“This transaction checks all three of those boxes and while the acquisition is small within the context of the overall group it provides a strategic platform which is expected to add significant value to shareholders into the future.” Hemphill said that the company’s intention was to enter markets that were benefitting from political and regulatory stability, where there is strong economic growth, and where there is potential for greater penetration on wealth products. CfC will be positioned to benefit from economies of scale, the extraction of synergies between the businesses and from greater capital efficiency, resulting in improved returns for all shareholders; and the restructured businesses will provide Liberty with a sound platform for organic and acquisitive growth in Kenya and elsewhere in the region. SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material Potential for wealth products “The acquisition provides us with the full range of wealth pillars and opens up further opportunities in East Africa, a region that is of strategic importance to Liberty,” said Humphill. Liberty expects the medium- to long- term benefits in acquiring control of the business to include: As a separate listed entity with Liberty as an anchor shareholder, CfC will benefit from greater focus and the value available from having a strategic shareholder with significant insurance expertise and access to funds for growth; “CfC is an ideal platform from which to achieve Liberty’s growth objectives of establishing a leading position in the life, health, short term and asset management wealth pillars in East Africa,” the statement read. South African wealth manager Liberty Holdings is to bolster its African footprint when its assumes an approximately 57% controlling share of CfC Insurance Holdings, a leading Kenyan life, health and general insurance group consisting of CfC Life Assurance and The Heritage Insurance Company. “Liberty has made clear its strategic intent to grow its business within Africa’s important economies, leveraging off Standard Bank’s presence, and specifically to develop a presence in East Africa,” said Liberty Holdings CEO Bruce Hemphill in a statement this week. 4 December 2009 “A combination of these factors provides an ideal opportunity to build critical mass in the region,” he explained. This follows the restructuring of the East African assets of Standard Bank, which controls Liberty Holdings through its 53.6% stake. CfC Life and Heritage are providers of life, health and short-term insurance products in both the Kenyan and Tanzanian markets. Acquisition benefits
“We would never consciously undermine our own efforts over the past ten years.” From the eNCA apology (Image: eNCA) • Pistorius trial: open justice or trial by media? • A media guide to the Oscar Pistorius trial •The media and open justice • South Africa’s justice system • Laureus honour for Blade RunnerSulaiman PhilipWinning the right to broadcast the Oscar Pistorius trial came with clearly defined restrictions, one of which prevented the media from showing the faces or publishing photographs of witnesses who had not consented to being filmed.Judge Dunstan Mlambo’s ruling was hailed as a balancing act between press freedom and individuals’ rights by some, and as censorship by others.On the second day of the trial that ruling was put to the test. Patrick Conroy, head of news at eNCA, had checked with the court clerk for permission to use a photo of witness Michelle Burger that had appeared in two Afrikaans newspapers. The argument Conroy and eNCA put forward was that showing a picture of Burger with the caption – “On the stand: Michelle Burger, Pistorius’s neighbour” – to accompany the audio feed as she testified was not a violation of the judge’s order.But a fuming Gerrie Nel, the prosecutor, reminded Conroy that the state interpreted the ruling to mean that any image of a witness, no matter the source, would breach the spirit and intent of the earlier ruling. Nel told the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper that eNCA originally wanted to use a photograph of Burger taken outside the court. “The court said no. They still went ahead and did it using a photo they found somewhere else.”Attorney Pamela Stein does not read the ruling as narrowly. A media specialist and partner at the firm Webber Wentzel, as well as a co-author of the newly released Practical Guide to Media Law Handbook, says: “If I were advising eNCA I would have told them to go ahead and publish the photo. The picture was not taken while the witness was on the stand. The court’s control extends only as far as the door of the court.”Confusion around the interpretation of Judge Mlambo’s ruling comes from the wording used – no images of witnesses if they did not provide permission. The newspapers, Beeld and Die Burger, and eNCA argued that his ruling forbade images taken inside the court while testimony was being given. This is a longstanding concession between the media and the justice system.Conroy argued that the legal advice the news group got was in line with this understanding, before conceding in an apology on the channel’s website: “But, on reflection, this was a bad judgement call on our part and we accept that it did not accord with the spirit of the court order.”Trial judge Thokozile Masipa strengthened the ruling by saying any image of a witness who did not want their face shown, was now off limits. She went on to warn the media: “If you do not behave, you will not be treated with soft gloves.”In an editorial, South Africa’s The Times newspaper said: “At the heart of yesterday’s controversy was the weakness of the Mlambo judgment. The judge shied away from either opening the courtroom to broadcasters or keeping them out altogether. By choosing a middle route, he has opened the way for confusion and, as occurred yesterday, unwise rulings that threaten media freedoms and extend the procedural authority of judges beyond courtrooms and on to the streets.”This is not the first time that photographs have caused an uproar in the matter. A year ago, crime scene photos from Pistorius’s Silver Lakes home were leaked. At the time, the original investigating officer told the English newspaper Sunday People that he knew of police officers who were being offered large sums of money for photographs taking in the house.Even Blade Nzimande, the general secretary of the South African Communist Party, waded into the controversy. He wrote in Umsebenzi, the SACP magazine: “Even worse, the sentiment coming across is that it is Pistorius’s rights that have been violated and not those of the Steenkamp family and of Reeva, whose blood is literally splashed in that footage! Sanef [South African National Editors’ Forum] is dead silent on these matters. And it is also the rights of a man that are elevated above those of a woman. In fact, this patriarchal and elitist message has come to characterise the voluminous media coverage of this matter, especially by eNCA on 4 June 2013 and before that!”The intent of eNCA at the beginning of the trial, in the words of journalist Karen Maughan, was to give clear-headed insights into the workings of the South African judiciary. The channel’s top legal reporter wrote: “coverage so far has been tainted by inaccuracy and sensation. The good and the bad of our justice system in South Africa will be on display. We will cover this trial honestly, calmly and fairly.”With 80 accredited journalist filling the courtroom and the overflow area, and another 200 filling a room outside the court, all looking for exclusive content, it was inevitable that the line of what was permissible was going to be tested.As blogger Akanyang Africa wrote in his blog: “Of course I know that this [Judge Mlambo’s restrictions] would have been seen by many as being the worst censorship in as far as press freedom is concerned. But rights have limitations too and by putting this condition in place, Judge Mlambo would have exercised and limited that right correctly.”The law is fluid, a living thing, especially in a democracy as young as South Africa. There will be a continuous give and take as the citizenry and the government and its institutions find a comfortable space to co-exist. The scrutiny given to this trial is proving to be the perfect vehicle for the media and the justice system to redefine the margins of what is, and what is not permissible.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matt ReeseIn July, interested parties from around Ohio gathered at Stone Lab on Lake Erie to hear about the science behind the Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Forecast for Lake Erie in 2018. At the event, Laura Johnson, Director of the National Center for Water Quality Research from Heidelberg University, reported that phosphorus loading in rural waterways has not changed much in recent years since the sharp increases that began in the mid-1990s.“What we have been finding out of the Maumee River hasn’t changed a whole lot over the past 5 to 10 years. We are still getting the same concentrations that we have gotten in the recent past, but that doesn’t mean we are not making progress. There is a lot of effort going into practices that most folks would say are the practices we need to focus on like nutrient management plans, not applying on frozen ground, drainage water management, 4R certification — these are all moving in the right directions. There has been an awful lot of implementation, but we need more,” Johnson said. “The other question that is really important is has there been enough time to tell if these practices are doing their thing? I would argue that is not the case. We are talking about something that took years to get to. I would argue that we just haven’t had enough time and people need to be patient. We wouldn’t expect to see changes this quickly. We have to remember that there are more practices going into place and more funding going into those practices. We also have to remember that it takes time not only for the practices to go into place but for them to lead to these reduced phosphorus levels coming out of the Maumee River and to reduce algal bloom size in Lake Erie.”Hancock County grain and hog farmer Duane Stateler agrees, based on what he has been seeing on his farm since 2017. Stateler is one of three farmers with acreage included in the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network to conduct edge of field water monitoring research. The research is a joint effort of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation collaborating with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and a number of stakeholders. The project looks at surface and tile runoff from the farm and nutrient losses, among other things. One reason the Stateler farm was selected for the program was its relatively high phosphorus soil test levels.With all of the #WaterDrama18 that has unfolded this summer, Stateler has been at the forefront of the discussion and served as a strong voice of reason for Ohio agriculture based on his first hand experiences on the farm. When Ohio’s legislators gathered in opposition to executive orders from Gov. John Kasich pushing for distressed watershed designations in northwest Ohio, Stateler was at the microphone. Stateler again provided comments at the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission meeting where it was decided to send the distressed watershed designation discussion to a subcommittee for further review. His statements made a powerful argument to buy agriculture more time in the face of looming regulations.Stateler, and many in agriculture, are hoping cooler heads prevail in the water quality discussions to allow time for learning through the demonstration farms and other research and for more practices to be implemented and given a chance to work.The edge of field testing looks at both surface and tile run-off.Statelers raise corn, soybeans and wheat on approximately 600 acres in Hancock County and also operate a 7,200 head wean to finish swine operation. They have already learned plenty from the edge of field research being done on 243 acres of their farm through the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network. First, Stateler points out that, after studying the data generated from 2017, his farm is indeed losing nutrients.“They always told us that once you put phosphorus in the soil it doesn’t move. We just assumed that it was always there,” Stateler said. “When we put in the edge of field equipment, we found that we had P leaving.”Manure supplies all of the phosphorus (and other nutrient needs). No commercial fertilizer has been used on the farm since 2006. The nitrogen needs for the corn on the farm are supplied by manure, 15 gallons of 28% 2-by-2 at planting and 75 to 100 pounds at sidedressing.Hog manure from the farm was applied for the 2017 crop in early November of 2016 at a rate of 5,000 gallons per acre. The manure was applied with a GenTill system that roughs up the surface of the field (similar to an AerWay) and broadcasts the manure on the surface. There was about an inch of rain in December following the manure application. Edge of field data collection began Jan. 1, 2017.2017 phosphorus loss on the Stateler farm (with Duane’s rainfall amounts added)Through most of the year, nutrient losses were minimal. For 318 days of 2017, the Stateler farm averaged a loss of .075 pounds per acre of dissolved reactive phosphorus and a .24 pounds per acre of total phosphorus load, which is below the desired target of .26 pounds per acre per year set by the Ohio Phosphorus Task Force. The problem, however, was the other 47 days of 2017.“The results for the other 47 days were so bad that the average for the total time period resulted in losses of .54 to 1.9 pounds of dissolved reactive phosphorus per acre and a 2.8- to 5-pound per acre total P load. The target we are shooting for is under .26 dissolved reactive phosphorus and under 1 pound total P load loss per acre for the year,” he said. “We can do a pretty good job even with our high P soil test for the majority of the year but we can also have two-plus years worth of phosphorus loss in just 47 days.”Numerous large rain events caused the losses. During that 47 days of significant nutrient losses there were seven major rain events of over 2 inches within a 24-hour period. The largest single rain amount was 4.1 inches. The biggest nutrient loss took place in early July, 8 months after the manure application with a growing corn crop in full tassel in the field.“Major rains are a piece of the pie. There are way more 2- and 3-inch rain events this decade in comparison to previous decades and we still have two years to go. With these big rains, we have to save every ounce of phosphorus possible because of the elements we can’t control,” Stateler said. “Still, my edge of field is telling me that I am losing less that what some people are saying. We’ve learned more than what I ever thought we’d learn.”Like phosphorus, the largest nitrogen losses in 2017 also occurred in July and November with another significant spike in May accompanied by big rains. The total per acre NO3 loss for 2017 on the Stateler farm was 104.407 pounds and the total nitrogen loss was just over 115 pounds per acre.There is no doubt that many questions remain with regard to nutrient loss from farms, but some answers are starting to emerge as well. First, careful attention to the 4Rs, starting with accurate grid soil testing, can do a number of positive things for minimizing nutrient loss.“Everyone needs to be aware of how much fertilizer can be lost when we do not use proper timing prior to a rain and the placement of nutrients as critical parts of the 4Rs,” Stateler said.In addition, managing the water leaving tile lines can have real value in water quality.“If we can manage the water leaving our tile we have seen that we can make a definite immediate impact on what we are losing,” Stateler said. “Across any tiled field, the 30 inches of soil does a pretty consistent job of pulling the P out regardless of soil type. Even though we are taking a lot of phosphorus out by the time it drains through 30 inches of soil profile and using that as a filter, we still have P coming out of our tile.”Nutrient losses from an open tile can be fairly consistent through the year compared to the large dramatic spikes of losses from surface runoff with big rain events. To address the problem, Stateler has installed water control structures that can close the tile off completely or raise and lower the water table between the surface of the field and tile level. The nutrient loss reductions through the tile lines have been significant.“If we can get by with drainage only three or four months a year we can slow that constant drip from the tile going into the streams,” Stateler said. “The water control structures on our farm were opened April 1 and were partially closed to set the water table 16 inches below the soil surface June 10 after sidedressing of the corn. The tile was closed off after harvest. If we can manage that water we are still losing nutrients out of the tile, but it is within the range of acceptable losses. We will spend about $4,000 for 50 more acres of controlled drainage structures. If we would get a 5% yield increase in a couple of dry years, it pays for itself.”In comparison, surface nutrient losses on Stateler’s farm were more dramatic than tile with the frequent and heavy rains in 2017 accounting for the majority of nutrient loss.“The surface losses are larger but in a shorter time duration,” he said. “And the surface loss issues are harder to control. If you get seven major rain events, you’re going to have some surface runoff. We can keep the ground covered, though. A cover crop can absorb nutrients and put them in the roots where the microbes can get to it and use it for the next crop. That reduces what we have leaving the field. It is amazing the difference a cover crop can make when it comes to reducing losses.”Recent research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS) looking at edge of field research data show very significant reductions in nitrogen loss with a mustard cover crop. So far, cover crops have not been used on the Stateler’s portion of the Demonstration Farms.“The use of cover crops is going to have to increase. We have so far run the baseline with our edge of field research without cover crops,” he said. “So, when we put cover crops on next year we can get a handle on what is happening pretty quickly. Cover crops will be the first variable we change in our edge of field research.”The Statelers also plan on adding deep incorporation of manure to assess the impacts on nutrient loss. ARS research has found a roughly 70% reduction in the concentration of dissolved reactive phosphorus in runoff when fertilizer is injected. With a baseline established with surface application of manure on the Stateler farm, they will start side-by-side comparisons with deep injection to see the results in the near future.With growing political pressure, Stateler emphasizes the need for broad and rapid adoption of these practices within Ohio agriculture.“The people in Toledo get to see this green water in the Lake, on their television and in the newspaper and they are living it. We have to make a major effort to understand what they have to live with. We have to be responsible on our end and if we don’t take it to heart it will be legislated to us. If this is legislated, this will immediately affect the smaller farmers more than the larger farmers. Larger farms can spread these costs out over more acres. I am afraid legislative action is going to hurt the smaller guys especially,” Stateler said. “There is no one thing that will solve this problem and it will take years to solve it. Incorporating nutrients will only influence the surface runoff and tile control structures are only feasible on maybe 40% of the tiled acreage. We can’t do cover crops on every acre because of rental agreements and so forth but where we can save any phosphorus, we have to do what we have to do to save it. We need 100% buy-in on this from agriculture.”