Last year when the news about Wuhan’s coronavirus surfaced, we were busy celebrating winning the Rugby world cup. Did no-one guess that our public health system needed to be ready for an influx of mass infections of the pulmonary kind? How did a whole year go by, with the economy having been tanked as it was on the aftermath of the capture-festival, involving 6 months of limited and highly constrained economic activity, for us to get the stage where the public health system is overburdened as it is with coronavirus infections. Where is the compensation from the decision-makers to the people? The ANC made the bad decisions, the people suffered, and while palpable attempts to use taxpayers money and to borrow money on the account of the state are in play (because let’s face it - when stokvel, spaza, mashonisa, borrow ‘n spend, chow the money, sugardaddy top-up and the blame game are your only goto options – there’s always going to be some state sponsored expenditure and borrowing) there should be compensation from the ANC t o the people for the malfeasance wrought by the ANC. This type of personal liability should be normal for politicians – they should have malpractice insurance for it – when they make bad decisions – the people claim and the politicians’ insurers pay out – or at least there should be a reduction in VAT or something meaningful.
One whole year to get the public health system sort-of ready for a pandemic that your were warned in 1999 was definitely coming, and when it started emerging between 1999 and 2004 and when it reoccurred between 2009 and 2014 – did you not think hey look out for what’s coming between 2019 and 2024? I can say with certainty that for as long as the “long war” is in effect 1999/2000 – 2019/2020 – 2039/2040 and for as long as there is a coalition of the willing “promoting democracy” the hard way – there will be this Chinese weaponized common cold lurking at the fringes of society, waiting for the spin cycle to infect the masses with impunity. Taiwan has been suffering under the double threat of air pollution and Chinese viral warfare for decades and has yet to lodge some sort of complaint. So there is not much hope for the rest of the world, regardless of how many times Trump refers to it as the “China Virus”. Interestingly the BRICS countries are hardest hit by the coronavirus, after the countries that use China as a sweatshop. Does this mean that the New Development Bank is making plans to refinance the developing world out of the clutches of the IMF/WB and indeed the alternative state-lenders? Could we see massive debt consolidation facilities being offered to countries wanting to get away from American/European lending and away from the borrow-from-a-specific-country lending paradigms? What about a gold backed new currency for BRICS countries and their friends? How far will they go to use the moment to effect real change to the economic system.
South Africa’s unsophisticated and crude economists would be in favour of anything that offered a clean slate, more borrowing and the prospect of easy, cheap and free money in exchange for mindless, limited or no work. This would fit into the logic of the ANC perfectly. Then again the economy has never been the ANC’s strong suit even when the Pahad brothers were keeping Mbeki pickled. Zuma’s lot just want the money they weren’t interested in the details. Cyril’s lot have gone out of their way to make it seem that he and his are not captured by a bunch of psychotic repeaters all sitting around waiting for someone to fart out an idea. Now that we have minimum wage – yes, a South African is entitled to R1 every 3 minutes regardless of how many successful operations or completed tasks performed in that time – we can be sure that the move in public-finance-of-my-private-fortune world will be away from delivering value and more toward entitlement. Someone should tell the morons that make policy for populists-r-us trading as the ANC that just because your ancestors worked in manual labour jobs 50 years ago it doesn’t mean that your coloured genepool has done enough work for its lifetime. If you want to eat today, you must work today. Similarly, just because your ancestors were defeated in war and subsequently robbed (first by the Zulus, Xhosas, Tswanas, Sothos, Pedis, Tsongas, Swatis, Ndebeles and Vendas and then by the Europeans) it doesn’t mean that you are entitled to compensation today. The historical suffering of your ancestors is not cause for your enrichment – your people were defeated – deal with the reality of your life. Work. Hard. Save. Scrimp. Prioritise. Build Wealth. Invest in EDUCATION. Which brings us back to the matter of what the BRICS countries are going to do to use the moment for change.
Given that China is where it is economically because of Hard Work, and given that India is no slouch when it comes to extracting economic value and production output from economic units, sorry, “people”, it is simply a matter of whether Russia can pivot from its national gambling problem (“Give me what I want or I will fuck you up”) to an economic productivity that is comparable. Brazil and South Africa are hopeless by comparison. Brazil doesn’t know what a work ethic is and South Africa sold its work ethic to buy H F Verwoerd some new satin knickers when he was de-Africanising South Africa. There is literally no chance what with the Basic Conditions of Employment, the Employment Equity, the Minimum Wage, the Trade Unions, the Preferential Procurement and the Black Empowerment that South Africa has the makings of a competitive economy that is comparable to China or India. South Africa is the African member of BRICS and Brazil is the American member of BRICS, token members no more. South Africa’s best option is in social media, online gaming and advertising that is fueled by IPO’s and banks that lend money to buy listed shares – while the actual businesses in questions play “chow the money” with corporate overdrafts. In short South Africa’s best hope is in becoming a haven for technology companies that are little more than paper-tigers fronting “deep tech” credentials that never materialize.
The unions have priced work out of the market dynamics of demand and supply, and the “culture” of the ANC – get someone else to do the work – has priced operating costs out of the market dynamics of profitability and solvency. Literally if a business in South Africa employs people there is no value in it and its not worth investing it. All the revenue will be chowed, all the costs will be overstated and there is no chance of a respectable dividend. You think I’m joking, I’m not – the frenzy with which corporate South Africa has had to cow tow to BBBEE has rendered a corporate culture in the private sector that is just as apathetic as the public sector. Its someone else’s money – so losses and failures don’t matter. Sick, depraved and devoid of conscience – South Africa’s economy gasps one salary run until the next – that’s all that’s important – for as long as it’s good. It’s almost like a plague of locusts descended upon the fields and chowed everything and hasn’t left for the fields to regrow – they’re sort of hanging about awaiting a second course. Soon there’ll be no grain to feed to the locusts and then hopefully they’ll fly away. All this has clouded the real issue of how the ANC stole 6 months of economic productivity to prepare for something that they should have been ready for in any event. Now, I’m not saying it hurt – but I did feel violated! But then again when your organizational culture is predicated on grooming prison wyfies for numbers gangsters, and then you’re put in charge of the government – some tendencies die hard.