Category Archives: Abdul Waheed Patel

ELECTIONS UPDATE: South African Local Government Election 2016 – Beyond The Numbers

indexETHICORE Political Lobbying – South Africa’s pioneering and leading government affairs across all spheres of Government and key policy areas, is supporting and advising clients all across industries and sectors to re-evaluate and recalibrate government affairs, advocacy and lobbying strategies in post-elections political environment.

Download the full update here: SA Local Govt Elections Update Beyond The Numbers_15Aug2016

On Wednesday 3 August 2016, South Africans took to the polls and cast their ballots to elect their public representatives in metropolitan councils and rural district municipalities for the next five-year municipal term.

In the end, it was a fiercely contested election across the board, with the impact being most pronounced in South Africa’s major metropolitan councils of Johannesburg, Tshwane (formerly Pretoria) and Nelson Mandela Bay.

In these three cities, the opposition Democratic Alliance emerged as the leading party, ahead of the African National Congress, which had been the dominant governing party in these cities with an outright majority since 2000.

These political shifts manifested itself in 27 hung councils across South Africa, which now require the formation of coalition governments to constitute a government in each council.

Following the announcement of the official election results by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Saturday 6th August 2016, political parties have 14 days therefrom to constitute the first meeting of municipal councils in accordance with the Municipal Systems Act.

If within this period political parties fail to form a government to govern any municipal council, the Constitution provides for both the National and Provincial sphere of Government an authority to intervene to overcome the deadlock and ensure municipalities are able to function.

The period up until then is already being characterised by intense negotiations and coalition talks between all political parties, large and small, irrespective of political ideology and policy positions. With the only exceptions at this stage being that the DA has stated that it will not enter into a coalition with the ANC to form a Government as part of its call for an opportunity to govern where it believes the ANC has failed.

These negotiations and coalition talks and what they will ultimately result in, not only shapes the landscape of municipal government and politics for the next five years.

The basis and conditions for the establishment of coalitions are already beginning to redefine South Africa’s broader national political landscape. This is starting to be reflected in the concessions and guarantees that negotiating political parties offer and seek in exchange for the support and participation in a coalition. These have already emerged in the form of exchanges and binding agreements for political cooperation as it relates to power sharing, leadership positions and policy trade-offs.

The implications of these are that once the dust has settled, the impact of negotiated agreements and coalitions formed, will reverberate across the political spectrum, including:

  • Parliamentary politics between all of the political parties affected and their national mandate on key legislative, regulatory, policy and executive oversight issues.
  • Intergovernmental relations between the three spheres of Government, especially where there is political divergence between any two spheres.
  • Policy review and formulation processes of political parties.
  • Party leadership and succession.
  • The road towards the 2019 national and provincial elections.

Beyond the numbers, individual companies, industries and sectors will benefit from understanding the tangible and material impact of the outcomes of these negotiations on their strategic policy, legislative and regulatory priorities. These will be affected by the spheres of Government concerned in each case and the ability to engage in constructive and effective advocacy and government relations.

Affected companies, industries and sectors need to re-evaluate and appropriately recalibrate their government affairs, advocacy and lobbying strategies to determine how best to interpret, navigate and interact with coalition governments and their ripple-effect throughout the political system.

As South Africa’s pioneering government affairs firm, ETHICORE Political Lobbying is uniquely placed to assist clients in unscrambling this political rubix cube and it many moving parts.

Our team of experienced experts and professionals all across spheres of Government and key policy areas, are supporting and advising clients to appropriately integrate these considerations within their government affairs strategies and approaches.

Our offering is geared towards supporting our clients – past, present and future, as well as our international partners, with the customised precision required to translate in-depth political intelligence and analysis into targeted instruments for impactful policy-relevant engagement and government relations.

Abdul Waheed Patel
Managing Director

The Rubik’s cube of legislating the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill

By Abdul Waheed Patel (Managing Director) and Wisahl Jappie (Political and Communications Advisor)

Mineral and Petroleum Resources Amendment Bill

Amidst ‘chamber politics’ that has thwarted Parliament’s public perception and credibility, it is presented with a significant opportunity to exhibit its Constitutional powers and functions as the national legislative authority and platform for public consideration of issues and overseeing executive action.

On 16 January 2015, President Jacob Zuma referred the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill to the National Assembly – eleven months since the National Council of Provinces passed the Bill and Parliament transmitted it for Presidential assent and proclamation into law.

The President’s referral requires Parliament to exercise its Constitutional mandate to review within certain parameters and grounds, the process and legislative considerations it previously adopted in passing the Bill.

This presents Parliament with a legislative Rubik’s cube that corresponds with South Africa’s investor friendly pitch at the 2015 World Economic Forum – punting the viability and stability of South Africa’s mining, resources and energy sector.

There was no shortage of lobbying on the amendment bill. Some labeled it “controversial” and discouraging investment in South Africa’s embattled mining industry and the growth of the fledgling oil and gas sector. Stakeholders lamented the Parliamentary public consultation process, the redrafting of the Bill by the Department of the Mineral Resources and the timing of the Gazette notice publishing the amendments to the Act on 27 December 2012.

The President’s letter of referral addressed to the Speaker of the National Assembly, cites the following concerns regarding Bill’s ability to pass constitutional muster:

  • The definition of the Act elevating the Codes for Good Practice for the South African Minerals Industry, the Housing and Living Conditions Standards for the Minerals Industry and the Amended Broad-Based Socio-Economic Empowerment Charter for the Mining and Minerals Industry to national legislative status.
  • Inconsistency of the sections dealing with local mineral beneficiation, with South Africa’s obligations under the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) and the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) as it relates to quantitative restrictions on exports.
  • Insufficient consultation by the National Council of Provinces and provincial legislatures, including the consultation period and the timeliness of notification of public hearings by provincial legislatures.
  • The need to consult the National House of Traditional Leaders with regard to customary law and customs of traditional communities, in respect of land owned or occupied by traditional communities where mineral or geological investigations are contemplated.

The President’s referral on these bases is significant. Prior to the May 2014 general election, the 4th ANC-led administration and Parliament stewarded the bill through the legislative process. This was aligned with the ANC elections manifesto for the transformation of the mineral and energy sector.

This drive towards advancing increased local beneficiation and industrialization finds its genesis in the objectives of the Freedom Charter, which proclaims that the mineral wealth of the country “be owned by the people as a whole”.

The ANC’s 2015 January 8 Statement reaffirmed the furthering of “radical socio-economic transformation” and in reference to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) stated:

“The vast mineral wealth of our country, which lies beneath the soil, has been transferred to the ownership of the state on behalf of the people as per the Freedom Charter. However this has not yet translated to equal and full benefit of all South Africans. The ANC commits itself to continue working with our people to ensure that there is enhanced benefit from this ownership. This year we must finalise the amendments to the applicable laws to ensure that mineworkers and mining communities share, much more equally, in South Africa’s mineral wealth”.

All of these factors cascade into three distinct and interlinked messages.

Firstly, the ANC’s policy position on State participation in the minerals, oil and gas sector remains consistent with the original intent of the Bill and the principles of the Freedom Charter – notwithstanding the referral of the Bill back to Parliament. These are further echoed in the party’s 2014 elections manifesto and the 2012 National Conference resolutions.

In the Organisational Report to the party’s June 2012 National Conference, ANC Secretary-General Mr. Gwede Mantashe called for delegates to assess progress made in implementing the MPRDA in order to ensure compliance with the Act, in the context of maintaining the state’s strategic role in the mineral and energy complex as key sector of the economy.

In June 2015, the ANC National General Council gathers to assess the party’s mid-term progress and policy review to shape resolutions for adoption at its National Conference in 2017.

Any fundamental legislative realignment on the MPRDA and which deviates from the original policy intent is unlikely to occur in isolation of these party political policy processes which overlaps with the timing of the Parliamentary review process.

This represents the Parliamentary and legislative Rubik’s cube through which MPs are challenged to achieve a reasonable balance between their party policy objectives and ideologies, public policy and the differing interpretations of what constitutes policy certainty.

Secondly, Government is signaling to the investor, mining, oil and gas community, that the attainment of these policy objectives will not be pursued at the expense of legislation that disincentivises the investment inflow upon which Government’s quest for socio-economic transformation is dependent.

Thirdly, the State is communicating its sensitivity to the impact of sub-standard legislation that might be open to Constitutional challenge and which therefore undermines the ability of the State to advance its socio-economic objectives.

It was former Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu who vocally cautioned lawmakers during the 4th democratic about the perils of drafting poor quality legislation. During the 2013 Debate on Parliament’s Budget Vote, he bemoaned the number of laws passed by the National Assembly being returned for correction and being found unconstitutional as the consequence of “inadequate scrutiny”. He underscored the growing complexity and technicalities of legislating and the need for Parliament to draw on and maximise the availability of stakeholders to ensure access to specialized knowledge and information.

Parliament is Constitutionally endowed with powers to deal with legislation returned to it for review, as well as drafting new alternative legislation, private members legislative proposals and addressing constitutional concerns. In the case of the MPRDA, the extent of Parliament’s scope and oversight is restricted to the parameters of the constitutional concerns raised by the President.

By referring the matter to the Portfolio Committee on Minerals Resources, the Speaker of Parliament has delegated the Committee a formidable maiden legislative task, since its inception following the May 2014 general elections.

The Committee must familiarise itself with the principles and imperatives behind the legislation, the legislative and consultative process followed by its predecessors in the 4th Parliament and stakeholder input received.

Although the provisions exist for the Committee to expand its review of the legislation, it is premature to preempt the Committee’s approach to the referral and the intersecting political considerations, policy objectives and industry imperatives.

This process presents the Committee with a multifaceted piece of legislation that lends itself to the approach advocated by former Speaker Sisulu. It is a landmark opportunity for this Committee to initiate itself into Parliamentary affairs.

In recognizing the opportunity that this presents, stakeholders should be cognizant of the complex interplay between party policy, public policy, the separation of powers between the Executive as well as Parliament and its Constitutionally derived powers, functions and rules of procedures. All of these weave an intricate web of institutional arrangements comprised of Parliament’s legislative and oversight structures, party political parliamentary caucuses, Parliamentary and State legal advisors and Parliamentary programming structures. Unraveling these intricacies and the solutions to be crafted require a robust and constructive approach by decision-makers and stakeholders alike.

Published in Business Day, on Friday 6 February 2015.

‘Minerals Act a chance for Parliament to flex its muscle’

Celebrating 5 Years. Looking Ahead.

ethicore_logo and bc

I am elated to share with you that today marks 5 years since ETHICORE was established as the first niche professional political consultancy in Southern Africa.

The boom of African democracy and institutions in the face of pressing socio-economic and development imperatives gives rise to unprecedented demands and opportunities.

From public policy and assessing political risk, to legislation, regulation and many more, public decision-making authorities and affected parties require ever more sophisticated tools and discerning approaches for engaging in constructive and impactful dialogue which contribute to informed choices.

Within this context, since 2010 we have been driven by our founding mission to become a market leader and pioneer of our industry on the African continent. In this pursuit, we have committed ourselves to the development of a holistic suite of ethically focused professional services, standards and practices to excel in the following fields of expertise, namely:

  • Advocacy and lobbying
  • Government relations
  • Stakeholder management
  • Public policy and political research and analysis
  • Strategic communications and media

Through the commitment and support of our clients, partners and stakeholders we are forging ahead in our quest.

To maintain this trajectory and remain at the forefront of our profession on the African continent, it is my privilege to announce our renewed strategic direction for the 5-year period leading up to 2020.

Our Vision:
To be the undisputed African global benchmark and partner in professional political lobbying.

Our Purpose:
To influence, inform and participate in the process of democratic decision-making, through enabling constructive political dialogue and engagement.

Our Values:
Professionalism, Innovation and Partnership

High-level Strategic Objectives:

  1. A Commanding Regional Presence: Develop and maintain the most extensive footprint in our industry on the African continent, through a combined network of owned, representative and associate offices.
  1. The Global Strategic African Partner: To be the preferred African partner to global industry peers and networks in key political and economic capitals.
  1. Industry Leadership and Development: Lead in the establishment of professional recognition, standards and governance for the lobbying industry in Africa.
  1. Bespoke Client Diversification: Increase and diversify our portfolio of bespoke clients within our key industry sectors and across multiple priority African and global jurisdictions.
  1. Sustainable Commercial Development: Realise our growth, expansion, competitiveness and sustainability, through strategically reinvesting in our capacity, infrastructure, enterprise and business development.
  1. Exemplary Corporate Citizenship and Social Responsibility: Commit a meaningful portion of our time, know-how and resources to selective social initiatives that derive value for society, within our areas of expertise.

ethicore_logo and bc2We have sharpened and refreshed the elements that constitute our corporate identity and branding to mark our 5-year milestone and to reflect the configuration of this strategic direction. We will be introducing and announcing a number of well advanced and planned initiatives and activities to mark this occasion and give impetus to our strategic trajectory.

Amongst other, these include:

  • Our new Code of Practice
  • Our 5 -Year Review
  • Appointing our inaugural Advisory Board
  • Establishing a professional body for the lobbying industry in South Africa
  • Concluding strategic regional and global partnerships

I would like to express my personal gratitude and appreciation to you, for your support, recognition and trust in our expertise and capability.

It has been an honour sharing the journey of the past five years with you. I welcome you to join in our continued success.

Warm regards.

Yours sincerely,
Abdul Waheed Patel
Managing Director

SA Tech start-up to advance eHealth innovation & patient care

SAFE-ID-LogoCAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: In the 17 June 2014 State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma recognised the need to contribute to the reduction in mortality rates via the improvement of the quality of care in the public sector.

ETHICORE Political Consulting is therefore proud to announce the acquisition of SAFE ID as a new client to its portfolio in South Africa.

ETHICORE is a market leading strategic political affairs consultancy specialising in political lobbying, intelligence and communication.

SAFE ID ( is a niche and emerging South African technology innovation company that specialises in bridging the communication and information gap between injured as well as distressed citizens and the provision of critical healthcare.

SAFE ID aims to advance eHealth systems, improve and promote the accessibility of health information and services in South Africa. Its partnership with ETHICORE promises to be a fruitful realisation of its innovative mandate to develop health intelligence.

SAFE ID specialises in the provision of user centered informational tools that store and disseminate citizen health information, which is accessible timeously by first respondents during critical emergency situations.

According to SAFE ID Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Zubayr Harneker: “We have an ambitious vision to be at the forefront of technological innovation for provision of time critical medical information that advances healthcare, wellbeing and safety in South Africa. We appreciate and recognise the need to work with Government to achieve public policy, legislative and regulatory outcomes that strengthens the contribution of citizen health information in advancing this cause. We have elected to work with ETHICORE because of their professional ethics, unrivalled expertise and experience.”

Improving the quality of care in the public sector necessitates the availability of appropriate and accurate health statistics, medical information and patient identification and treatment.

According to Mr. Abdul Waheed Patel, Managing Director of ETHICORE Political Consulting: “We are excited to be partnering with SAFE ID to inform Government thinking on leveraging life saving citizen emergency and health information. The timing hereof is both highly relevant and opportune as Government advances its plans for overhauling healthcare, improving safety, leveraging information and communication technology, and developing new (especially small and medium sized) innovative industries.”

SAFE ID ticks all of these boxes and is therefore uniquely placed in its niche to become a market leading company with a strong public purpose and impact.

SAFE ID hopes to work with Government to implement and develop the country’s eHealth Strategy in tandem with the objective of prioritizing healthcare.

Media Enquiries:FacebookCover_SAFE-ID v7
Ms Wisahl Jappie – Associate Director
Tel: +27 (0) 21 424 1443 / 3125
Mobile: +27 (0) 72 227 1144

Lobbying in South Africa

Screen shot 2012-02-01 at 4.43.31 PMCAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: ETHICORE Political Consulting featured in recent media reports about the lobbying proposal by Washington DC based Public Affairs Engagement (PAE) to the pharmaceutical industry on the proposed National Policy on Intellectual Property in South Africa, published by the Department of Trade and Industry.

ETHICORE Political Consulting has a duty of care (and responsibility to the public, Government, our clients, stakeholders and partners) to clarify our position, following the media coverage and public discussion that ensued on the lobbying proposal.

ETHICORE Political Consulting is a professional and transparent South African firm, providing ethically focused specialised government relations, advocacy, lobbying, communications and research services to bespoke local and international clients. These are companies and associations who constructively work with and engage the institutions of governance, legislation and regulation in South Africa at a number of levels, in pursuit of advancing national objectives.

On 7 January 2014, ETHICORE was approached by PAE as a potential local partner in the purported lobbying effort. ETHICORE was not party to the formulation of the lobbying proposal and was approached in an unsolicited manner.

ETHICORE maintained from the outset that the proposed lobbying effort was inappropriate and misguided in terms of South Africa’s policy processes, its political and socio-economic context.

ETHICORE wishes to emphasise that we were never appointed nor party to any consultations with the proposed client on the lobbying proposal. We have never enjoyed any relationship with the originators of the proposal prior to being approached by them. ETHICORE does not have any association with PAE.

Since it’s founding in 2009, ETHICORE has prided itself on a responsible epoch in the provision of services in our practice areas. This has and continues to be characterised by an open ethos approach that is ethical, transparent, legal, in the public domain and most importantly, with a public purpose.

As such our work is within the confines and dictates of Government and parliament’s defined public participation and consultative processes. This does not involve any illegal, corrupt or unethical practices. We are explicitly focused on working with our clients to support policy-makers, legislators and regulators in achieving the best possible outcomes for our country and its people. This is aimed at enhancing the work of Government through an evidence-based approach informed by research and analysis.

Our mission has been to demonstrate that as a developing democracy, our services cannot be associated with reprehensible practices. Since our establishment, we have developed and imposed upon ourselves and subscribed to a strong code of professional and ethical conduct in the provision of our services.

Click here to download our Code of Conduct:

The inferences resulting from our reported association in the proposed lobbying effort, has detracted from the ethical provision of our services. The effects of these inferences have included intimidation, threats of bodily harm and death on our families and ourselves. We will however not be deterred and will continue our mission in order to maintain our integrity and reputation.

Lobbying, when conducted in a constructive and ethical manner, fulfills a valuable contribution to the democratic cause through the creation of responsible citizen activism which enhances sound policy, legislative and regulatory formulation. This is an objective we have sought and will continue to advance in our work.

Our commitment to uphold and adhere to these fundamental values and principles has never waivered and shall remain a hallmark of our work.

Our journey continues undeterred and with greater conviction, determination and passion, not in spite of the aforementioned, but because of it.

– ENDS –

Issued by and on behalf of:
Mr. Abdul Waheed Patel
Managing Director

Media Enquiries:
Ms Wisahl Jappie
Associate Director
Tel: +27 (0) 21 424 1443 / 3125
Mobile: +27 (0) 72 227 1144

ETHICORE Political Consulting is a leading and preeminent South African political consultancy, principally specializing in all aspects of political analysis, advocacy and lobbying, governmental relations, parliamentary affairs and political communications, at the policy, legislative and regulatory affairs level.