No, Not Boring.

No need to die of boredom in the new South Africa, even though current shenanigans are similarly messy as 25-30 years ago, not much different in terms of people killing opponents or rivals, in towns or villages. We have heavily armed troops and thousands of police deployed to keep the people from attacking state offices, […]

No need to die of boredom in the new South Africa, even though current shenanigans are similarly messy as 25-30 years ago, not much different in terms of people killing opponents or rivals, in towns or villages. We have heavily armed troops and thousands of police deployed to keep the people from attacking state offices, and we have diplomats trying to tell the world that we are a great place to do business. So much has not improved or changed, so many official lies, and many riotous protests because things haven’t changed. But it isn’t boring, no sir!

Who could be bored when armored troop carriers crawl through a major capital city when there isn’t an invading military force anywhere to be found, just citizens going about their normal lives? It seems the Government is nervous of ordinary citizens and members of other political parties.

Who could be bored when citizens burn houses in another major city because they are pissed off with the resident criminals doing their illegal stuff in the neighborhood, year after year, about which the police do nothing, despite citizens requests and complaints?

Who could be bored when a president and his chums seem hell-bent on chucking out the people looking after the Treasury, or putting sycophants into positions of authority in the revenue services, or prosecutions authority, all of which is done to clear the way to plunder the state coffers? Nothing boring about this.

There was a lot very wrong, even immoral and criminal, about how this country was governed before the advent of the new South Africa. There is a lot very wrong, criminal and immoral about how this country is being run now. Guns, soldiers, riot police, riots, patchy and dis-empowering education, all rather much as 25-35- 45 years ago. No, not boring but frighteningly disconcerting.

No, Not Boring.

No need to die of boredom in the new South Africa, even though current shenanigans are similarly messy as 25-30 years ago, not much different in terms of people killing opponents or rivals, in towns or villages. We have heavily armed troops and thousands of police deployed to keep the people from attacking state offices, and we have diplomats trying to tell the world that we are a great place to do business. So much has not improved or changed, so many official lies, and many riotous protests because things haven’t changed. But it isn’t boring, no sir!

Who could be bored when armored troop carriers crawl through a major capital city when there isn’t an invading military force anywhere to be found, just citizens going about their normal lives? It seems the Government is nervous of ordinary citizens and members of other political parties.

Who could be bored when citizens burn houses in another major city because they are pissed off with the resident criminals doing their illegal stuff in the neighborhood, year after year, about which the police do nothing, despite citizens requests and complaints?

Who could be bored when a president and his chums seem hell-bent on chucking out the people looking after the Treasury, or putting sycophants into positions of authority in the revenue services, or prosecutions authority, all of which is done to clear the way to plunder the state coffers? Nothing boring about this.

There was a lot very wrong, even immoral and criminal, about how this country was governed before the advent of the new South Africa. There is a lot very wrong, criminal and immoral about how this country is being run now. Guns, soldiers, riot police, riots, patchy and dis-empowering education, all rather much as 25-35- 45 years ago. No, not boring but frighteningly disconcerting.

 

SA Govt Took R1.0699 Trillion.

This massive sum is what private persons and business handed over to the SA govt in 2015-16.( SARS announcement, Pretoria, 1 April 2016) Did you ever try to imagine how much that is? Every cent that govt has, it took from private persons or businesses. Every cent spent by govt on anything, at what-ever level, was provided by the people. The govt gave none of its own, because it has nothing except what it takes from us.

This is some of what was added to the govt’s stash reported in April 2016:- Personal Income Tax-R389.3 billion, Corporate Income Tax-R193.5 billion, VAT R280.8 billion, Customs/Excise R151,8 billion, and so on.

In the next 3 years the govt plans to dish out R841.7 billion to education, all of which it plans to take from private people and businesses as part of the usual money gathering that govt does.

These last couple of days we have heard political leaders saying that the private sector must come forward to contribute to the education funds, that it has more money than the State, that it has R52 billion lying unused in the JSE, which should be diverted to pay students fees. Do these words spring from ignorance about who has been paying all the time, or do they come from ill-will, or maybe someone who is looking for some populist support?

 

 

Why do we need foreign capital today?

In the history of Africa, people came to collect wealth, to grab shares of the resources available here. Fortunes were assembled by traders, rubber plantation developers, colonists, settler-farmers, mining men and more. What has changed?

Why is it that today we hear our so-called leaders crying out for ‘capital inflow’? Why were those who came before, seeking fortunes, able to create piles of capital, able to build fortunes, but now we are dependent, it seems, on bringing capital in from outside. The resources are here. What is the problem, that we can no longer build fortunes from what is already here, without first bringing in fortunes of foreign capital?

 

 

Why Do We Keep Making Fools of Ourselves ?

The President of RSA chides the parliamentarians because they are making fools of themselves in the eyes of the world.Has he had a good look at his own performance in Parliament? Does he realize that the majority of those parliamentarians are from his party?

The citizens are burning schools and denying their children an education close to home. For what reason? Maybe they don’t like the new constituency demarcation in their area? Or because they want a tarred road? How many other reasons can they find to mess up their kids education?

Other citizens are burning commuter trains that their fellow man needs to go to his place of employment. Why?

People are drowning in useless boats, rushing to leave the failing lands of their birth. Why?

People professing to be of a caring religious persuasion are killing others who also profess to worship the same Creator.Why?

Looking at the madness in other parts of Africa, in Syria, in Turkey, in France, in fact all over the place, one must conclude that Modern Man has decided to go mad, all together, and fade from the scene, after the shortest of times ( say 200,000 years).

 

Remember This Date, It’s All Happening

It’s 16 March 2016 and “twitter” is steaming.

( A late note: the Deputy Finance Minister, Jonas, is coming out about being offered the ministers job, which he rejected, and thus made way for “Des”. It’s all happening today.)

FIFA letting the cat out about SA paying bribes for the 2010 World Cup rights.

The Presidents “memory” being blasted by an ex-ANC MP and once-senior member of the party.

Investigations and warnings against the reinstated Minister of Finance.

International rating agency digging into the financial stability of our country.

The SA currency going through the floorboards yet the Stock Exchange trotting along happily. Could it be connected- – our assets are deliciously cheap because of the currency crash?

The Courts finding that the government violated it’s obligations to the International Criminal Court and our own law… and so on.

Just remember this date, the middle of this week. I think we are at a watershed.

Changing Everything but Fixing Little

Two days ago, Andrew Donaldson suggests Tito wants to rename South Africa. I guess that’s not the first time we’ve heard something like that. Right this very week-end various players are rushing around in Tshwane/Pretoria re-changing street names. Towns, villages, cities and airports are renamed. We have Government Ministers being changed back, forward and sideways. We have changes to the Pensions Act and changes in newspaper ownership using government pension money. (I wonder if the Pension Act changes will free up some more money to change the media playing field a bit more).

The amount of enthusiasm displayed in changing these things is admirable. It suggests that, where really meaningful matters are involved, such as beefing up our passenger rail services, moving tonnes of water and fodder to where it is needed or shifting the State educational system into a higher gear, then we will see some amazingly impressive achievements. The thought and energy consumed in switching Ministers and fighting legal appeals suggests that when it comes to the big stuff, really moving the country forward, we would have produced a South Africa loaded with well educated young men and women, vast numbers of well-built houses, built by well trained new artisans. Water treatment plants and reticulation systems would surely be in the efficient and effective hands of well trained and motivated apprentices and journeymen. But no- !

Instead a ton of money is being spent on connected people trotting off to Davos this week, or some other jamboree next week, to tell the world what a great investment destination the New (Yet to renamed) South Africa is. Those who hear the stories may well ask why they should invest tonnes of money into a country that fails to manage it’s teachers, fails to select leaders who understand international money markets, and where the nest-egg they invested could loose 20% of its value overnight. Having new names for towns and streets does not match the persuasive power of up-to-date electricity systems, of a fully functional education system and law-abiding government and citizenry. And the sight of wasteful opulence as allowed or encouraged by the Parliamentary handbook on salaries and perks is telling an equally discouraging story.

What the world needs to see here is a citizenry voting for really knowledgeable people to govern the land and put the resources to work for all who live here.

Dear South African Government.

Dear South African Government, can we please have better service? Please!

Please provide a national airline that does not need to be subsidized or bailed-out year after year.

Please do not allow our tourist industry to be damaged by arbitrary, inconsistent visa regulations.

Please stop the waste of our tax money on “Rich Man” allowances, perks and salaries for hordes of Ministers.

Please stop spending our tax money on Appealing every Court Judgement that you don’t like.

Please get people who understand  electricity generation and distribution systems to run our national electricity generation and distribution system.

Please produce the political and legal climate that encourages the growth of our economy instead of the strangulation we have experienced in recent years.

Please realize this;  if your party keeps on putting inexperienced, unqualified, sleepy or self-serving  people into national, provincial, para-statals and local government, then South Africa will go down the drain.

South Africans, It’s All Ours To Fix

If you feel like getting annoyed or depressed or gathering political ammunition, you could put together a list of South African scandals, farces, mess-ups and tragedies. You could include Marikana (“Violent miners”. “Trigger-happy police”), Prasa (” Tall locomotives”,  “Threats of murder”), Eskom (“Failure to build”, “Failure to maintain”), Cosas “Defending looting”, SAA “Forever failing”, Nkandla (“Too much”,”Nobody told me”, “No value there”), and Heaven knows how many others. The choice is unbelievable. The violence, the loss of lives, the sheer criminality and xenophobia is hair-raising, although not the worst in the world. The amount of money lost, wasted or stolen, that should have been carefully and effectively spent, is criminal, but also not the worst in the world. However, do you really want to draw up such a list of depressing and maddening things? Or do you want to do something about fixing things.

The people of South Africa spent decades to change the political and economic nature of the country. The people gained the right to universal adult suffrage in a democratic state. The people choose the Parliamentary parties and the individual Councillors at National, Provincial and Local government levels. The people are responsible for the quality of governance that prevails in this country. The problem is that too many of the people have stopped voting, have abandoned their right to vote, and are allowing a minority to re-elect the same politicians and the same officials, year-in and year-out, regardless of the farces, the failures, the waste and the maladministration.

In October 2016, the people of South Africa will have yet another chance to elect local government representatives, throughout the country. Local governance deals with everyone’s daily living conditions, and everyone knows who the local candidates are. Those elections will permit people to choose individuals on their own merit, not faceless party lists. The power to shift the nature of those in office, to influence the direction and morality of governance, will probably be at it’s all-time peak in October 2016.

No matter who is messing up at the moment, ordinary South Africans can fix things through the choices they make in that election.There will be about thirty-two million people eligible to register to vote at that time. Thirty-two million votes can move plenty. There is no reason to allow twelve million votes to herd the whole country. It’s all ours to fix.

It Didn’t Happen. We Were Not Aware. We’re Still In Office.

There is a never-ending stream of things about which our government and political figures know nothing, or about which they lie. Senior and junior officials, whether at national, provincial or local level, demonstrate this same trait. They deny, or don’t know about, or so they claim. So why are they still in office?

The latest ? Omar al-Bashir got into and out of South Africa, was here, wasn’t here, was on a ‘plane but was not on the ‘plane. None of our leading figures knew, or they knew different things, or they changed their minds about what they knew. His ‘plane was at OR Tambo, then it was at  Waterkloof, then it was off down the runway and gone. Our leaders knew nothing, or they lied about it.

Not long ago, our same leaders knew nothing about Gupta’s ‘plane flying into the same military airport. Maybe it was some juniors who arranged the landing rights, and the passport control, and the flight plans. Our country must be full of junior officials with lots of initiative. Our leading political figures knew nothing about this event, or they lied.

Our government signed up in support of the ICC, and even incorporated that support into our own law. In further support of the ICC and our own law, our judges ruled that al-Bashir should not be allowed to leave the country until certain matters of international and domestic law were determined. Our political and governmental figures ignored these things, or they turned a blind eye, or they claimed not to know what was going on. Or they lied, and were complicit.

We need foreign currency. We have tried to encourage tourists  to come here with their money. Suddenly one Minister of government, to the detriment of another Ministry,  enforces visa and passport conditions that choke the stream of tourists. Two government Ministers could not talk sense into each other, or they are in ignorance of each others doings. The Minister who put blocks in the travelers path is the same Minister who was supposed to ensure good management of our national airline, which carries travelers. He couldn’t fix the airline, and now he’s messing up our flow of tourists. The President is responsible for the appointment of these Ministers. He seems not to know much about their abilities, or he couldn’t care.

The National Prosecution Authority seems unable to conduct a successful case against police officers who restrain, then shoot a protester at point blank range, in front of dozens of people. The head of the NPA has been changed so many times that it is no wonder the NPA is in disarray. The office of Commissioner of Police has been filled and emptied over and again, just like the head of NPA office. These appointments are made by our President. Why can’t he make successful appointments?

The government of the country is in the hands of the ANC, with a huge majority in just about every chamber of government, at every level. Their job is to see that things work, that the economy thrives, that the people get proper and appropriate facilities and services, that the payment for those services are collected and re-utilized for further improvements. The ANC has been in the job for over 20 years, yet somehow they seem unable or unwilling to appoint capable people who get the right things done. They seem unaware how to maintain roads, or traffic control systems. They seem unable to ensure a steady supply of medicine to hospitals or clinics. Likewise school books do not get to where they are needed. They seem unable to keep the lights on, though they own Eskom.

At the other end of the scale, our government and political leaders seem to know exactly how to collect good salaries, how to advance the quality and quantity of their perks and allowances, and how to advance the fortunes of their friends and family. They seem very capable of utilizing legal services to avoid carrying out instructions of the courts, or of avoiding punishment for failure to do their work properly. Instead, golden handshakes for failures, or inconvenient appointees, are becoming famous.

It seems to me that the citizens of this country do not realize that they are being cheated and let down. Why else do they allow the same people to sit in Parliament, to sit in municipal councils, year after year?

There have been General Elections, Provincial Elections, Municipal Elections, and By-Elections, over and again. Within political parties, at national level or branch level, there have been elections and selections of office-bearers and candidates. At each election, at each and every level, there has been an opportunity to make changes to who leads, who represents, who governs. For some reason, the citizens choose not make the changes. I wish someone could tell me why.