Saturday, 13 October 2018

Radio show notes - week beginning 8th October 2018

Source: Wikipedia
1. Motshelo schemes
"I borrowed P2,000 from a motshelo and I’ve been paying interest of 30% but at the end of August I did not pay and even this month I won't be able to pay as I don't have money at all. I explained this to the person who borrowed me that I’m not able to pay until end of October as I recently got a permanent job. Now the money is P5712. She is now threatening me that she will report me though I tried to explain my situation. How do I go about this? Is this right?"

2. Paper straws?

The ban on plastic bags is imminent I suspect we'll also soon have bans on other plastics goods such as straws, bottles, and other forms of packaging.

Is this the right thing to do? Yes, it certainly is. Yes, it' will be inconvenient but consider the environment damage. done by plastic products. Something must be done and these bans are a step in the right direction.

BUT, what about the quality of alternatives?

We received a complaint about the paper straws offered by one particular restaurant that clearly didn't see so good. In this case the manager of the restaurant responded, acknowledging the problem and saying that:
"I am confident that this issue will be resolved asap and a paper straw that is user friendly will be find very soon. Please bear with us in our process to become environmental friendly. Your input means a lot to us to improve our service."
One step at a time...

3. Longrich (again)

The people desperately trying to sell Longrich products and recruiting people into their scheme concede that Longrich is a pyramid scheme. In a WhatsApp conversation with one recently I asked
“Is it possible to make money from Longrich without selling products?” 
Their answer was simple:
“Yes.”
Section 9 of the 2018 Consumer Protection Act defines a pyramid scheme as a scheme:
“where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants”.
It also says that:
“A person shall not directly or indirectly promote, or knowingly join, enter or participate, or cause any other person to promote, join, enter or participate in … a pyramid scheme”.
Longrich is a pyramid scheme.

And it gets worse. One of the people recruiting for Longrich posted a picture of various products she claimed to have purchased.



Included in this selection were Longrich's miracle sanitary pads, that appear to offer "Magnetic Energy", "Anion" and "Far infra-red"?


The Longrich BioScience web site claims that:
“Magnetic Strip provides 3 natural energies (magnetism, anion and far infrared) that greatly enhance blood circulation, cell vitality, detoxification, bio-enzymes, resistance to bacteria and immunity against any infection. It prevents many women problems.”
It goes on to claim that:
"Far-infrared can stimulate local blood circulation and micro-circulation, prevent gynaecological diseases and relieve dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain) by raising the temperature. Far-infrared can prevent and help to treat mens's prostate condition and hemorrhoids; it can absorb foot sweat and eliminate foot odor".
This is all pseudoscientific nonsense. Worse still, it's dangerous.

Here's some good news. The Ministry of Health and Wellness issued a Press Release.

It said:
The Ministry of Health and Wellness wishes to notify the public that the following complementary medicines are not approved for use in Botswana, Xiangzhiling products, C24 tea, Table Charm sonke products and Longrich medicinal products. These products are currently advertised on social media and sold through network marketing throughout the country. Therefore any person selling these products or any other related products will be charged according to Section 23 (1) (2) of the Medicines and Related Substances Act which states that

“(1) No person shall import, export, manufacture, distribute, sell, promote, advertise, store or dispense any medicine or cosmetic, unless the medicine or cosmetic is registered by the Authority. (2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding P100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to both.”
“The public is advised to always seek advice from the Ministry of Health and Wellness Drugs Regulatory Unit about any medicinal products advertised to them. Should you find anyone selling or advertising this product or any unapproved medicinal products please contract the Ministry…
A pat on the back to the Ministry and the Drug Regulatory Unit. Another pat on the back to the Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority who are gradually taking over responsibility from the Drug Regulatory Unit.

4. Crystal Cell

Just as we begin to see the end of the Longrich's products, another bogus products appears. Crystal Cell.


“This product heals cancer.” Really?

The people peddling this dangerous product claim that it's based on stem cells.


They strongly suggest that it can be "used" with stroke, traumatic brain injury, learning defects, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, wound healing, baldness, blindness, deafness, myocardial infarction, diabetes, cancers, arthritis. It can even be used with "missing teeth"? Are they serious?

But this is plant stem cells, not human. They can have no effect at all.

I think the Drug Regulatory Unit and the Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority will be getting some more calls, don't you?

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Why won’t they fix it?

I bought a black TV stand from a store in Palapye last month for P1830. On Friday 21 September I noticed that the stand is peeling. Looking closely I found that its not only peeling off but its cracking on the leg. On the following Tuesday I went to the store to lodge a complaint. The supervisor said there is no guarantee or warranty and there was nothing they could do to help me. She went further to say that its a first to hear of a situation of this kind since they started selling these TV stands. I then asked to see the store manager but he did not bother to come out of his office to help me, instead he told the supervisor to tell me that there is nothing that they can do about the situation.

Please help. I want an exchange or my money back.


A store manager that doesn’t want to talk to customers with problems? Let’s see how long his business lasts.

The current Consumer Protection Regulations are quite clear about your rights. Section 13 (1) (a) says that commodities or services must be “of merchantable quality” which means “fit for the purposes for which commodities of that kind are usually purchased, as it is reasonable to expect in light of the relevant circumstances”. So you can’t expect miracles but you can expect a TV stand to function as a TV stand for a reasonable time. However, there are certain situation in which this protection doesn’t apply. That’s if you agree to not having the protection of the law. A store can invite you to waive or abandon your rights and, if you agree to that, then the rights don’t exist. That’s why you’ll sometimes see a sign in a store saying that there’s either no warranty or a very limited warranty for certain goods they sell. Section 17 (1) (e) of the Regulations forbids a store from demanding consumers waive “the implied warranty of merchantability and fitness for use, unless a disclaimer is clearly and conspicuously disclosed”. So there must be a obvious sign saying this. However, the next section, 17 (1) (f) says that the store can only claim the consumer waived their rights if “the consumer has specifically consented to it.” I think that means something in writing.

I suggest that you go back to the store and explain this to them. If that fails, write them a letter complaining about their failure to honour your legal rights and copy it to us as well as the Consumer Protection Unit. That should make things happen!

Can she charge so much?

Richard I need your help to understand something. I borrowed P2,000 from a motshelo and I’ve been paying interest of 30% but at the end of August I did not pay and even this month I won't be able to pay as I don't have money at all. I explained this to the person who borrowed me that I’m not able to pay until end of October as I recently got a permanent job. Now the money is P5712 excluding August and September interest which is 30% each month. She is now threatening me that she will report me though I tried to explain my situation. How do I go about this? Is this right?


This is most certainly NOT right. I think the person running this scheme needs to be informed about a number of things. Firstly, she needs to know that despite motshelo schemes being considered an informal form of lending, they are still covered by NBFIRA, the Non Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority. You need to get in touch with NBFIRA immediately and see if this scheme has been registered with them and if they can intervene.

Secondly, she needs to understand a piece of law called the “in duplum” rule. This says that when a debt is settled, the amount of interest must not exceed the capital amount outstanding. You only borrowed P2,000 so the interest on top of that can never be more than P2,000. That’s just the law.

Lastly, she needs to understand that even if the law doesn’t forbid it, 30% interest per month is outrageous. There’s even a word for it: “usury”. Maybe you should ask the woman running this scheme if she claims to be a Christian. If she does, ask her to examine Ezekiel 18:13. Then she should examine her conscience.

Meanwhile, and I don’t mean this to appear sacrilegious, I suspect NBFIRA will have greater effect over her than the Bible and her conscience.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Radio show notes - week beginning 24th September 2018

Source: Wikipedia
1. Can they charge me for the refund?
“I bought goods at a certain shop in Molapo Crossing. I swiped my card to pay but now I returned goods the shop owner demand that I pay certain percentage since I was swiping. He says it's bank charges for swiping.”
Banks charge retailers for swiping (I think 5%?). Nevertheless, it's still in their (and our) interest to swipe, it avoids the risks of cash.

I suspect that when a store swipes to refund someone when they return an item, they have to pay that swiping fee again.

Remember also that we only have a right to return things if there was a fault with the item you purchased, not if you chose the wrong item or just changed your mind.

2. They blacklisted me #1
“I bought a TV at on hire purchase. A few months later I closed the credit by paying with cash. A few months later I get a call from creditors that I owe the store. I went to enquire about my account settlement and it seems that they didn't close it. Now my name is registered with ITC. I have been trying to talk to them so that I am assisted. They are not assisting me as I would have liked. It's been 4 months now. Kindly help me. My life has been really affected. I am missing job opportunities at banks and I can't get financial aid because of my bad credit record that was caused by the negligence of the store staff.”
“Negligence”? That's way too mild. I prefer the words “unprofessional” and “incompetent”.

The customer did the right thing, they paid off a debt as soon as they were able to and now they're being punished for it?

Paying off debt is ALWAYS a good thing to do, after you've set aside your emergency fund of three months outgoing, better still six.

We've already contacted the store in question.

3. They blacklisted me #2
“My boyfriend was blacklisted unfairly by Home Choice without even his knowledge. He ordered goods, they did not reach him when he checked at the post office they confirmed on the system that the goods were returned to Home Choice because there was no communication. When they called for payment he told them that he didn't receive the goods. Instead of resending them they blacklisted him and he only found out about it yesterday when he was processing a loan.”
We've heard this and similar stories many time. HomeChoice purchases aren't delivered, end up being returned, but the customer is still billed and sometimes listed with credit reference bureaux.

What to do? Make sure that you always and promptly contact HomeChoice when products aren't delivered or they're returned.

We’ve contacted HomeChoice (again).

4. Are we being sued?

In comes an email entitled "Court Notice".

 
“Our law firm is re-issuing the attached lawsuit filed against you by our client which requires your urgent attention. COURT SUMMONS Imminent: If this is not rectified within the next 48 hours. Read the lawsuit thoroughly. Regards, Paralegal - MML Law Firm.”
There are various warning signs. The email came from “info@legaconsult.com”. That domain appears to be genuine and used by a legal consultancy in Bulgaria. Notice also that no names were mentioned, neither theirs or ours.

The critical issue is that attachment. Inside that compressed "zipped") attachment was a Windows executable (".exe") file. What would that do if executed? Will it steal data? Would it encrypt all the documents on you computer and demand a ransom like WannaCry did two years ago? Would it install a keylogger that would record everything you typed, including your internet banking username and password?

The lesson is very simple. Don’t open email attachments from unknown sources. Never.

5. An old friend is back

I thought they'd gone away, but the paddlers of the Syntek "Xtreme Fuel Treatment"are still peddling...
“Here is the products that reduces fuel consumption resulting in increased kilometres per litre. It prolongs engine life and reduces engine wear. Improves vehicle performance and horsepower… Or join now and make money”.
We covered Syntek and their preposterous product in 2015, including quite an extensive review of the documents they claimed showed their product worked. It did not. On the contrary, it showed that there was NO evidence of any effect.

Think about it. If it worked, the petroleum industry would have bought it by now, either to use it and make more money or to suppress it. If it worked, wouldn't Botswana Oil have invested in it? They haven’t, none of them have.

Did I mention that it's a pyramid scheme?

6. Qualifications and awards

It's important to be skeptical. About everything. In particular it's important to be skeptical about the awards, prizes, qualifications and titles people say they've been awarded. For years we've been reporting the various fake qualifications people have obtained and the fake establishments that sold them their fake degrees. We've also covered the fake awards people received.

Some will remember the “International Biographical Centre” that awarded people various titles, including the “International Order of Merit” and the “Twentieth Century Achievement Award” and who could place you on the list of “2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st Century”.


Recently, Limkokwing University have very proudly announced that their founder, Tan Sri Limkokwing:
"has been bestowed with the title Lord Limkokwing of Holton, UK in recognition of his decades long advocacy of fusing the best talents of education, industry and peace-building to change the world."

That seems curious to me. He's not a British citizen and has no strong connections to the UK. Has he really been made a Lord? So I asked. Specifically, I contacted the House of Lords in the UK and asked them if they knew about this.

They said:
"We can confirm that Lord Limkokwing of Holton is not a member of the House of Lords. Not all persons with the title ‘Lord’ or ‘Baroness’ are members of the House."
They continued:
"The vast majority of people with a title are not members of the House of Lords, for example those people who purchase a title"
Yes, you can purchase a title if you aren't awarded a real one. Obviously I'm not suggesting that Limkokwing has done anything wrong. Not at all. However, I am suggesting that their claim can be misinterpreted with many people likely to think that he is a genuine Lord, a genuine member fo the House of Lords in the UK.

In fact, he's probably as much of a Lord as I am.

Which I am.

If it's good enough for others, it's good enough for me. Following the example of others claiming the title of Lord, I claim it myself. I bought myself a Lordship. Along with my two ordinations, that now makes me Rev Rev Lord Richard Harriman. Don't forget to stand up when I enter the room.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can they charge me for the refund?

Good day. I bought goods at a certain shop in Molapo Crossing. I swiped my card to pay but now I returned goods the shop owner demand that I pay certain percentage since I was swiping. He says it's bank charges for swiping. Where do I report such?

I think this depends on why you returned the goods.

If there was a problem with the goods, if they were faulty or if the store misled you about them, then you’re entitled to return them and get some solution from the store. Right now you don’t have a right to demand a refund in this situation but you are entitled to one of the three Rs, a refund, repair or replacement but it s usually up to the store to decide which of these they offer you. Most importantly, regardless of what they offer, you shouldn’t be required to pay anything for this to happen. It’s the responsibility of the store and perhaps the manufacturer to pay the price.

However, the situation is different if there was nothing wrong with the goods and you’d just changed your mind about the goods. In that situation, the store isn’t actually obliged to do anything to assist you. They might because they’re nice people, they like your face or they just want to offer excellent service, but you can’t oblige them to. After all, in this situation, they’ve done nothing wrong, have they?

When a store swipes your card they pay the bank for the pleasure of doing so. It’s only a few percentage points of the price you’re paying but it’s nevertheless a price they pay and it’s one of the many ways that banks make money. It’s actually benefits the store because they don’t need to take, store and transport as much cash with all the risks that poses. I don’t know this for sure but I suspect that if you bring the goods back and they swipe again to refund you the money, they have to pay that percentage again? Whether they’re charged once or twice doesn’t matter, the store had to pay the bank for you to purchase the goods. Why should they have to incur that cost just because you changed your mind?

They blacklisted me!

Kindly help me. I bought a TV at on hire purchase and the method of payment was a stop order. A few months I closed the credit by paying with cash. A few months later I get a call from creditors that I owe the store. I went to enquire about my account settlement and it seems that they didn't close it. Now my name is registered with ITC. I have been trying to talk to them so that I am assisted. They are not assisting me as I would have liked. It's been 4 months now. Kindly help me. My life has been really affected. I am missing job opportunities at banks and I can't get financial aid because of my bad credit record that was caused by the negligence of the store staff.

Firstly, congratulations on doing the right thing, settling a debt as soon as you possibly can. It’s something everyone should do whenever they can afford to do so, particularly with hire purchase agreements but also with home and vehicle loans and credit cards. As soon as you have some spare money, after setting aside your emergency fund (of at least three months outgoings), pay off as much debt as you can. Do this before you even think of savings schemes. The interest you pay on debt far exceeds that interest you earn on savings. That’s another way that banks and other lenders make money.

Having done the right thing, I can only imagine your frustration at being punished for doing so. That’s not how things are meant to work.

I think you should be speaking to the store manager and demanding a solution before you start causing them severe trouble. I think you need to remind them that Section 15 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations requires stores like this one to offer services “with reasonable care and skill”. Clearly they have failed to do this in your case. I think your choice of the word “negligence” is correct but too polite. I would use words like “incompetent”, “unprofessional” and some others that The Voice won’t allow me to use.

We’ll also get in touch with the store’s Regional Manager and see if he can shake some sense into his staff!

Sunday, 23 September 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can I take action?

I need advice. I bought a car and it looks like the dealer tampered with the mileage of the car. Also he was once told about the car engine problems but sold the car without servicing it. By luck I took the car to the same garage he once took it to only to be told that he knew about the problems prior to selling it. Can I take him to task for selling a car with mechanical faults without disclosing to the consumer?


You most certainly can. But first some background. When you buy a second-hand car you’ll often see that the agreement or the invoice or receipt will include the word “voetstoots” or sometimes “sold as is” or “sold as seen”. What that means is that the dealer makes no particular claims about the state of the vehicle. They’re not making any promises and it’s up to you and me, the buyers, to make sure that the vehicle is in a condition we’re prepared to pay for.

That’s why you should always inspect a second-hand vehicle thoroughly before buying it. If, like me, you’re not an expert mechanic then you really must find one who’ll accompany you. If you don’t know one, maybe approach the mechanic who serviced your last car and offer him or her a small inducement to assist you after work. Trust their judgment if you don’t trust your own.

However, the “voetstoots” clause isn’t absolute. For instance, a car dealer can’t use it to cover up the fact that they’re lying to you. If you ask a question about the state of the vehicle you’re thinking of buying the dealer is required to tell you the truth. That’s another reason why you should take an expert mechanic with you. They’ll know which question to ask. I would always ask the dealer if they’re prepared to state in writing the condition of the vehicle before they sell it. If they refuse, you’re entitled to ask yourself what they’re hiding.

In your case I think the first thing you should do is quite simple. Go to the Police and lay a charge against the dealer of “Obtaining by false pretence”, as forbidden by Section 308 of the Penal Code. If that doesn’t have the desired effect, try the Consumer Protection Unit in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry. We’ll also get in touch with the dealer and explain to him the error of his ways.

Is it right to force me to pay?

I bought a television on hire purchase. I later notified them that I am no longer working and made a payment plan on how I am going to clear my arrears. I was then called by a debt collector who wanted to me to pay the full amount just once off. My total arrears are P3100 and they expect me to pay the whole amount all at once. At the moment I can only manage to pay P1000. I tried explaining to the debt collector and all she wants is to repossess the television. I want to know if it is right to force the customer to pay the full amount yet I’m making an effort to clear the arrears.


No, I don’t think it’s right. However, that depends if the payment plan was agreed by both you and the store and if, more importantly, you’d kept to the agreement. If the agreement you refer to actually existed and you did honour it, then the store needs to stick to it as well. However, if it didn’t exist then there’s nothing for them to stick to. If it existed and you failed to keep up the payments you agreed, then the store is entitled to set debt collectors on you to recover the money you owe them.

Most importantly, I think you should resist every effort they make to repossess the TV. Don’t think that by giving up the TV the debt will disappear, it won’t. Even if they take the TV away all they’ll do is auction it for a fraction its value and deduct that amount from the balance you owe them. You’ll still owe them a large amount of money and you won’t have a TV to watch.

Whatever the situation might be, I suggest that you contact the store and ask them to confirm what their intentions might be. And then get whatever is agreed in writing. Remember that verbal agreements aren’t worth a thing when you’re dealing with an organisation that can afford attorneys and debt collectors.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Radio show notes - week beginning 17th September 2018

Source: Wikipedia
1. Can the bank move my money around?

"I have accounts with my bank for a long time and was credited with various debit and credit cards. All has been smooth for all the years until I failed for the first time to pay my loan monthly instalment and, within a week, they transferred all the balances into my loan account without prior communication. Please assist."

Can banks do this? Can they transfer from account A to account B without your consent?

Yes, because you told them they could. You might not remember doing so, in fact you might not ever have done this knowingly but hidden deep in your loan agreement was a clause saying they could do exactly this.

However, it would have been polite for them to have called or emailed you in advance, don't you think?

2. Should they repair the TV?

"I lay-byed the television just two months ago and I took it home for use. A week after the purchase my TV slightly hit a wall when it went dark. Two days later I went back to the store to inform them about the damaged product, they did not help me and so I decided to look for help were I could find it better, Consumer Watchdog. I bought this television very expensively and it's really sad and heart breaking to lose such much money on a product I never really used and enjoyed."

The warranty that comes with items like this only covers you against manufacturing or design faults, not accidental damage while the item is in your custody.

Ask yourself this. Who caused the damage? Did the store? No. Did the manufacturer? No. Did the customer? It looks like it.

IF this consumer had taken out a household insurance policy they might have been covered. Yes, insurance can seem expensive, but it's often not as expensive as not having insurance.

3. Will they really delete my email?

In comes an email that many other people have received.

“Dear watchdog, Our record indicates that you recently made a request to shutdown your e-mail and this request will be processed shortly. If this request was made accidentally and you have no knowledge of it, you are advised to cancel the request now. However, if you do not cancel this request your account will be shutdown shortly and all your email data will be lost permanently.”


Seems worrying. I can imagine how someone would be tempted to click on the link to prevent their email being "lost permanently". However...

If you hold you mouse pointer over the "Cancel De-activation" link, you see this, where the link will really take you:

Why would our email provider, who are based in Botswana, link to a domain in Poland (".pl")? Note also that the link includes the email address that was targeted. Clicking on this link will confirm to the scammers behind this that this is a valid email address, just making future attacks more likely.

I removed the email address from the link and went there. Be careful if you ever do this yourself. The web site (which has now been removed) provided a form that asked for my email address and password. Imagine what scammers could do if they had access to all your email? What could they discover about you? What passwords, bank account details and guilty secrets are stored in your online email account?

4. Longrich – is it a pyramid scheme?

Someone posted an invitation in the Consumer Watchdog Facebook group to join a WhatsApp conversation. I joined the WhatsApp conversation to see what was happening. It turned out to be for Longrich.

They claimed that
“we have supplements, skin care, toiletries ,weight loss products. Buy a once off stock of R1000/ R1500/R2000/ R2500. you get pvs which are point that you accumulate and move ranks within the business. Recruit 3 members and teach them to do the same. you will register them under u. you also get pvs when your downlines join under you.”
They also claim to offer incentives to their recruits including:
“3 free international trips per year. R11200 cellphone incentive. R6200 petrol incentive. Minimum car incentive is R60 000 and maximum R600 000. Housing incentive worth 1.5 million.”
I then asked a simple question:
“is it possible to make money from Longrich without selling products?”
Their answer was very simple:
“Yes”
Section 9 of the brand new, 2018 Consumer Protection Act says that:
“A person shall not directly or indirectly promote, or knowingly join, enter or participate, or cause any other person to promote, join, enter or participate in… A pyramid scheme”
A pyramid scheme is defined in the Act as a scheme
“where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants”
So, is Longrich a pyramid scheme? At least one of its recruiters says so.

But there's more…

And it gets worse.

One of the people recruiting for Longrich posted a picture of various products she claimed to have purchased.



Included in this selection were Longrich's miracle sanitary pads, that appear to offer "Magnetic Energy", "Anion" and "Far infra-red"?


When various members of the Facebook group questioned her about these claims, she responded by claiming that:
“magnetic energy simply means the adhesive sticks better than other sanitary liners and pads. there is nowhere they have stated they have used magnetic energy.”
So she suggests that Longrich make no claims about "magnetic energy" relating to their sanitary pads? Really?

Take a look at the Longrich BioScience web site relating specifically to these pads. It claims that"
“Magnetic Strip provides 3 natural energies (magnetism, anion and far infrared) that greatly enhance blood circulation, cell vitality, detoxification, bio-enzymes, resistance to bacteria and immunity against any infection. It prevents many women problems.”
It goes on to claim that:
"Far-infrared can stimulate local blood circulation and micro-circulation, prevent gynaecological diseases and relieve dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain) by raising the temperature. Far-infrared can prevent and help to treat mens's prostate condition and hemorrhoids; it can absorb foot sweat and eliminate foot odor".
This is all pseudoscientific nonsense. Worse still, it's dangerous.

But there's more...

A member of the Facebook group contacted us privately saying that a relative had paid P2,500 to join Longrich earlier in the year and:
“up to now if you ask the results she gets upset apparently she needed three people under her to start earning which she had found but still those need 3 more people under each of them.”
She and others have explained how upsetting, humiliating and disruptive schemes like Longrich can be. They actively encourage recruits to recruit from among their circle fo friends, family members and workmates and this only has one effect, to ruin those relationships.

Longrich is, if you believe their own recruiters and the Laws of Botswana, a pyramid scheme that sells dangerous, illegal products and that ruins relationships.

I think the time has come, as have the right laws, to show these schemes the way to go home.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

The 2018 Consumer Watchdog Conference - Thanks!

The 2018 CW Conference - Thanks!

Having caught up on the coffee I missed during the event and getting some sleep, I think I’m approaching normality again. I’m now in a state to thank various people.


THE SPEAKERS

Potlako Mawande from the Gambling Authority and Renee Yezo from Ture Interior Architects spoke about the truly amazing space that they created for the Gambling Authority. Sorry Thuli Johnson and Potlako Mawande, I’ve been telling people to make up reasons to visit the GA to see how a parastatal can look. Maybe you should charge people for tours?

Cornelius Ramatlhakwane and Cliff Lekoko from BotswanaPost talked about how they transformed a parastatal into a profit-making entity for the first time in its history. Cornelius is an inspirational leader and he’s the sort I’d want my children to work for.

My dear friend and hero, Nkata Seleka from Sleek Foods told us about the progress they have made since she spoke at the 2016 conference. A massive deal with KFC Botswana, new products and a future involving exports to SA, she proves that we can make businesses and brands in Botswana. She’s an inspiration to us all.

We’ll overlook the next guy who spoke about social media and who then gave an update on the new protections the 2018 Consumer Protection Act offers us. He was terrible, we probably won’t be using him again.

Kabelo Binns from Hotwire was, as always, predictably inspiring, talking about the art of business and the qualities needed in creating a successful personal brand.

Uyapo Ndadi, another national hero and his associate Phatsimo Mphetolang spoke about the art of using the law to protect ourselves.

Professor Kiran Bhagat, doctor, scientist and passionate exponent of holistic medicine and friend asked about the Art (and Science) of Medicine and why a deeper understanding of health issues is needed. We shouldn’t just be treating the symptoms, but the causes of ill-health.

THE WORKSHOPS

Endless thanks go to the remarkable people and organisations that ran the workshops on Day 2 of the Conference.

James Fern and Toyin Omotoye from BDO talked about the art of creating a healthy attitude towards money. Donald Molosi led participants through some truly remarkable activities, exploring the link between theatre and customer service. Renee and Tumelo Yezo showed how it’s possible to create remarkable, uplifting, stimulating spaces that bring out the best in an organisation and its people. Mariam Sethi of IT-IQ and her team also explored how technology is enabling people to become so much more creative in the ways they work. Simba Mariri took delegates through a challenging, eyes-widening, thought-provoking exploration of The Art of Thinking. Nkata Seleka of Sleek Foods, Lebogang Mmono from Just Ginger, James Briscoe from The Daily Grind and Othatha and Bokang Mokgwathi from TsinaTota Honey showed that creating a proudly local brand is not only possible, it’s happened so many times. Finally, Mophato Dance Theatre, well, more about them below.

THE SPONSORS

We could have held a conference without the sponsors but it wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting, entertaining and successful. Vast thanks must go to those at Stanbic, Orange, Hollard, Multichoice and Cell City. Thanks must also go to Milky Lane for what they do best. Ice cream for everyone!

THE CREW

The Consumer Watchdog team led by Thato Mbikiwa were, as always, remarkable. We couldn’t have done it without you. JP Glanville and the team from Showgroup were, yet again, amazing, giving us light, sound, video, music and a stage from which to perform.

Bonni Dintwa is extraordinary. You can’t get a better MC than Bonni, perhaps because he’s even more insane than we are? He gets us, how we like to be different, how we like to challenge, disrupt and sometimes even amuse. He’s a star.

Finally, the glue that holds our conferences together, has always been the Mophato Dance Theatre. These extraordinary people are a national treasure. Their energy, passion, drive, imagination, creativity and flair are unbeatable. They are truly amazing.