Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Deafening silence..

Protection of State Information Bill - in favour 229; 107 against... 

I suppose we all thought the government would do its duty. In these impure, politically-bereft and often emotionally draining times, nepotistic leaders (sic) callously impugn the dignity of the people. Described as a vote of tactical defiance or partisan politics for the sake of defiance, South Africa's government took its first steps down the constitutionally slippery slope reminiscent of the draconian heavy-handedness employed by the apartheid-masters against which, perversely, many of the aye-vote STRUGGLED against.

A shining African light for democracy no more.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Wolf on the spit..

We sympathise with Occupy Wall Street (OWS), the self-styled people's-power movement fighting against, in their own words 'the corrosive power of major banks & multinational companies'. Even so, you could in fact argue that the banks & multinational companies had the latitude to act contrary to the spirit of the law on lax, negligent and in some cases, blatantly incompetent REGULATORY supervision.

You would be hard-pressed to understand why the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) would insist on high moral and ethical standards at community level without aggressively insisting on the same code of conduct internally. Trade-execution procedures for personal accounts, specifically applied to its executive, are seemingly easily transgressed. 

Whilst details on Allan Thompson's dismissal are sketchy you would be forgiven for thinking that, in this case at least, the wolves have been put in charge of the lambs...

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Red-herrings & a hot potato

It might be prudent, for the time-being, to relegate the public indiscretions and or financial inconsistencies of the ANCYL's Malema and focus instead on more pressing issues which will, in time, become defining.

Faced with a contradiction in terms and based on the premise that all South Africans are free, the idea that economic emancipation or economic freedom, if you like, should, by definition, follow is inherently flawed. In fact, perversely, history often confirms the opposite.

Has the African National Congress (ANC)- government failed its people? Yes; mostly... but it's hardly surprising and that's not a reflection on the competencies within the ANC but rather on the system itself. Yes, some officials have been incompetent and yes some are corrupt. Even so, it would be ridiculous to suggest that South Africa's economic woes are commensurate with the ANC and by extrapolation any different from other developing countries.

Service-delivery promises, often the only tangible way for ordinary people to measure the success of their vote, have fallen short. Poverty is rife. 25% of the workforce remains unemployed. Schools, hospitals and other basic infrastructural necessities are either in a state of decay, disrepair or are inadequate. So where to from here?

Traditionally there are three basic economic strategies to uplift the poor. One - grants, subsidies, welfare & charity. Two - artificial wealth redistribution and Three - Education and access to funding. Most countries prefer a combination of the three with an emphasis on one or the other. The permutations are many... In South Africa we employ a combination of the three with an emphasis on welfare. Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is our preferred version of artificial wealth redistribution and we have legislation compelling banks to lend money favourably to the poor. Now, if the ANCYL has its way it will nationalise the mines. That's tolerable if the mines are well-managed and draw on skills from within the private sector and the proceeds spent on higher education and infrastructure investment. If the emphasis is on education everything else takes care of itself. If however, as most suspect, the ANCYL plans to nationalise the mines to give the money to the poor, that would be finite, unsustainable and inefficient. Worst of all, if the ANCYL nationalises the mines for the sake of taking from one ethnic group to give to another then that would be counterproductive, demotivating and in short nothing short of disastrous.

So, if we are serious about this country's future let's not begrudge a politician his time in the limelight for that's what he is, a politician. Notwithstanding, ignoring the plight of the poor and the associated socio-economic issues as the ignorant rantings of a fool is economic suicide.