The (Unpublished) Interview with the EFF’s Leigh-Ann Mathys


This archived interview with EFF Treasurer-General Leigh-Ann Mathys was done in November 2016, and was first meant to appear as a piece for Moneyweb’s The Investor. So far unpublished, here’s the full text of the original piece.

Mention the Economic Freedom Fighters in casual conversation and you’ll get a range of reactions: Fear and loathing, laughter, anger, or even hope for a better-led country. But just what makes recently appointed Treasurer of the EFF Leigh-Ann Mathys tick, and could there be way more to the EFF than meets the eye?

“I was born in Durban (KZN), schooled in Pietermaritzburg.” Her family later moved to Australia where she completed her final year of high school. She underwent further education in the USA and moved to Australia where she kickstarted her career in industrial relations. After six years in industrial relations, she returned to South Africa and had a career change that planted her in a small town called Ingwavuma in KZN..

We get to do the interview during a spur-of-the-moment gap in both our schedules.

One of the first questions that comes up is just how one ends up with the EFF: “Things kind of just happened.” says Mathys. “The Marikana Massacre was my earthquake moment – at that time there was no EFF, just Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu , making headlines on their response to Marikana. I called a mutual friend and asked them to put in contact with them. The CiC called me, I told him I want to help out. Well, the rest is history.”

Her recent appointment to the position of Treasurer-General of the EFF comes as more of a formality, she says, as she’s “been responsible for organizational finance since the formation of the EFF.”

“I am attracted by what we stand for, particularly our policies on land reform as that’s something I have always been quite passionate about.” She also likes the fact that there’s a call for change on the political front, we are standing up for the needs of the people. “It’s both empowering and necessary.”

The controversy that comes with the territory hasn’t phased her much. “You know what you’re signing up and what we stand for when you join the EFF.” In terms of their image – both in South Africa and internationally – she says things have been going well so far. “There’s been a lot of good done in terms of interaction and keeping people updated through social media, like posting pictures of rallies.”

Her Twitter profile (@LeighMathys), for one, is buzzing with daily thoughts and updates and clocks in at 14. 072 followers. She says initially people found her an unexpected face in the ranks of the EFF; this, at times, is a great way to break the ice.

There’s clearly more to it than what people see through the occasionally controversial headlines. “Most people have no idea that there are sittings in parliament every day in which we participate to discuss the future of the country. There aren’t just sittings in parliament when Zuma shows up and it ends up on the news.”

She’s a fiery conversationalist and calls out a cliche’d interview question – her favourite books – and a peppered slip of the tongue immediately. Then answers. “Well, the EFF book is one.”

There’s an EFF book? “Yes, The Coming Revolution that includes our founding manifesto of the EFF, encompassing what we stand for. I turn to it whenever I need that boost of inspiration or encouragement. The second, which is more of a collection of sayings, is The Prophet (by Khalil Gibran), which I usually carry with me.”

On a personal finance level, what are we doing wrong? “I think South Africans are saving too little and spending too much.” She mentions people’s reaction to their first exposure to consumerism. “There area thousands shops just around the corner, and it’s overwhelming to have all of these options. People are bombarded by ads and pressured to buy more of this or that. We’re very consumerized as a nation.” Her own investment, she mentions briefly, has involved setting up a strong, diversified investment portfolio: A good idea for anyone.

The future: Now what? “Corporations have been holding us hostage.” she says. As an example, we discuss large companies who lay off thousands of employees in one go: The working class, making up the bulk of the country, ends up getting the worst of it.

South Africa has a lot of room for improvement, but where do we start? “We need to look at improving the education sector. Children are the country’s future, so if you want to improve anything you’ve got to start there.”

Alternative solutions – economically, politically and educationally – are necessary. She points to Cuba’s economy as a reference point. “There’s enough for everyone. I’m not saying we should carbon copy Cuba; I’m just saying we need to look further to find solutions for South Africa’s problems.”

Away from the EFF, she finds herself “mostly exhausted”. “Public appearances, rallies, meeting and interacting with new people all the time can be draining. There’s not a lot of off-time for myself.” When she does get away, her paradise is the beach: If she could be any kind of animal, her first choice is a dolphin, and her ideal holiday is one with sea and sand by the ocean.

Asked three things she’d change as leader of the country, she says, “I honestly have no aspirations to become president!” What she would be doing if she was not part of the EFF is almost irrelevant: Leigh-Ann Mathys is completely content with where she is now.

The sun disappears behind the mountain as the interview wraps, casting a brilliant red glow over the sky.

Play Bridge? Join BBO Prime

Any bridge players (and existing members of Bridge Base Online) should check out the BBO Prime Membership Club for online play – click here for the official About Prime page.

Join to get access to exclusive club games, unique daily and weekly content about bridge and more advanced bot play!

It’s one of the best places to be for a bridge game.


Yes, Former President FW de Klerk Played Bridge – and Here’s the Proof!


Former president FW de Klerk is a man of international prominence: He was instrumental in negotiations which brought a final end to apartheid, he was the man to sign off on the release of former president Nelson Mandela, he was the recipient of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize – and a handful of references also point to him as a bridge player.

Most references to bridge and FW de Klerk are scarce, scattered throughout books (like Vulnerable in Hearts: A Memoir of Fathers, Sons and Contract Bridge) and articles (Eisenhower’s Other Title: Bridge Player in Chief; NY Times, 2009) with a brief mention and, unfortunately, little background.

I finally received an e-mail from the FW de Klerk Foundation through Brenda, personal assistant to Mr de Klerk, that clarifies.

The official response appears below – and I’m glad to be able to confirm that we both share an admiration for the great game of bridge!

“Mr De Klerk used to play a lot of bridge at university level but neglected it afterwards.  He was never a fully committed contract bridge player and never read a manual on bridge.  However, he still reads bridge columns wherever he can find them, and he is a great admirer of the game.”




Read: Malicious Cryptocurrency Miners – The Zama-Zamas of the Internet

is your mobile device acting up or your battery life running down too fast? You might be victim to background mobile cryptominers. Click here to read the full article on Identity-Theft-Scout.

In some parts of southern Africa, you’ll hear unauthorized miners sometimes referred to as “zama-zamas.”

The term describes miners who operate off the grid, often risking their lives to bring underground minerals back up to earth through makeshift or previously shut-down shafts, many of which will collapse on the way in or out.

Cryptocurrency means that mining – and certainly illegal mining – no longer must take place in the depths of the earth but can take place in cyberspace.

The zama-zamas of the internet have already started to claim their part of the wealth, and now the biggest danger has changed from the collapse of a physical mineshaft to the collapse of any devices that have been hijacked to use as mining network.

Wuhan, the World Bridge Team Championships 2019 and the Coronavirus Danger

In September 2019, we saw the World Bridge Team Championships taking place in Wuhan, China.

Right now, circa January 2020, the area of Wuhan has made news for an entirely different reason: A serious outbreak of a type of Coronavirus which appears to have originated in Wuhan – and has rapidly spread to other areas of China and other parts of the world, including the United States and Europe.

Wuhan has been hard hit by cases to the point where there is a reported shortage of test kits for the Coronavirus.

There has been a lot of travel for bridge players (and non-bridge players) to affected areas, especially with bridge players representing their country in the event and heading back home.

It’s a dangerous condition to anyone, and becomes even more dangerous if you have a compromised immune system by default: Showing symptoms like a fever or cough means you should have yourself checked.

I’ve previously written about immune systems and bridge for the daily BBO Prime Column. It rings eerily true now, and remains important. Click to read 7 Important Facts About Immune Systems and Bridge.

Information about the Coronavirus and the associated symptoms can be found at this page from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Remember: Being informed is staying safe.

Alex on Audible: Out-of-Work to Making Money

41RFAQA4bvL._SL500_Accessibility is one of the most important things for promoting the written word, and sometimes this can mean having your books read to you instead.

I’m both happy and thankful to say that the book Out-of-Work to Making Money is now available as an audiobook release on Audible – and features great stories by writers and professionals (other than me!) who worked their way out of a financial or career-related rut in creative ways.

It’s a great book to get if you want to know more about practical job-seeking from personal perspectives – including more about techniques like cold calling and how to make them work.

Click here for more information on the Audible release and how to get a copy.

You can also click here to see other versions of the book, available on Amazon.

WritersWeekly: In the Top 10 Most Popular Posts for 2019!

Writers Weekly Top 10 is a rich resource for any writer or freelancer.

I’m proud to say that Scaring for Pay: 10 Paying Horror Markets for Writers made it to the #10 spot for one of the most read articles during 2019!

There is is, right there, alongside some pretty great articles about writing.

Click here for the entire list, and thanks to everyone who has continued reading, sharing and writing!