Magna Carta, a truly global African Reputation Management Consultancy

This year has been a big year for Magna Carta – we celebrated 20 years of managing the reputations of Africa’s top companies.

We have also bolstered our presence on the rest of the continent over the last eight years through the creation of a 16-country partner network, which includes six new affiliate agreements with consultancies in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Zambia and Angola.

Vincent Magwenya, Chief Executive Officer of Magna Carta, with our African affiliates who joined us for our inaugural Africa Network conference
Vincent Magwenya, Chief Executive Officer of Magna Carta, with our African affiliates who joined us for our inaugural Africa Network conference

“The six new affiliate agreements carry a level of exclusivity that includes access to our intellectual property as well as some of our most senior consultants,” said Vincent Magwenya, Chief Executive Officer of Magna Carta at the side-lines of the consultancy’s Africa network conference.

“This gives us an almost unrivalled breadth and reach on the continent which is a compelling competitive advantage for us when serving clients that are expanding their own operations throughout Africa.  We are also currently in the process of securing an additional affiliate agreement with a partner in Mozambique.”

We are also celebrating our evolution from a traditional public relations firm to a truly global African reputation management consultancy, highlighting our ongoing commitment to evolve along with the rapidly changing media and information landscape.

Since our birth in 1994, the year of South Africa’s first democratic elections, we have grown into one of Africa’s most recognised reputation management consultancy offering the full spectrum of new media positioning solutions. Our long-term client base includes the likes of Standard Bank, Engen, Deloitte, Oxford University Press, Samsung, Syngenta, Emirates Airlines, Starwood, Medscheme, Bonitas, Vedanta and Eskom as well as a rapidly expanding portfolio of new business opportunities.

In keeping with our philosophy of continual evolution, we revitalized our service offering at the end of last year to mark our transition from a public relations agency to a consultancy offering the full ambit of end-to-end reputation management solutions.

New services include Investor Relations geared to take companies from an initial public offering through to defined market positioning; Advanced Media Training covering digital, print, financial and broadcast channels; and Public Affairs Management that assist clients in their advocacy efforts on regulation and policy.

Magna Carta’s Investor Relations unit has already built up a significant portfolio of clients while the Public Affairs team has four active briefs at present covering both regulatory and policy advocacy. Advanced Media Training has been rolled out to several of the company’s long-standing clients and is rapidly gaining a reputation as the go-to outfit to prepare for media engagement.

“Our transition to a Reputation Management Consultancy is not just a matter of semantics but a fundamental shift in how we do business,” says Magwenya. “Our comprehensive service offering analyses and assists on all factors that impact a client’s reputation, either positively or negatively.”

During the course of 2014 Magna Carta has been able to on-board a prestigious portfolio of new clients that include Transnet Port Terminals, British American Tobacco SA, Clicks, Pernod Ricard, Nissan, Basil Read Group, Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Shanghai Zendai and Pembury. In addition to this, Magna Carta is also working on a strong pipeline of additional new business opportunities.

“We continue to research and integrate global best practice into the service of our clients by leveraging our partnership with TBWA as well as our exclusive African affiliation with Ketchum.

“Our clients’ reputation journey is also our journey – from navigating complex policy and regulatory environments to finding relevant ways of engaging on digital platforms and enabling clients to meet the expectations of today’s consumers and investors,” says Magwenya.

“Thanks to our strong partnerships we can confidently say that we as Magna Carta are a truly global African Reputation Management Consultancy.”

Written by Garth Theunissen, Media Director

Mining’s legal woes

Mining in South Africa plays an important role in the development and history of our country. Gold mining alone accounts for over 10% of the World’s Gold Production. The industry has contributed to the establishment of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and still accounts for a third of its market capitalisation.

With these few facts in mind, it only makes sense that the laws protecting and overseeing this industry are tight and for the most part make sense to all the players involved. According to Hulme Scholes, attorney at Malan Scholes, this is not the case.

Magna Carta recently hosted a client and media presentation at our Johannesburg offices where Scholes unpacked the amendments and proposed amendments to the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) and the MPRDA Amendment Bill, which was released for public comment in June last year.

According to Scholes the current state of the legal framework is confusing and not consistent, making it hard to advise clients and investors.

One of the points he focused on were the significant changes to the MPRD Act by the Amendment Act:

  • The definition of “Historically Disadvantaged Person” which includes a reference to “Community”; and
  • The introduction of the need to obtain an Environmental Authorisation for Prospecting Mining.

In the first point, Scholes explained how the minister is now meant to facilitate participation of community to get mining rights. The problem is the amendment bill is not effected yet and therefore there are no guidelines on how the minister is meant to facilitate this participation.

Scholes reminded the guests that his take on the legal framework in South Africa was on the negative side because he deals with the irregularities daily. His own firm, Malan Scholes, won ten judgments against the Minerals Minister last year and there was widespread litigation against the State.

Key learnings from his presentation;

  • The Amendment Act states, mining companies now have an obligation to facilitate the participation by Communities in the Mining industry. This obligation appears to have been amended in the Amendment Bill. It’s not yet law. And there are no guidelines or regulations as to how this is to occur
  • The Amendment Bill grants wide powers to the Minister to promote beneficiation of minerals and petroleum in South Africa and he /she is required to consult with affected stakeholders before designating minerals and mineral products. Scholes said it was difficult to form a view of this provisions in the Amendment Bill without corresponding Regulations being promulgated

It was an insightful and very technical session on the laws and suggested laws around mining. From the session it was clear that consistency in the laws are essential, not only for regulating the industry but to make sense to potential investors.

Potential investors don’t have to like our laws but they need to know what they are getting themselves into and to evaluate if it makes sense for them.

Check out Mining Weekly’s report on the session: Click here

Written by Tokiso Molefe Senior Account Manager: New Media and Content