Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel graphic
Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
May 29, 2009 Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel

Thank you James Brewer-Calvert and Bill Funk for top-notch reporting in May. Your reporter for June is Richard Puckett. Please let Richard or me know of news you'd like included in the bulletin. Mark Burnette continues his good work as photographer.

-- Susan Cobleigh

    email: or phone 404.371.4444

    In this Issue
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
  • Spotlight on South Africa
  • Around the Room
  • Around the Table
  • June Birthdays
  • Coming Up

  • Spotlight on South Africa
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel

    Speaker Francois Botha

    by James Brewer-Calvert

    Mark Burnette, photographer

    Eric Lucas introduced our speaker, Francois Botha. Botha took early retirement from Eskom, the South African power company, in 1997. He served in a variety of capacities there during his 21-year career, first as treasurer and more recently as the International Executive promoting Eskom and South Africa as an investment destination. From 1991 to 1994 he operated out of Frankfurt, Germany, and since August 1994, he has been in Atlanta. Currently Mr. Botha is employed by Drake, Beam & Morin, a leading global outplacement, career management and coaching firm. He is also a frequent speaker for Crossroads Career Network and actively supports the Mt. Paran Church of God chapter. Mr. Botha lives in Atlanta with his family and travels extensively. He and his family are proud citizens of the United States.

    "The country of South Africa reminds me of a sportsman who has never reached his full potential," he said. "South Africa is a treasure box of the world. It is the number one producer of precious metals that the world cannot do without."

    Mr. Botha said that he is qualified to speak on South Africa because he lived there for 40 years, had solid relationships with international bankers and suppliers, and is a descendant of the Botha family. He is able to trace his lineage back to Jan Frederick Botha, who came to South Africa from Germany as a trader for the Dutch East Indies Trading Company. Botha settled in Cape of Good Hope in 1692, and built a farm, which functions as a working farm to this day.

    Francois Botha moved to Atlanta in 1994. He likes to focus on the positive regarding why someone should invest in South Africa, but first he listed the major areas of deep concern for the nation state.

    First, there is very high unemployment and poverty. Program after program to address these challenges have failed. There is a new Expanded Public Works Program to provide jobs with training. This national program is designed to target the underemployed and unemployed, and President Zuma is optimistic that it can drive unemployment down from 23 percent to 14 percent. The global recession, falling commodity prices plus shrinking investments from foreigners is a difficult combination for South Africa. Zuma and his fellow citizens will need to find a balance between expanded welfare and shrinking resources.

    Further, crime is a major problem. Since there is not one common cause, there cannot be one common solution. For the past decade, crime and violence have become the number one reason cited by citizens leaving South Africa.

    Finally, a host of other challenges are ever present, including: education (too many drop outs and not enough citizens with higher educations); health care (300,000 people die every year due to HIV/AIDS); the tragedy of 1.5 million orphans; land reform (80 percent of the land is owned by 10 percent of the population); local governments are ineffective and corrupt; illegal immigration; and the need for Black economic empowerment (so far only the Black elite have become empowered).

    South Africa has followed a fiscally conservative policy for years. The Rand remains vulnerable. In a land that 50 years ago could boast that 60 percent of the GNP was directly related to mining and concomitant industry, today only three percent of the GNP is mining related. Tourism holds between eight to twelve percent of the GNP, with major international events like cricket and soccer being held there. In 2010, the World Cup will be held in South Africa. Mr. Botha concluded by saying that despite the odds, South Africa has a hopeful future, and it is safe to invest there.

    In honor of Mr. Botha's visit, A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World by William J. Bernstein was donated to the DeKalb Library System.

    Around the Room
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel

    New member Carl Seville was introduced by Elliott Augustine and welcomed into the club by President Mark. Carl has his own green building consulting firm, Seville Consulting. He was formerly with SawHorse, Inc.

    Around the Table
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel

    Eric Lucas with speaker Francois Botha

    June Birthdays
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
    • June 2: Jon Manns
    • June 4: Bill Breen
    • June 10: Greg Adams
    • June 10: Richard Puckett
    • June 13: Bobby Atwater
    • June 13: Ray Willoch
    • June 14: Jack Gerlach
    • June 14: Gue' Hudson
    • June 16: Dan Coursey
    • June 17: Bob McMahan
    • June 17: B. J. Sumner
    • June 18: Van Fraser
    • June 19: Lauri McKain-Fernandez
    • June 21: Bob Bachman
    • June 22: Candler Broom
    • June 22: Don Hooten
    • June 24: David Ewing
    • June 25: Bob Rutland
    • June 26: Todd Speed

    Coming Up
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel

    Club Announcements

    Elliott Augustine delivered the invocation.

    Mary Callahan's husband Edward passed away. Please remember Mary and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

    Welcoming Guests

    Maria Mullins, DeKalb County Economic Development, was the guest of Sara Fountain, and Charles Briley, recent graduate of Decatur High School, was the guest of Nath Briley, his father.

    Officers for Decatur Rotary:

    President - Mark Hastings

    President-Elect - Bryan Downs

    Past President - David Ewing

    Secretary - Vee Nelson

    Treasurer - Jason Conn

    Sergeant-at-Arms - Doug Torbush

    District Governor - Ted Propes

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Join us! Decatur Rotary Club meets each Friday at noon at the Old Courthouse on the Square in downtown Decatur.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    The four-way test of the things we think, say or do:

    Is it the TRUTH?

    Is it FAIR to all concerned?


    Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Directions: Old Courthouse on the Square
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
    phone: 404-371-4444
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel