over research showing that it is economically irrational not to invest in educating PWDs and to not employ them. The challenges that a person faces should never prevent them from creating value in the way they can. It is critical for individual wellbeing as well as society’s wellbeing. We must never think that PWDs are incapable or helpless. Instead, we must adopt the attitude that PWDs, like everyone else, need employment opportunities and support. A growing number of companies offer learnerships to PWDs, which can be a highly successful means of ensuring their access to . . .
Are All White South Africans Racist? By Devan Moonsamy – CEO the ICHAF Training Institute Something which comes up during my diversity training sessions, and frequently in discussions among people of colour is the perception that white people are invariably racist. Some believe that Afrikaans white people are worse than the English-speakers. It would seem that this perception is based on how black people are treated. Just a look, just one single look, is often all it takes to send a clear message about how one is perceived. Just one look can cause so much pain and be highly offensive. This is to say nothing of gestures, speech and other actions. Racism can go in different directions, but people of colour are indeed often on the receiving end (Mabuza, 2017). However, I feel that perception and reality are not necessarily the same. It would be naïve to think that everything white people say and do in relation to others is racially motivated, but racism happens often enough for many South Africans to feel that way. So what is really happening in white culture? Whatever it is, at least some of it is offensive to people of colour. Are they all either outright or closeted racists? The answer is certainly no, and we will look at evidence for this. What we can affirmatively say is that all white people, often from a young age, are exposed to racist and biased views from parents, schoolmates, friends, colleagues, etc. What they do with these opinions is up to them. Upbringing determines much of our behaviour, but when we come of age, we are able to make up our own minds about various issues. It has been pointed out that, for example, the rape of women and children is not something the victims can bring an end to. It is up to men, as a group and as individuals, to police and correct one another so that women and children begin to feel safe around men, and so that we reach a place where men no longer feel they have to jump through hoops to secure a date. So too . . .
Rights commission formed to investigate abuses in SA religions In 2015, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (the CRL Rights Commission) began its investigation into the commercialisation of religion and other abuses happening in religious organisations in South Africa. Their investigation report was submitted to Parliament in June 2017. The report states, ‘Recent controversial news reports and articles in the media about pastors have left a large portion of society questioning whether religion has become a commercial institution or commodity to enrich a few’ (CRL Rights Commission, 2017: 4). In this article, I take a look abuse and corruption taking place within churches. It was not surprising that the Commission encountered resistance from religious groups that did not want to discuss how they are being run. Some religious groups are self-regulating and strive to adhere to high moral standards. They have better reputations. As a result, the Commission did not investigate certain religious groups, but focused on those who were raising red flags.Legal expert adviser to the Commission, Shadrack Gutto (2017) explained that our South African Constitution ‘provides for the rights of people belonging to a religious community to enjoy their religion and “to form, join and maintain religious associations”, but not “in a manner inconsistent with any provision of the Bill of Rights.”’ This is the critical aspect – we have many freedoms, but they must not trespass on the rights of others and go against laws protecting all parties in various aspects of social, religious and economic life. In some cases, religious leaders are unpaid volunteers, and others receive a modest living so that they can devote themselves fully to the faith and to helping people. Many religious leaders choose theology out of a strong desire to help others. However, the too close association between money and some religious . . .
Socioeconomic Inequalities in Schools - By Devan Moonsamy ‘Social justice starts at school’ – Prof. Yusuf Sayed (2016), Centre for International Teacher Education at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). In the US, the schooling system has for a long time been intended to be the ‘great equaliser’ by bringing together children from all types of backgrounds and treating them the same while also ensuring they interact with one another on an equal footing. This aspiration has, however, not been met due to socioeconomic factors which prove to be too powerful for the school system to overcome (Erickson, 2015). This is likely the case worldwide, including in South Africa where schools must address social justice because they are a key site where the youth are socialised and learn a great deal about how to behave and interact with others. Nevertheless, race, class, wealth, and family and social ties greatly affect one’s education prospects and the reality of justice in society. South African schools are either public or private, and the former are usually for lower-income groups and the latter for higher-income groups. Private schools offer scholarships to underprivileged bright children, but this does not equalise the situation as these children are a minority. Their exposure in the private school system can also cause problems and divide them from their home context, including from siblings and other family members and friends who don’t receive the same opportunity. Furthermore, children going to poorer performing public schools face rifts between them and other children attending better public schools, especially previously whites-only schools. School governing bodies ‘captured to serve the self-interest of wealthy parents’ Among the critical success factors in making school a place for fostering social justice is the education staff and parents’ actions as individuals. There are personal agendas and beliefs about how things should be done . . .
Classism in South Africa: What’s happening in our shops? An opinion piece by Devan Moonsamy, CEO of The ICHAF Training Institute Arguably one of the most feel-good movie shop scenes has to be in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts' character returns to the shop where she was previously refused service and utters those famous words "You refused to serve me yesterday. You work on commission right? Big mistake. Big. Huge! I have to go shopping now!" Don't we all wish we could have a moment like this when we are unfairly judged? The UN states that ‘Poverty is both a cause and a product of human rights violations.’ In some countries, such as India, the class system is so rigid and extreme that some people are treated as ‘untouchable’. There have been calls to end the system, but it is so ingrained that it will likely take generations to overcome. When those in the lower classes go shopping, others will not take money or orders from them directly. On a recent visit to India, whilst out shopping one day, I watched in horror as a “low class” customer had to put her money down on the counter first and wait for the upper-class shopkeeper or attendant to get around to serving them. My initial reaction was - how tragic that this is still happening in societies today. Closer to home in South Africa, systematic discrimination against people who are considered to be of a ‘lower class’ is less common, but it still happens. The caste system in India has been likened to Apartheid in South Africa. The laws of Apartheid are gone from our legal system, yet we know that racism still appears in practice, and the treatment of anyone who appears poor (and non-white, sadly) is not the same as those who are middle-class or rich (and white). It is sad that such socioeconomic discrimination still happens, and that in SA it is related to colour. These factors intersect in context to affect the way individuals are treated as customers. It is perhaps more subtle but, for example, are . . .
Sexism, particularly in the workplace, has always been considered a taboo subject. Well - that is of course until the recent backlash of top female actresses in the USA who took a stand against what has been going on and ignored for far too long, dubbed the “Weinstein Effect” after the now infamous Harvey Weinstein following allegations of abuse from more than 140 women, including Hollywood giants like Angelina Jolie. Industry earthquakes such as this one have the power to radically change people’s views and forever sully reputations, with abusers losing work, favourable public opinion and their families. Many people feel that gender relations is an awkward topic they would rather ignore, which has allowed ‘silent sexism’ to become ingrained within certain cultures, and particularly that of corporate culture. Sexism is something of a conundrum as it is still widely tolerated, as seen by the election of the current US President! Nevertheless, that some people permit it does not change the fact that it is wrong and that it causes untold torment to victims. While some cultures and traditions are sexist, it is completely unacceptable and harmful in the workplace, interfering with organisational harmony and leading to staff destruction. The only way to safeguard against sexism is through open dialogue. Through the use of gender sensitisation, which forms part of a diversity training strategy, corporates are successfully able to close any current or future gender gaps. To be successful, training strives for mutual understanding within workplace relations. For example, qualified facilitators can draw out individual views and concerns of members of a new team, establishing a good foundation for future interactions. Hypothetical examples and role play can also be used to teach acceptable behaviour successfully. Sakhumzi Mfecane, a Professor of Anthropology at UWC, reveals eye-opening facts about gender relationships. As an expert on masculinities, Prof. Mfecane, has . . .
As we look around Africa we see that things are being shaken up and the old “guards or crooks” – we will leave that choice in your hands - are changing. South Africa is in the midst of a huge shift; from the changing of the president to the umpteenth reshuffle of cabinet, the world is looking at us under a microscope and we are all in a flurry to up our game... all except in the online radio space media buying. Online radio is not new to this country and certainly not to Africa. One of the early adopters in Africa was www.ebizradio.com, which launched at the beginning of 2011. It was not launched with huge fan fare – in fact it was done quietly under the radar. The plan was to launch, fix any bugs or issues, and just allow the business to grow organically whilst learning how to really make this business model work and upping the streaming game with innovative audio streaming partners. Today ebizradio.com is the leading 24/7 business audio stream in Africa. The online stream focusses primarily on business and the various factors that influence business growth and development; from technology, marketing, retail and digital, to advertising, motoring, travel and lifestyle. Remember that a business is made up of people and how those people connect and communicate with their various audiences. Ingrid von Stein, a long-standing innovator and disruptor to the communications industry, with a staggeringly impressive communications and business development track record, both globally and locally, has been at the helm of ebizradio.com since day 1. Her determination and passion for everyday communication between brands, businesses and their audience has been the driving force behind this brand. Von Stein is always available to talk to anyone who has any questions around the online streaming industry and will never turn anyone away and say “well that’s our secret”. Her attitude and business operation methods are simple – share your insight and information with . . .