David Bullard

David Bullard

Taxi ride to ruin
by David Bullard — last modified Aug 31, 2019 07:13 PM
David Bullard
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Sep 01, 2019

Who in government is going to steer Tito Mboweni’s turnaround plan to fruition?

Can you bank on it?
by David Bullard — last modified Aug 25, 2019 01:02 AM
David Bullard
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Aug 25, 2019

When a populist politician decides to wipe out certain loans in the hopes of keeping voters sweet, the banking system suddenly looks a bit dodgy.

Living on the edge
by David Bullard — last modified Aug 18, 2019 01:09 AM
David Bullard
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Aug 18, 2019

Things we need to consider now that South Africa is perilously close to the ‘fiscal cliff’.

Ten norms of a submerging market
by David Bullard — last modified Aug 10, 2019 11:41 AM
David Bullard
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Aug 11, 2019

The government’s ‘10 reasons why you should invest in South Africa’ ad may need to be reshot to reflect current conditions.

Because you think I’m right?
by David Bullard — last modified Aug 03, 2019 06:25 PM
David Bullard
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Aug 04, 2019

My advice to columnists who bandy the term ‘right-wing’ around should take care not to attach labels to people they know nothing about.

Marvel comics meets SONA
by David Bullard — last modified Jun 22, 2019 09:37 PM
David Bullard
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Jun 23, 2019

SONA II proves that the more promises of change there are, the more things are likely to stay the same.

Memo to Cabinet
by David Bullard — last modified Jun 02, 2019 02:13 AM
David Bullard
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Jun 02, 2019

If you really want economic growth you’ll have to ignore those who regard financial success as evidence of class exploitation.

Pre-election lunacy masquerading as manifesto expansion
by David Bullard — last modified Apr 21, 2019 09:00 AM
David Bullard
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Apr 21, 2019

One of the concomitant pleasures that come with a looming general election is the opportunity to listen to representatives of parties contesting the election attempt to explain their policies in more detail.

Pulp Fact

I don’t read Business Day these days but apparently an academic called Charl Linde had written a letter the previous day with the screaming headline “Axe Bullard event”.

Linde was calling for the university authorities to cancel the event because I apparently have become a hero for the overt and covert “alt-right”. Reading Mr Linde’s Twitter feed it becomes apparent that he has been a little unlucky in love of late and maybe we should offer that in mitigation of his apparent opposition to free speech.

When the Sunday Times sacked me back in 2008 (after 14 years of loyal service ) and labeled me a “racist” to appease the ANC and deter them from following up on their threat of withdrawing advertising, I suspect they thought that would be the end of me. But we white monopoly capitalists are made of sterner stuff so here I am, 11 years later, with a second weekly column aimed at the sort of people whose IQ score is higher than the ambient temperature measured in Fahrenheit. 

As I often tell people, being labeled a “racist” has many hidden advantages. Firstly, you can never be labeled racist again with quite the same impact. Secondly, you no longer have to pay tax because all your previous clients will dump you for fear of contagion and thirdly, you become a much more interesting dinner guest. Let’s be honest; as the politically correct conversation starts to flag just as the cheeseboard has been brought to the table somebody has to liven up the evening with an outrageously unfashionable comment. This at least gives any “woke” dinner party guests the opportunity to “call me out” on my racism/sexism/transphobia/homophobia/white privilege/ patriarchy etc etc.   My only sadness is that so many people have now been labeled “racist” that the word has been utterly devalued. At least I was an early adopter.

I’m frequently reminded that I’m old, bitter and irrelevant by some of the bright young things of journalism. So it was with great joy that I put on my reading glasses, took my false teeth out of the glass by my bed and read an invitation on my cellular device to speak at a function in Stellenbosch along with IRR CEO Frans Cronje. The topic was the future of South Africa which, given the mess we’re in at the moment (the electricity went off as I typed that line) and the approach of a general election, didn’t strike me as too off piste. Admittedly the attention grabbing title of the evening’s entertainment was “On the verge of catastrophe?” which seemed to greatly upset some lefties who failed to notice the question mark. Or, if they did notice it, either didn’t understand why it was there or chose to ignore it. 

But what upset the lefties even more was my involvement in the evening and the potential damage such an association could do to the IRR. A heavily Botoxed quasi academic from London got the ball rolling on Twitter and before too long that great newspaper of record, The Citizen, ran a story titled “Institute of Race Relations slammed for inviting “racist” David Bullard to speak”. And there was I thinking I’d become irrelevant. Naturally I put the entire article on my Twitter page on the sound premise that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

I’d made the fatal mistake in my Twitter interaction with the Botoxed one of assuming a) a certain level of intelligence and b) a sense of humour and had flippantly invited her to send her loony left friends to “no platform” me, adding that I had bought a tazer for such events. Needless to say this got blown out of all proportion with hysterical accusations that I was “threatening violence against those with opposing views”. 

By the time the 13th March came around I had been elevated on social media to full blown white supremacist status. It was that easy. I deliberately arrived at the Stellenbosch venue early for a cleansing ale at the Pulp Cinema, hoping to avoid the crowds of anti Bullard demonstrators outside. That I managed to do successfully but only because there were no antis outside. I checked every 15 minutes and tried to look as offensively white supremacist as possible but it was just the usual bunch of friendly students munching on burgers or just milling about and they weren’t falling for it. This white supremacist thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be evidently. 

 

Happily, the Stellenbosch University management chose to ignore Mr Linde’s terrified shrieks and the event proceeded without interruption. In fact, the racially diverse capacity audience were extremely courteous, asked very good questions and many lingered after the event for further discussion. It was, as Frans Cronje said, a victory for free speech over faint hearts. 

And the tazer? Well I completely forgot it was a Wednesday and my wife gets to use it on that day. Next time maybe. 

 

David Bullard is, well, David Bullard.

 

'Woke' me up, someone!

I confess that I’m having great difficulty adapting to these new “woke” times we live in. For example, when I was growing up in England the only people who were “called out” were plumbers, electricians and occasionally general practitioners. In those days doctors used to make house calls and if you were in bed as a child and covered in spots with the measles or chicken pox the kindly GP would pay you a visit in your darkened bedroom, sign a sick note for school and speed you on towards a full recovery. It’s been many years since GPs paid house calls in the UK but it remains a comforting childhood memory. Unlike the National Health  Service, plumbers and electricians generally charged a call out fee which is why they were able to afford BMW’s and Mercs long before my father could. 

These days “call out” has a very different and rather more sinister meaning. It’s the Orwellian term used by the left to police our fellow citizens’ speech. For example, if I invite friends around for a braai and start a joke with the words “A Scotsman, a Welshman and an Englishman walk into a pub and the Scotsman says……” I am likely to be halted in mid speech with the irritating words “Hey dude….not cool” by anyone sufficiently woke in the assembled company. It’s not that the woke one will not want to hear the joke; it’s rather that he/she will want to indulge in some public virtue signaling and demonstrate to the assembled company that he/she is a deeply caring and superior life-form to the rest of us. 

Now obviously I wouldn’t invite the sort of people who interrupt my jokes to a braai but social media is now so full of wokeness that practically everybody is being encouraged to call out anybody on anything that they find mildly offensive. At school it used to be called snitching but now being an interfering busybody is something to aspire to. 

There are many jokes that I don’t find funny but my reaction is not to laugh at them. But, since the best comedy generally involves mockery of some kind I wonder whether we would really want to “call out” Rowan Atkinson for mocking differently abled people with his Mr Bean character or John Cleese for the extreme racism and anti Catalan sentiment directed at the Manuel character in Fawlty Towers. 

The list of things you can call people out on is immense and includes the usual a la carte menu of racism, sexism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia and, more recently, white privilege.

Last week the entertainer Danny K attracted enormous attention on Twitter for acknowledging his white privilege (except that he called it white priveldge ) and urged other white people to do the same. It was a decent thing to do on his part and I applaud him for beating his breast in such a public way but I’m not too sure what is achieved by such a statement. He went on to say that he “took ownership” of his white privilege which confused me even more. Is white privilege transferred like a used car? Does it need to be licensed and who was the prior owner before Danny took ownership? 

I’ve frequently  been called out on my white privilege and it’s left me perplexed. It’s no use denying it because I experience the effects of it every day. Like many of my countrymen I am acutely aware that in South Africa my skin colour still affords me great advantages over many of my fellow citizens. That may simply be because it is widely assumed that if you have a white skin you will have a high paying job, live in a mansion, own several luxury cars, have at least one holiday home and carry a variety of credit cards which are never declined in up market restaurants. All of which is utter nonsense. 

There are plenty of white skinned people in SA who live lives of utter misery just as there are plenty of black skinned people who live lives of unbelievable indulgence. If you don’t believe me check out Hyde Park shopping centre on any day of the week. In my experience, so- called “privileged” whites are often major contributors to the economy and would dearly love to see this country prosper. What possible motive would they have to see it fail? In addition, many of them are generous benefactors of charities and educational foundations and decent and thoughtful employers of black staff. Since you can do very little about the colour of your skin, your upbringing and what happened in the past the constant snide reference to white privilege seems rather futile; particularly as it’s not transferable and can be on no use to anyone else. 

So what is this whole “white privilege” nonsense really about? Well, it’s all about having someone to blame and when that last happened in the 1930’s in Germany it didn’t have a happy outcome. 

 

David Bullard is, well, David Bullard

 

 

We have monsters and some of them are loonies

Satire is necessary in electoral politics, but not all politicians should be clowns.

Not long after Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in the UK the British political scene became considerably more interesting  with the appearance of the Monster Raving Loony party in 1983, started by a not very convincing pop star called Screaming Lord Sutch.  It has to be said that the party wasn’t terribly successful at winning votes and Sutch holds the rather dubious record of losing more than 40 elections (along with his deposit) during his political career. 

What the Monster Raving Loony party did rather better than attract votes was to satirise the whole political set-up and that’s never a bad thing in my opinion. Venezuela should try it sometime.

We have a record 48 parties contesting the elections on May 8th, some of them obvious imitations of the Monster Raving Loony party. Bearing in mind that parties have to pay a R200000 deposit to take part in national elections that’s probably the easiest R9.6mln the Independent Electoral Commission will ever make. 

First past the finishing post in the Loony Party Handicap Stakes has to be Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s African Content Movement closely followed by Andile Mngxitama’s Black First Land First  (BLF) with Jimmy Manyi’s African Transformation Movement galloping in at third place. 

Motsoeneng was the genius who brought the SABC to its knees but his enthusiasm for local content remains undiminished. The party is determined that South Africans only buy goods with a 90% African content so you can wave goodbye to smart phones, flat screen TV’s and motor vehicles should they wrest power from the ANC. 

The BLF manage to combine extreme looniness with a rather chilling nastiness. It’s leader, the diminutive Andile Mngxitama, has warned that if the party doesn’t get enough votes to run the country then “we’ll have problems”. Echoing Frank Sinatra he promised that if the party doesn’t get elected to parliament then “we’ll do it our way” suggesting that it may be necessary to resort to violence to make people see sense. Apparently Andile went off to sign the code of conduct recognizing SA as a democratic state after uttering these threats but it is perfectly feasible that he hadn’t a clue what he was signing at the time. 

Then there’s dear old Jimmy Manyi who has hitched his wagon to that powerful locomotive, the quasi religious African Transformation Party. Jimmy holds something of a world record among media moguls for the shortest stint in the job. You will remember that he acquired The New Age and ANN7 from the Guptas through the rather unusual method of “vendor funding”. This is when the seller apparently gives you the money to buy the asset (sic) that he is selling. I daresay this unnerved old Rupert Murdoch but his fears were unfounded because Jimmy’s media empire collapsed within months. Jimmy is best known for keeping very dubious company (and not liking being called Jimmy) but he’s always good for a laugh. 

I expressed the thought to a friend of mine that it might be a good idea if there were some sort of mandatory intelligence test which could be applied before anybody was allowed to stand for parliament. “That would put at least 70% of the current ANC cabinet out of work” he replied. 

So it was with some sense of relief that I noted the launch of the Capitalist Party (ZACP) two weeks ago. 

Now I don’t think the ZACP expect to be running the country after May 8 but their ten guiding principles make such good sense that they deserve an X on the ballot paper in the hope that some of them become parliamentarians.

1 Liberty….well who wouldn’t want liberty but it’s gradually being eroded under the current administration.

2 Individual rights before group rights…..that means putting the country’s interests ahead of party interests. Something the ANC find ridiculous.

3 Tolerance and absolute protection of freedom of expression….and presumably not just for Julius and Andile?

4 Private property rights protected by law…. As I’ve remarked many times, the Almighty gave us Zimbabwe as a warning. Destroy property rights and you destroy everything.

5 Rule of law…..for everybody and no tinkering with the prosecution services and the legislature to keep your cronies out of jail.

6  Right to work….assuming that what is left of the economy after the ANC have finished with it has any jobs to offer.

7  The right to be secure on your own property and to defend yourself against intruders….see item 9 below

8  Free markets and international free trade based on enlightened self interest….this won’t please the lefties who think state ownership is the answer. Cast your eyes to Venezuela comrades or even to the UK in the 1970’s under the Labour party. Not many people remember that the UK had to be bailed out by the International Monetary Fund in 1976 after a series of disastrous policies. 

9  Firearms for self defence….completely unnecessary in less violent parts of the world where you can rely on the police to arrive within minutes. Unfortunately we don’t have that luxury so if you pass sensibly applied competency tests then of course you should be allowed a firearm for self defence. 

10  Spontaneous order and Civil society….once you allow people to throw excrement in public places and have cowering university vice chancellors toyi-toying with campus vandals you are already putting the official seal of approval on anarchy. Peaceful demonstrations are part of the democratic process, even if tempers flare on occasions. Violent demonstrations such as we have seen in Paris these past three months are very bad for business.

What is most impressive about the ZACP is that, unlike other parties, none of the ten candidates the party is putting forward are unemployed and looking for a nice cushy, well paid job with lots of perks in the National Assembly. They are all intelligent, articulate and successful in their own areas of activity and have, for some extraordinary reason, decided to give their talents and sacrifice their rights to privacy to serve their country. I’m very pleased that they have and that alone makes them very special and worthy of your vote. 

 

David Bullard is, well, David Bullard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No vroom allowed!

Will southern European countries 'brexit' when cars are not allowed to travel at more than 70kph?

I read recently that European legislators (that’s a nice word for politicians apparently) are soon to be passing a law that will make it compulsory for any new car sold to have a speed limiter fitted. This piece of killjoy technology will ensure that the car never travels faster than a speed of 70 kilometres per hour or whatever maximum speed the powers that be decree is safe from time to time. This, we are told, will save up to 25,000 lives a year, which is the number of people the boffins claim die every year as a result of speeding vehicles. Considering the planet’s population is approaching the 8 billion mark this does seem to be something of an over-reaction on the part of the legislators.

Except that it’s not the potential saving of 25,000 lives that’s the real issue here. It’s the fact that a politician with nothing better to do decides what is best for the rest of us. Not content with already imposing absurdly low speed limits and putting up daft road signs with the words “Speed Kills” they now want to remove any temptation on our part to hit the gas pedal with a bit of gusto on the odd occasion.

Of course, politicians interfering in all the things that make life bearable are nothing new. I fondly remember the days when one could walk into an English pub and not be able to see the bar through the haze of cigarette smoke. Although I wasn’t a cigarette smoker it never bothered me that other pub goers were free to light up in a confined space. If I have suffered from their passive smoking 40 years later then I have still to suffer the effects. The same fate looms for booze advertising, sugary drinks, junk food and who knows what else? In a truly free society we would all be at liberty to kill ourselves in whatever we choose without any interference from the nanny state. 

Like many people, I happen to enjoy driving fast when conditions allow and surely that should be the deciding factor. In fact, urban traffic has already made it the deciding factor. Anybody commuting into and out of either Johannesburg or Cape Town during rush hour regards it as a positive that the traffic is even moving. I drove out of Cape Town early one morning a while ago and the tail back into the CBD stretched all the way back along the N2 to the airport exit road. No need for a speed limiter there then. I suspect most European cities have the same problem. 

I doubt whether the motor manufacturers have received the news of impending speed limiter legislation with great enthusiasm. After all, the major selling point for most models coming out of Germany is their superior performance over the competition. If BMW brings out a model that accelerates from 0-100km in 4 seconds it won’t be very long before Mercedes or Audi feel the pressure to go one better. Most performance cars can effortlessly accelerate to well over 250km/h….or they would be able to if there wasn’t a speed limiter already fitted. In fact, even a Hyundai i10 can reach 150km/h with a fair wind and that’s hardly a performance car. Forcing manufacturers of performance cars such as Porsche, Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar to fit speed limiters will kill off the industry, make petrol heads miserable and lead to massive job losses. Who on earth is going to buy a Porsche 911 with a top limited speed of 70km/h?

I’m hoping that this speed limiter nonsense will remain a uniquely European problem and won’t affect us down here on the southern tip. For example, I can’t imagine VIP blue light convoys moving at a sedate 70km/h. The whole point of all those black BMW X5’s with their darkened windows and police escorts is to remind the riff raff that their democratically elected representatives are important people and need to get to wherever it is they are going in the shortest possible time. If that means running a few law abiding citizens off the road at high speed then so be it. 

Then there’s the economic argument to consider. How on earth would municipalities survive without speeding fines? And what on earth will all those traffic cops do if they can’t sit under the shade of a tree in summer with a litre of Coke and a speed trap? They’d be forced to direct traffic or check taxis for roadworthiness. 

Maybe there’s a tourism possibility here. If the denizens of Europe are forced to travel at a maximum speed of 70km/h surely it would make good sense for them to holiday in sunny South Africa where they could travel at whatever speed they choose on our less congested roads. 

And if they do happen to get stopped by the traffic cops they will have the comfort of knowing that a small bribe in a weak currency will send them on their way with a clean record.

People are not 'vermin', Phillip

Are whites going to be punished for imagined sins? Phillip Dexter says they are.

I drove home last week to the sight of a plume of smoke rising into the sky from about 500 metres from where I live. It turned out to be yet another Western Cape land invasion next to a main road. The extraordinary thing about it was that the land being invaded had no obvious informal residents one day and then suddenly, all sorts of building materials mysteriously appeared and shacks started popping up. Quite where those people and the building materials suddenly appeared from is something of a mystery. Particularly as the sheets of corrugated iron appeared to be brand new and not scavenged from another building. The Red Ants duly arrived and the shacks were dismantled, but I fully expect another attempt to be made next week either at this or another similar location. 

It’s no coincidence that this is all happening ahead of one of the most important elections this country has had since 1994. The ANC are desperate to cling on to power and it appears they will do anything, however underhand, to achieve this aim, particularly in the DA-controlled Western Cape. Making wild promises of better times ahead in return for a vote is not unique to South African political parties, but the difference here is that the promises come with a sinister hint that people with a white skin are about to be severely punished for all their sins, imagined or otherwise.

Last week, Phillip Dexter, an ANC stalwart and former NEC member, posted the following on Twitter:

The majority of white South Africans are racist. A small portion of them are fascists. I am just your common all garden (sic) anti racist socialist. I am also fully aware of the struggle we need to wage to rid our country of such vermin.

Dexter describes himself in his Twitter profile as a “Father, political activist, entrepreneur and academic” and lays claim to having several degrees, amongst them a PhD in religious studies and a Master's in Philosophy. Casual observers of his Twitter account might be surprised to learn this because his skills of reasoning don’t appear evident and his usual response is to tell people to “fuck off”. In fact, that is how I engaged with this nasty piece of work. He had responded to  a tweet from Helen Zille telling her to “fuck off” and I had suggested that this was not the language of a civilised person (I thought I’d give him the benefit of the doubt) to a lady. 

Those who have followed Dexter’s political career (if one can call it that) know that he is a former member of the Politburo of the South African Communist Party and that he flip flopped between the ANC and COPE before rejoining the ANC in 2012. His Wikipedia entry states that he has been a director of a number of companies in the mining, energy, property and manufacturing sectors, which would seem to fly against his communist principles.  No doubt he willingly drew healthy remuneration from this flirtation with the world of capitalism.

Apart from performing the role of a foul-mouthed buffoon on Twitter, it’s not clear what Dexter does for a living at the moment but I assume he has some cushy well-paid job within the belly of the ANC beast. What concerns me more is his tweet about the proposed slaughter of South African whites, which I am beginning to think is part of the unofficial official ANC strategy. If not, then why would a 56-year-old man with strong party links going back to the days of the struggle be tweeting about ridding the country of such “vermin”?

I made a complaint to Twitter about Dexter’s tweet, explaining that the use of the word “vermin” was unacceptable and that the threatening tone of the tweet qualified it as hate speech. Predictably, Twitter did nothing and his opinions on how to deal with white people are still there for all to see. 

Not surprisingly, white South Africans are becoming very nervous about the anti-white rhetoric spouted by the ANC and some of their fellow travellers. Last week Cyril Ramaphosa was in Stellenbosch doing what he does best, which is telling his audience what they want to hear. He assured people that land grabs wouldn’t happen and that any expropriation would be carried out through normal legal process. That message clearly hasn’t filtered down to the rank and file. He also said that he didn’t want young, skilled white people to leave the country and made the rather odd comment that he would tie them to a tree to prevent them leaving, which probably isn’t a great alternative to the prospect of a safe life somewhere else in the world. 

I have to say that all the younger members of my extended family have either exported their skills already or are making plans to do so. They have received the message loud and clear that their future prospects in this country are dismal, irrespective of their qualifications, willingness to work and dedication. Add to this already toxic attitude the threat that Dexter hints at of complete eradication of white “vermin” and it’s hardly surprising that we are losing so many skilled people. 

 

*Ed - In 1938 Julius Streicher published in the pages of Der  Stürmer:  “The Jews are … the carriers of disease and vermin among men . . . , vermin cannot be tolerated . . . we must render them harmless by killing them off . . .” In the lead up to the Rwandan genocide, the Hutus described the Tutsis as 'inyenzi' or cockroaches to be hunted and eliminated.

 

David Bullard is columnist, author and celebrity public speaker known for his controversial satire.

 

If you like what you have just read, become a Friend of the IRR if you aren’t already one by SMSing your name to 32823 or clicking here. Each SMS costs R1.’ Terms & Conditions Apply.

 

Pre-election lunacy masquerading as manifesto expansion

One of the concomitant pleasures that come with a looming general election is the opportunity to listen to representatives of parties contesting the election attempt to explain their policies in more detail.

 

This has been a bumper week for pre-election lunacy with various media organisations inviting would-be presidents to expand on their manifestos. I was tuned into a radio station earlier this week and heard some of our more extreme left political parties lay out their well-considered plans for seizing the means of production and distributing the land. 

As far as the means of production (seizing thereof) is concerned it’s quite clear that we live in a country that has been taken over by something called “white monopoly capital” (WMC) which is, apparently, a bad thing. Prior to the existence of Bell Pottinger, we would never have known this, but WMC has crept into the common consciousness and, while many on the left find it hard to define, they know that it’s bad. Just so, so bad.

The problem with WMC is that it is exploitive. Alt-right white supremacists such as myself may argue that it creates jobs and allows people to better themselves and put food on the table but the left know better. They claim that the so-called jobs are exploitive and wages and salaries paid are far below what should be paid because the greedy bosses and business owners are keeping it all for themselves. Now if the companies were owned by the state this obviously wouldn’t happen because everybody would be paid the same and inequality would be instantly abolished. That “same” salary or wage would allow all employees to live with dignity and afford the finer things in life. Take mining for example. Up until now, the exploitive mining industry has sent people underground to work in dangerous and unpleasant conditions in order that a few immaculately attired people at ground level can afford big houses, game farms, yachts and young mistresses. The poor people underground are paid next to nothing and the greedy WMC lot claim this is all to do with operational costs or some such tosh. They claim that if it costs more money to dig the stuff out of the ground than you receive from selling it then the company will go bust and all the workers underground will lose their jobs. 

The left (who now like to be known as “progressives") know this is all a load of baloney and that all you need to do is to fix the price of the stuff dug out of the ground at higher than the digging cost. Simple. That way everybody benefits and the state-owned mining enterprise prospers. Just look at the Venezuelan oil industry if you don’t believe me. 

There were also some interesting views on land. It’s now well known that all the land in South Africa was stolen by white people and has been passed on to white people’s descendants at next to no cost. What will happen under the new Utopia apparently is that the state will own all the land and lease it out to people. Those who don’t have land at the moment will be given it by a benevolent government. The exact location of the land to be handed over wasn’t made clear during the broadcast I was listening to but what was apparent was that land recipients would be expected to a) look grateful and b) make good use of the land. The good use could be setting up an organic garden to supply a newly nationalised Woolworths (to be renamed The People’s Food Emporium) with fresh produce or building a comfortable home with en suite bathrooms for all the four bedrooms. Fortunately there would be ample funds for this thanks to the nationalisation of strategic industries such as mining, banking and insurance. Just as there will be ample funds for free education, free health care and free everything. That, after all, is what smashing the exploitive capitalist model is all about. 

But the best idea of the week came from the EFF C-in-C, his imperial oneness Julius Sello Malema, who has proposed that we do away with the country’s borders because they were imposed by colonialist powers. On the surface this would appear to allow illegal immigrants from less well off neighbouring states to wander into South Africa unhindered and take advantage of our hospitality. Fortunately, JuJu has a plan and if I understand him correctly from the snippet I heard on the car radio it works like this: You count up how many Zimbabweans are in our new country without borders, calculate what it is costing the economy and then you invoice Mr Mnangagwa’s government and simply wait for the cheque to arrive. The immense saving on border controls and the vast revenue from less enlightened neighbouring countries in return for hosting their citizens should keep the party elite in new Mercs and BMWs. Oh brave new world.

 

 ****

Dr Phillip Dexter was quite correctly given the right of reply on The Daily Friend to my column about him last week. His eloquent and well reasoned response would, I feel sure, have reassured readers that my labelling of him as a “foul mouthed buffoon” was way over the top. 

 

David Bullard is a columnist, author and celebrity public speaker known for his controversial satire.

 

If you like what you have just read, become a Friend of the IRR if you aren’t already one by SMSing your name to 32823 or clicking here. Each SMS costs R1.’ Terms & Conditions Apply.

 

 

Travel through a rubbish tip

A trip through spectacular vistas became a trip through an endless rubbish dump.

I’ve been slacking these past two weeks. Truth is, I was in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on a ten-day trip and broadband connectivity isn’t a major feature in that part of the world. Besides, I hadn’t taken my laptop on holiday with me so my editor very kindly allowed me a couple of weeks’ leave while more important things were happening in the RSA. 

Travelling from Cape Town through the Northern Cape en route to what used to be known as the Kalahari, one is struck by the incredible beauty of our country and the friendliness of its people. Our first stop north was Calvinia and we had driven through breathtakingly beautiful farmland before we arrived there. My obvious thought as an election approached was what would happen to this land if it was expropriated (with or without compensation) and parcelled out to loyal ANC cadres. What would happen to the farm buildings, the farm machinery and the entire infrastructure? I tried, unsuccessfully, to believe that the status quo would be maintained and that the trees would not be chopped down for firewood, the buildings not cannibalized to build shacks and the machinery left to rust in the fields. Call this Afro-pessimism if you will, but I prefer to think of it as Afro-realism. Given what has happened to most of our state-owned enterprises you must forgive this white boy for expecting the worst. But who knows, I could be horribly wrong and it could be that the ANC and its supporters will revolutionise modern farming and leave me red-faced. 

As we travelled north towards Upington, the towns became noticeably poorer in this drought-stricken part of the world as the landscape became ever more dramatic. We stopped for a light lunch at a place called Kenhardt (population about 4 500). The Afrikaans-speaking owners were welcoming and keen for some passing trade, but both hold down several jobs in addition to attempting to farm sheep in the area just to make a living. The drought has virtually bankrupted them and most of the villagers sit around the small village with absolutely nothing to do hoping for better times. We were told that drugs have become a big problem among the youth. Kenhardt isn’t exactly a tourist mecca, although it does have a 500-year-old camelthorn tree under which a special magistrate called Maximillian Jackson set up camp and established the town in 1868. Its only other claim to fame is that Sir Malcolm Campbell attempted a world land speed record in 1929 on Verneukpan in Bluebird 1. Hardly a great reason to stop off at Kenhardt, although the home-made ginger beer is worth the trip. 

What did strike me as we passed through many of these Northern Cape towns was the incredible amount of litter lying uncollected by the roadside. Driving out of larger towns like Kakamas and Keimoes towards sundown, the visitor is treated to a twinkling, jewel-encrusted landscape of green, brown and gold catching the early evening light. Even the approach road to Augrabies Falls national park had a twinkling patch of evening jewels. On closer examination the ‘jewels’ turn out to be hundreds of smashed beer and wine bottles interspersed with discarded fast-food containers and crushed plastic bottles. Only a few metres away people seem to be living quite happily next to this pile of ornamental litter. It’s a national disgrace and our tour guide told me he is embarrassed to bring foreign visitors to this part of the world because he can’t even begin to explain why people who have nothing better to do all day have so little pride in their surroundings that they cannot be bothered to clean the place up. What on earth do so-called community leaders do with their time? Has it not occurred to them that making their towns a desirable destination for tourists would boost the local economy and create employment? Or are they all just waiting for the service delivery that never seems to arrive in an ANC-controlled province.

South Africa is blessed with everything a foreign tourist could ever wish for. Stunning and highly varied and dramatic landscapes, breathtakingly clear night skies, wonderful people, great roads, wildlife, a favourable currency and plenty of comfortable places to stay. We should be building our tourism industry in this country not turning destinations into gigantic rubbish tips. 

 

David Bullard is a columnist, author and celebrity public speaker known for his controversial satire.

 

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the IRR.

 

If you like what you have just read, become a Friend of the IRR if you aren’t already one by SMSing your name to 32823 or clicking here. Each SMS costs R1.’ Terms & Conditions Apply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memo to Cabinet

If you really want economic growth you’ll have to ignore those who regard financial success as evidence of class exploitation.

In September of 2002, the first genuinely black editor was appointed by Johnnic Publishing to edit the Sunday Times. It was Mathatha Tsedu, a man with a distinguished record in journalism stretching back almost a quarter of a century. He had been awarded the Niemann Fellowship in 1996/97 and had been a winner of the Nat Nakasa Award for courageous journalism. At the time of his appointment, he was the chairperson of the South African National Editors’ Forum, a lobby group whose apparent role is to speak out on behalf of journalists with whom it agrees. 

I was still with the Sunday Times back then and was writing for various sections of the newspaper, including the Lifestyle section. Mr Tsedu’s first official engagement was to attend a drinks party in the company auditorium intended to woo advertisers to the Lifestyle section. That would have included travel companies, hotel chains, motor manufacturers and so on. At the time, the Sunday Times had an impressive LSM 10 readership which, roughly translated, meant that people who had money bought the newspaper and were assumed to read it. 

Towards the end of the drinks party, our new editor was introduced and, as a courtesy, asked to say a few words. Casually attired, and wearing his trademark Greek fisherman’s cap, he proceeded to lecture the predominantly pale-faced audience on the hardships of a township upbringing and the injustices of a post-apartheid South Africa, pointing out that very few black South Africans could afford the sort of things we were writing about in the Lifestyle section of the newspaper. It wasn’t really what the newspaper’s advertising department needed to hear and, if memory serves, the evening ended with most of our well-victualled guests wondering why they had even been invited.

This, I think in hindsight, was the turning point for the Sunday Times. In the language of corporate gobbledygook, the newspaper was to be ‘strategically repositioned’, which was a euphemism for saying it needed to appeal to a new black demographic. The argument that the Lifestyle section was ‘aspirational’ no longer held water. On the contrary, the articles that had previously appeared in the Lifestyle section extolling the virtues of the new Mercedes S class or gushing about a sunset over a secluded beach off the coast of Bali were now seen as offensive. It was felt that they mocked people who couldn’t afford such things and deserved to be toned down, if not dropped altogether. 

Mr Tsedu’s tenure as editor lasted just over a year and he holds, as far as I am aware, the dubious distinction of being the only editor of the Sunday Times ever to be publicly sacked rather than quietly put out to pasture as happened with the unfortunate Ray Hartley. Mr Tsedu was booted from the Sunday Times in November 2003 for ‘not editing the paper in a manner consistent with his contract of employment’. Happily, the dirty deed was handled by then Johnnic Communication CEO Connie Molusi (can you imagine the political fallout if a white boss had sacked a black editor?). One of the problems that had surfaced very early on was the absence of the editor on a Saturday night when the final pages of the paper were being ‘put to bed’. 

When he had been given the job of editor nobody had apparently explained that he would be expected to work on Saturday nights (sometimes late into Saturday nights) although one might have supposed that the title of the publication he was editing might have been a clue. Another problem was that the Sunday Times was starting to lose readers, as more and more articles appeared which could be interpreted as hostile to those members of society who might be deemed more privileged that others. As the more affluent readers drifted away from a paper that no longer catered to their Sunday reading needs, the advertising started to dry up. After all, as one motor company executive said to me, there’s no point in spending R250 000 on a wraparound of the Lifestyle section to advertise your new luxury saloon if none of the readers can afford it. The harsh reality was that the repositioning of the paper, while it may have satisfied a deep desire to virtue signal to the ruling party, was a disaster commercially. Back in the 1990s, if you didn’t get down to the corner café to buy your Sunday Times by 11am latest you would find that they had sold out. These days they are still wrapped in the plastic in which they were delivered on a Monday morning, awaiting collection to be pulped. 

Moral of the story: you alienate your best-paying customers at your peril. That’s a message that the newly elected members of the Cabinet might like to bear in mind when they set about rebuilding the wreckage the Zuma legacy has left. If you really don’t like wealth creators of any complexion in the country then perhaps you could let them know early on and give them the opportunity to wind down their businesses, boost the unemployment numbers, and move to friendlier shores.  But if you really do want to create employment and boost tax revenues, it might be worth remembering that the visible rewards of hard work and ingenuity may well be offensive to some, and particularly to members of the leftist media who regard financial success as prima facie evidence of class exploitation.  My advice would be to ignore them. After all, as I have already explained in some detail, the media model has been a dismal failure and we can ill afford the country going down the same stony path. 

*Mathatha Tsedu was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for his services to journalism and his selfless contribution to the liberation of our country by President Ramaphosa in April 2019.

 

David Bullard is a columnist, author and celebrity public speaker known for his controversial satire.

 

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the IRR.

 

If you like what you have just read, become a Friend of the IRR if you aren’t already one by SMSing your name to 32823 or clicking here. Each SMS costs R1.’ Terms & Conditions Apply.

 

 

 

 

 

Justice was neither done nor seen to be done

It’s now eleven years since I was “sacked” from the Sunday Times for writing a “racist” column which the editor chose to publish.

The editor at the time, Mondli Makhanya, claimed that the column had “slipped through the system” but when my lawyers asked how it came to have a headline on it (I had never written my own headline in 14 years) there was an uncomfortable shuffling of feet on his part. 

I mention this because I have now moved into my twelfth year of legal action against the Sunday Times for wrongful dismissal with still no end in sight. I initially demanded a front page apology and R150 000 (the maximum payment the CCMA could have imposed) to be donated to a charity of my choice. 

The Sunday Times weren’t feeling particularly charitable at the time so we rolled into litigation with the case being referred up to the Labour Court and then ping-ponged back to the CCMA and it’s currently with the Labour Court of Appeal. When they realised that they didn’t have any credible answers to my lawyer’s questions, my former employers decided to spare their blushes in court and go for a delaying tactic by claiming that I wasn’t an employee but an independent contractor. This despite the facts that I had a desk in the newsroom for ten years, a dedicated telephone number, a Sunday Times e.mail address, had UIF deducted, was answerable to an employer, had to submit work on time etc etc. 

Just after my sacking by telephone while I was MC-ing an event in Sandton, the HR department of the Sunday Times, realising that correct procedure hadn’t been followed, sent off a formal letter giving me 30 days notice, thanking me for my past contributions and wishing me well for the future. Oddly, there was not a single mention of the heinous crime that had allegedly brought the mighty Sunday Times into such disrepute. 

At a hearing on September 1st 2010 at the offices of Fluxman’s Attorneys in Rosebank the Sunday Times asked permission for fresh evidence to be introduced after the lunchtime recess. We didn’t object and the fresh evidence was duly introduced. It turned out to be a photocopy of an employment contract with Fred Khumalo dated 2004, intended to demonstrate that my conditions were different to Khumalo’s and that, ergo, I must have been an independent contractor. The only problem was that the “contract” was on Avusa notepaper and Avusa didn’t exist in 2004. Someone had presumably been busy with the photo copier while my attorney and I were enjoying a good steak over the lunchtime recess. 

When one party does something a bit naughty like this it means that the onus is on the aggrieved party to sort things out and apply for a new hearing. Another great delaying tactic. 

My attorney asked Khumalo for the original contract and was told that Mr Khumalo had just had builders in and, surprise, couldn’t locate the original contract. It’s well known that builders in Joburg steal people’s contracts of employment given half the chance; a real “dog ate my homework” excuse if ever there was one.  Khumalo and Makhanya then produced sworn affidavits attesting that the 2004 contract was genuine. 

A few months later we laid a criminal complaint against Makhanya for fraud and perjury (my limited legal knowledge tells me that a sworn affidavit is supposed to be truthful) but the Rosebank police informed me that they weren’t going to investigate the case. I responded that there was nothing to investigate since he had sworn in front of a commissioner of oaths that a document he knew to be forged was genuine. As was to be expected, nothing happened and the editor of a large Sunday newspaper was able to get away with the sort of dodgy behaviour his newspaper finds so repellent in others. 

And so the case drags on and on and once we’ve established that I wasn’t an independent contractor we go back to square one and look at the original case for wrongful dismissal. 

My experience of the legal system in this country doesn’t fill me with hope. Apart from being unnecessarily slow and ponderous it’s by no means certain that an entity as devious as the Sunday Times would observe a court ruling. The adage that justice must be swift and be seen to be done seems to be just that – an adage. Taking on corporate bullies certainly isn’t for the faint hearted. 

Being labeled a “racist” by such an unreliable news source as the Sunday Times has been the least of my worries. What has irritated me though is the collateral damage and the resultant loss of corporate business over the past eleven years. I had very profitable business relations with many large companies prior to the “sacking” ( I had, in fact, resigned two days earlier but my editor refused to accept my resignation). Much of that disappeared in a puff of smoke after April 10th 2008 although, I am delighted to say, that there were a hard core of loyal supporters who continued to use my services, much to the chagrin of the envious lefty journos who had been wetting themselves with joy over my “sacking”.  

I was lucky. Suspecting that political pressure would eventually be brought to bear on the Sunday Times to get rid of me I had made adequate financial arrangements over the years to cover such an eventuality. Many people are not so fortunate and, when they are unfairly labelled “racist” by some embittered left-wing lunatic with a grudge, stand to lose everything they have worked for. And if they think the justice system will redress the balance then maybe they should think again. Some of us can wear the “racist” tag as a badge of honour implying, as it does, that we are prepared to flout politically correct protocol and tell things as we see them. Most people don’t have that luxury however, which is why freedom of speech has become the exclusive domain of the privileged few who have nothing to lose. 

 

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Work-shy rich kid who only pours scorn on efforts to build better, fairer SA

Kelly-Jo Bluen is apparently content to sit safely in London and spew hatred against the country of her birth.

I had absolutely no idea when I was invited to record a podcast for the Renegade Report last Monday that I would literally have to enter the belly of the beast to do so.

The Renegade Report is recorded in a studio on the premises of the Institute of Race Relations in Richmond, Johannesburg – the Gauteng lefty’s equivalent of Mordor, as I later discovered.

The friendly faces and congenial banter obviously had me fooled because I would never have known that I was unwittingly a guest of a white supremacist hate group had it not been for somebody called Kelly-Jo Bluen. Just to mess with your mind, this white supremacist hate group employ someone called Sihle Ngobese (known affectionately as Big Daddy Liberty) who is, I’m sure he won’t mind me saying, not very white and was certainly devoid of any hate on the afternoon I met him.

The first time I encountered Kelly-Jo Bluen was a few month’s back when the IRR invited me to participate in a debate in Stellenbosch on the future of South Africa. Ms Bluen appeared on my timeline and seemed a trifle miffed that the IRR should be seen to be associating with one of South Africa’s best-loved columnists and free thinkers. I made some joke about her rounding up a few lefties to object on the evening, mentioning that I had bought a taser for the occasion. Ms Bluen, who was clearly at the back of the queue when a sense of humour was being handed out, took great umbrage at this and became hysterical, asking how a respectable university like Stellenbosch could even entertain the prospect of someone who had threatened violence being allowed anywhere near the campus. Fortunately the university authorities ignored her hysteria and the event went ahead with huge success, playing to a packed and racially diverse audience in the Pulp Cinema.

Ms Bluen reappeared on my time line last week after she attended the IRR Friends evening in London and attracted some social media attention.

There’s a video of the event on this website, but in case you don’t have time to watch the whole thing (although it’s well worth it) just go 39 minutes into the programme when you can see Ms Bluen in action and learn the awful truth about the IRR.  It’s worth noting the reactions of audience members around her.

Now, looking at the video, it would be all too easy to dismiss Ms Bluen as just another swivel-eyed loony who’s into conspiracy theories, but the reality is that she is a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics. A quick visit to the LSE website reveals the following in somewhat fractured English: ‘Kelly-Jo’s research examines the colonial, raced and racist narratives and materialities of atrocity crimes…’ blah de blah de blah…. ‘she is primarily interested in how criminal law produces white innocence and raced unhumanning.’ (Apparently you can make words up in academia)

It goes on in much the same tedious vein, producing what can only be described as academic gobbledygook worthy of Pseuds Corner in Private Eye magazine.

The sad reality is that Ms Bluen is just another work-shy South African rich kid sitting safely in London and spewing hatred against the country of her birth. Thanks to daddy’s money she’s already got herself a couple of degrees and is now trying to bag a PhD. To cleanse herself of her white privilege guilt, she clearly feels the need to label all whites racist (including daddy presumably) and to pour scorn on those who actually live here and want to build a better and fairer South Africa. That’s why she’ll block you on Twitter if you disagree with her and why she’ll refuse to engage in any rational debate with white people. Perhaps the convivial Big Daddy Liberty would have more luck.

Another major talking point this past week was the article by Daily Maverick’s Marianne Thamm on the post-SONA contents of the EFF’s rubbish bags at a rather expensive guest house in Camps Bay. The luxury-loving freedom fighters apparently got through quite a lot of premium booze during their stay and also appeared to have gone on a couple of luxury shopping trips, if the receipts found in the trash can be believed. Anybody who is prepared to get down and dirty and open rubbish bags to get a news story is worthy of respect in my book.

But the point of the story wasn’t to highlight the top-end tastes of the EFF central command. After all, they've been described for a long time as a bunch of bank-robbing thugs who would look much better in orange overalls than in red. The point of Ms Thamm’s juicy piece, sensational though it may have been, was to 'police hypocrisy’. There are cheaper places to stay than a foreign-owned villa in Camps Bay and there are cheaper things to drink than Glenfiddich 18 year old, Veuve Clicquot and Tanqueray Gin. So why would a party that claims to want to uplift blacks economically and to limit alcohol consumption because of the social ills it leads to not walk the walk in addition to talking the talk? The answer to that is very simple, Comrades.

In order to be able to warn your impoverished supporters about the white man’s evils it is necessary to experience them first. Arthur Scargill, the man who led the crippling UK miner’s strike in the early 1980s, preferred to be driven in a Jaguar XJ6 (or it may even have been the more refined Daimler) the better to warn his union members against the temptations of capitalism.

The horrors of white monopoly capital and the misery they can lead to can only really be experienced after you’ve nursed a humungous headache after polishing off the best part of a bottle of Glenfiddich 18 year old. The same goes for the choice of a prime location to stay in and the need to shop at some of the most exploitative and racist stores on the planet. How else is a Marxist revolutionary to warn young susceptible minds about these evils?

Ms Thamm did make reference to finding used condoms among the discarded booze bottles, receipts from luxury stores and takeaway food containers. She also referred to young women waiting in the street for lifts home after the EFF party vacated the property. It would be quite improper to infer that the used condoms and the stranded young women are in any way connected. I’m sure they were just participants in an impromptu EFF workshop on the ‘evils of capitalism and how to avoid them’.

[I will be taking a short break in order to boost the UK economy and welcome the new Prime Minister on 22 July. This column will resume on July 28]

 

David Bullard is a columnist, author and celebrity public speaker known for his controversial satire.

 

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the IRR.

 

If you like what you have just read, become a Friend of the IRR if you aren’t already one by SMSing your name to 32823 or clicking here. Each SMS costs R1.’ Terms & Conditions Apply.

 

Fantasy of the Nation Address more accurately reflects our unreality

Listening to the parliamentary debate following last week’s SONA speech by the President it occurred to me that maybe it should be renamed FONA (Fantasy of the Nation Address) in future.

The title “State of the Nation” suggests, to me at least, a present tense. Rather as a company’s annual report is intended to produce an audited  snapshot of the financial health of a company at a certain point in time (with some very notable recent exceptions) , surely the SONA should give an honest appraisal of where we are now and what the government (for want of a better word) plans to do to improve on the situation.

The fantasy bit about creating a brave new Wakanda with bullet trains, blue light escorted flying saucers and penthouse apartments for members of parliament on skyscrapers high enough to remove them from the stench of the sewage running down the streets should be tacked on at the end for amusement value only. 

I suspect that if one took a poll of ordinary South Africans (that is, those of us who actually have to earn a living rather than sit around tweeting racist comments from a foreign embassy and sponging on the taxpayer), with a scale of 1 being not at all happy and 10 being deliriously happy about the state of the nation, we might get an average score of three.

My domestic worker’s main concerns are not the same as my concerns but South Africans of all colours seem to agree on many things. High on the list is unemployment, followed by decent housing, poor transport, an unacceptably high crime rate, education and medical care. Which is precisely why it would be unwise for the President to present a real state of the nation address because we all know the answer. The state-owned enterprises are a disaster with Eskom consistently carrying off the prize for most disastrous. Crime is appalling, our education system produces the dumbest kids in the world, the healthcare system is fine in parts but only if you are lucky enough to live near one of the hospitals that actually functions as a hospital, and the rail network is a daily nightmare for workers desperately trying to get to work.  

Most worrying though is government corruption and the fact that, despite the Zondo commission, absolutely nothing seems to be done to prevent the situation from continuing. In fact, many of those found wanting by Zondo and even by courts pre-Zondo are now heading up government committees which will allow them to hobble any initiatives Cyril might have which don’t suit them. The Ace of Spades, despite being the central character of a book called “Gangster State”, which doesn’t paint him a very favourable light, is Secretary General of the ANC. Are we to assume that Pieter-Louis Myburgh made it all up because he wants to make the shortlist for this year’s Barry Ronge Fiction Prize? 

I totally support the legal premise of innocent until proven guilty. But that assumes that the rule of law is applied to all without prejudice. If I smash the window of my local jeweller’s shop and run off with three Rolex watches I might be lucky enough to get away with the robbery if nobody was watching. But if my image has been caught on security cameras and three witnesses saw me I would expect the police to turn up and keep me in custody pending a trial. I’m still technically innocent of course but there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to suggest that I won’t be suing the police for wrongful arrest.

Why is this not happening with those who have already been fingered by investigators? And how, in heaven’s name, could a political party in good conscience elect those same tainted individuals to high paying, influential posts once again? Unless, of course, all the talk about cracking down on corruption and putting the ANC house in order was just a lot of pre-election bullshit. In which case, fellow citizens, we can expect the country to slide further into indebtedness and to witness the creation of a new superclass. Those who stole the most will be the ultimate survivors in this game and the rest of us will be the little people who just have to suck it up. Go and read George Orwell’s Animal Farm!  

Maybe I can be afforded the same luxury as the President; that of having a dream, however unlikely. My dream is that the President sets up a credible special court to deal with government corruption. The brief of the court is that legal filibustering and deliberate delays are not permitted and would accumulate penalty points for the accused. Justice must be swift, fair and seen to be done. Those whose declared innocence is a subject of national mirth are to be rounded up and arrested in front of the TV cameras. This is known as the “perp walk” in the US and is reserved for those who are most likely to be found guilty. The accused are to be held in custody in a normal SA prison cell until the end of the trial which would be a great disincentive to delay the proceedings. The result would be phenomenal.  Confidence in the president would be boosted considerably, South Africans would feel that they weren’t being shafted all the time, investors would start taking SA seriously and we might have a slim chance of being taken seriously as a country once again rather than being regarded as just another African basket case. But, sadly, it’s just a dream and will probably stay that way. 

 

David Bullard is a columnist, author and celebrity public speaker known for his controversial satire.

 

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the IRR.

 

If you like what you have just read, become a Friend of the IRR if you aren’t already one by SMSing your name to 32823 or clicking here. Each SMS costs R1.’ Terms & Conditions Apply.

 

 

 

Marvel comics meets SONA

SONA II proves that the more promises of change there are, the more things are likely to stay the same.

You know how it is….you put on the dress suit you last wore two years ago for a black tie function and find a couple of R100 notes tucked in the back trouser pocket. Or you’re shifting the cushions on the TV sofa to vacuum up the potato crisp crumbs that slipped down the back last night and, hey presto, there are your missing krugerrands. Much the same must have happened to the ANC, because they have suddenly found R230bn to throw at Eskom. Or maybe Cyril had a lucky day at the races. Either way, it’s a rather different solution to the one we were led to believe would take place after SONA1 back in February. What happened to the talk of splitting Eskom into bits and trying to find a buyer for the less toxic parts? Oh yes, I remember now…the unions intervened and ruled out cost cutting and job losses. So are we just going to throw money at Eskom and hope for the best (or is there a greater plan for the future of our power utility?) And where will these extra billions come from meanwhile? You’ve guessed it….your pension fund in the form of prescribed assets. 

Last week’s SONA2 was a somewhat surreal affair, rather like being trapped in a Gary Larson cartoon. Nothing that should have been tackled was tackled and much of what was said by the President was sheer political puffery. Let’s take the creation of 2 million jobs over the next ten years. Well, for one thing, if you are a member of the unemployed youth now you will be approaching middle age by the time these promised jobs come around, if at all. But let’s not be put off by details, because the ruling party never are. 

The President lamented the fact that youth unemployment is so high, even among those who hold degrees and diplomas. But whose fault is that? Our post 1994 education system is the laughing-stock of the world, and the only people who recognise most of our university degrees these days are the woke lefty lecturers who make a dishonest living out of fooling young people that they are going to find gainful employment after four years of Gender Studies or some such nonsensical subject. With a high percentage of school kids (I refuse to use the PC term “learners”) barely able to read or make intelligible conversation, one wonders what sort of people are being fed into our universities. Well, after the Matric exam papers are marked down to allow the government-approved quota of previously disadvantaged candidates to go forth and receive a free tertiary education, the answer is: exactly the same sort of people, with the only difference being that they are now bigger and more belligerent. 

What seems to be missing from a university education is the vital message that, unless you have a skill to sell and some personality, the workplace really doesn’t need you. Nobody is going to pay a stroppy little shit who drones on about land theft a monthly salary just for turning up every day. Which means that the stroppy youth either has the choice of becoming a successful entrepreneur or hanging out with his similarly economically unviable buddies on street corners waiting for something called “service delivery”.

Let’s assume that our education system miraculously improves, to resemble similar standards found in China. That means that we will only start producing productive members of society in around 18 years’ time. Can we wait that long?

Cyril’s mention of a bullet train from Johannesburg to Musina caused much mirth among opposition MP’s. Quite why anybody would need to get to Musina with such haste is mystifying although one could quite understand why one would want to get out of Musina with some speed. The brutal reality is that we can’t even run the railway system we have with any semblance of efficiency, so fantasising about a bullet train is rather like me fantasising about wild, torrid sex with the 20 year old Helen Mirren. 

Then there was the one about building a brand new city (presumably off grid) with skyscrapers, schools, universities and hospitals: unlikely for the very simple reason that, in 25 years of democracy, the ANC hasn’t built a city. An old grouch like me might say, why don’t you get the ones you already have working properly, but that would be to miss the point: that in a vast construction project like this there are lots of potential tenders to be awarded. “Are you with me ladies and gentlemen?” as Sir Les Patterson is wont to ask with a telling nudge. The fact that this brilliant plan for the future came after a conversation with Xi Jinping among others should in no way be construed as a sign that we are selling out to the Chinese, by the way. It might also be worth noting that of the ten most polluted cities on the planet, seven are in China with Beijing being one of the worst. So may I suggest East London as a possible site for the proposed Wakanda Heights?

What might have been a better idea for Cyril would have been to borrow from Winston Churchill (racist, colonialist and land thief that he was):

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering”.

That at least would have been more honest than the Marvel comic version we got. But time will tell. Maybe our economy is about to surprise the cynics and record a 5% annual growth rate. Maybe unemployment will fall from 27% to 6% by 2030 and maybe Wakanda Heights will be built without any hint of corrupt practices. In the meantime, I advise you to keep your bedroom windows tightly shut at night. There seem to be a lot of flying pigs around. 

 

David Bullard is a columnist, author and celebrity public speaker known for his controversial satire.

 

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the IRR.

 

If you like what you have just read, become a Friend of the IRR if you aren’t already one by SMSing your name to 32823 or clicking here. Each SMS costs R1.’ Terms & Conditions Apply.

 

Ten norms of a submerging market

The government’s ‘10 reasons why you should invest in South Africa’ ad may need to be reshot to reflect current conditions.

When I eventually decided that paying almost R1 000 a month for Multichoice was a complete waste of money, I knew that one of the channels I would miss when I cancelled the service would be SkyNews

During the whole time I had the full premium Multichoice bouquet, I was mainly tuned in to Sky but would flip over to the BBC or CNN on occasions. I never watched the dire SABC on principle and I only watched eNCA to see how much weight Jeremy Maggs had put on since the previous week. Whenever my wife mentioned my adipose fat I would force her to watch eNCA and concede that, compared to JM, I was virtually anorexic.

So it was with great joy that I discovered that SkyNews Live can now be found free of charge on YouTube. The only downside is that it does use rather irritating voice activated subtitles that are still obviously in the testing stage. For example, covering the troubles in Hong Kong last week, it misheard the word ferries and claimed that ‘fairies were still moving freely between Kowloon and Hong Kong’. Beijing would not approve.

As I tuned in yesterday, an advert popped up with the title ‘10 reasons why you should invest in South Africa’ and since this is paid for by the SA government (i.e. you and me) I decided not to ‘Skip Ad’ as I usually do but to pay attention, since I still have some skin in this particular game. The video seems to have been made in better times and may need to be reshot to reflect current conditions (and to avoid the ire of the Advertising Standards Authority).

Reason 1 is that we are a ‘Hot emerging market’. I’m not sure we were ever a hot emerging market, unless that is a reference to our summer temperatures. We were certainly regarded as an emerging market back in the pre-Zuma days when foreign banks opened up offices in SA in the hopes of getting a slice of the lucrative privatization pie that was never baked. These days we are more of a submerging market.

Reason 2 is that we are the ‘No 1 diversified economy in Africa’. And why is that, I wonder? Because all those land thieves and white monopoly capitalists made it so. Quite why our government should be bragging about this obvious yoke of colonialism is puzzling, but let’s be honest, being the No 1 diversified economy in Africa isn’t that difficult, is it?

Reason 3 is the ‘Largest presence of multi-nationals in Africa’, which sort of supports Reason 2. The thing with multi-nationals, though, is that they don’t actually have to be here unless it suits them. The clue is in the name and, capitalism being the bitch she is, if business conditions aren’t conducive to a strong bottom line in SA then they will pack up and go.

Reason 4 is our ‘Strong constitution and independent judiciary’. Both moot points, depending on your political bias. Since both the African National Congress and the Economic Freedom Fighters are keen to change the constitution to make theft of other people’s property legal, I suppose you could argue that we have a strong constitution while we still do. An independent judiciary, though? Well, hopefully, but since it’s only politicians who have any immediate access to our courts these days, those of us who have been waiting for 12 years for a court judgment may not share that rosy view of the judiciary.

Reason 5 is ‘Favourable market access to global markets’ and you can’t deny that being on virtually the same time zone as most of Europe gives us a huge advantage. Or would, if we were a more productive industrial nation. The truth, though, is that China, tucked way over to the east of us, doesn’t seem to have much problem accessing global markets, so what makes our position at the southern tip of Africa so advantageous, I wonder?

Reason 6 is ‘Abundant Natural resources’ and you can’t deny that. The only problem is getting your hands on them. If you want to start digging stuff out of the ground here and flogging it on these famous global markets we have such favourable access to, you first need to grease a few palms and put a few well connected cadres (who haven’t a clue about your business) on the board. But even after you’ve jumped through all those hoops, you may find that the next government thinks it knows how to run your business better than you do and nationalizes you. It happened with the oil industry in Venezuela and, since Venezuela is the economic lodestar for so many of our brightest young politicians, it will probably happen here. Moral of the story…dig around elsewhere.

Reason 7 is ‘Advanced financial services and banking sector’ – but only for now. Since it was the same land thieves and white monopoly capitalists as Reason 2 above who set the whole game up, we can reasonably expect it to come tumbling down before too long. Why do people rob banks? Because that’s where the money is. Why do communist governments want to control the banking sector? For the very same reason. Getting hold of the keys to the Reserve Bank would be an obvious starter, but introducing legislation to punish ‘money hoarders’ and force them to invest in government-owned enterprises isn’t too far-fetched a concept given where we are heading at the moment.

Reason 8 (stifle your laughter, please) is ‘World class infrastructure and logistics’, which is perfectly true if you don’t need electricity, can put up with pot-holed roads and you don’t mind a few of your delivery lorries being torched at Mooi River while the terrified police stand by and watch. With 75% of municipalities technically bankrupt and many key state-owned enterprises barely surviving, it might be more honest to claim ‘Third-World class infrastructure and logistics’.  And don’t bother to send your clients a Christmas card because we no longer have a functioning postal system.

Reason 9 is probably the most hilarious – ‘Young trainable labour force’. Well, with over 50% unemployment among the young, that claim is partially true but what do you train someone who has a 30% matric pass and can barely read to do? And once they’ve been ‘trained’, where are they supposed to find work? The mighty unions have made it clear that only decently paying jobs are acceptable these days. That tends to put off potential employers who have to factor in such boring things as costs of production, costs of labour, market conditions and exchange-rate risk before they embark on a hiring spree.

And, finally, Reason 10: ‘Excellent quality of life’. Hopefully that will be the deal clincher that trumps the previous 9 reasons, then.  

 

David Bullard is a columnist, author and celebrity public speaker known for his controversial satire.

 

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the IRR.

 

If you like what you have just read, become a Friend of the IRR if you aren’t already one by SMSing your name to 32823 or clicking here. Each SMS costs R1.’ Terms & Conditions Apply.

 

Because you think I’m right?

My advice to columnists who bandy the term ‘right-wing’ around should take care not to attach labels to people they know nothing about.

I must begin with an apology. When my last column appeared on 7 July, I ended by mentioning that I was off to the UK to watch over the orderly and seamless selection of a new British prime minister without all the fuss, expense and kerfuffle of a general election. Not surprisingly, the lefties at The Guardian newspaper and their local groupies got very hot under the collar about this process and compared it to a coup. It is, quite simply, a case of the party in power selecting a new leader and it’s something the SA government has done twice in the past and will probably do again in the very near future.

Anyway, on my return from the UK, I was so exhausted after the impeccable service at the sharp end of the Emirates flight from Dubai that I fell into a deep slumber and failed to file a column timeously. In my defence, I would argue that my intelligence sources had already informed me that Helen Zille would be announcing her marriage to the IRR on the very day my column was due to appear and I didn’t want to upstage her. Or maybe I didn’t want to be upstaged. ‘Whatever’, as the young are wont to say.

I imagine that if Helen Zille ordered a glass of blanc de noir wine over lunch some scrofulous left-wing journo would accuse her of drinking a racist wine, citing the subjugation of the poor exploited black grape to the advantage of the white wine. A metaphor for all that is wrong in South Africa. A classic example of white (well, pinkish) privilege over black suffering encapsulated in a glass.

Pretty well anything Helen Zille does these days is subjected to scrutiny, so it was hardly surprising that her joining forces with the IRR as a Senior Fellow would ruffle a few feathers. What I hadn’t imagined is that I would be a vicarious beneficiary of her appointment.

It’s eleven years since I left the employ of the Sunday Times and, by rights, I should just be an historical oddity by now. But my name keeps popping up in the strangest of places which, as one ex-journo friend points out, ‘keeps the legend alive’, so I suppose I should be grateful.

Ismail Lagardien, writing on the Daily Maverick website, penned a piece ominously titled ‘There is much more to Helen Zille’s shift to the right’, hinting, no doubt, at the possibility of an outbreak of burning crosses on Clifton beach and a rush for white pillow cases at the local Whitehouse store. Having sketched the rise of the ‘alt-right’ anti Muslim movement in Europe he goes on to write:

‘Debutant Zille was welcomed, so to speak, by David Bullard, unabashed and quite proud right-wing writer in the following way:

“Now Helen Zille has finally shaken off the shackles of high political office, it has enabled her to attempt to educate her fellow citizens with some stark home truths based on a lifetime of political experience. The newly liberated Helen grabbed the attention of the Twitterati last weekend with her suggestion that if white privilege exists, then black privilege also exists; particularly among the rather lacklustre members of the ruling party who are quite happy to draw their vast taxpayer-sponsored salaries, claim as many perks as possible, then sit back and wait for the kickbacks to roll in; in short, ‘black privilege’ is being able to loot a country and get re-elected, she explained.”’

Now, I can’t deny that I wrote the above, but where, in heaven’s name, does the tag ‘unabashed and quite proud right-wing writer’ come from? Not that I am losing sleep over this. After all, to be regarded as right wing in a country as far left as South Africa is becoming would equate to being regarded as a centrist in the UK.

As far I can recall, I have never met Lagardien. I see he claims to be a writer and a columnist but, until I read him on Daily Maverick I had never heard of him. Which is not to say that he is neither a writer nor a columnist but simply to say that our respective writing universes have not interacted as far as I can recall and since I have been writing a regular (and, I like to think, pretty iconic) column since 1994 I am sure I would remember the name.  So how come somebody I have never met (as far as I can recall) thinks he knows enough about my political views to feel confident enough to label me right-wing? Would Lagardien react with equal good humour I wonder if I were to speculate in print on his sexual preferences or his recreational drug use? I doubt it, so my advice Mr Lagardien is to not attach labels to people you know nothing about. And to learn how to write a readable column.

My second dishonourable mention came from Daniel Friedman, the digital news editor for that deeply respected newspaper of record, The Citizen. Young Friedman is the boychild of Steven Friedman, Bizday’s resident left-wing garden gnome and a man who, as far as I know, has never had an economically productive job in his life. Friedman Jnr’s alter ego is a ‘comedian’ who goes by the name of ‘Deep Fried Man’ and you can draw your own conclusions as to his talent for comedy by going onto YouTube and typing ‘I want to make love to your sister’ in the search facility. It may well be that you judge him to be one of the finest comic talents to have emerged since Peter Cook. Or not, as the case may be.

Friedman Jnr’s piece was called ‘Helen Zille, the IRR and the increasingly crowded right-wing closet’ and went on to explain why Zille’s link to the IRR was very dangerous indeed, citing various evidence for this point if view. Rather flatteringly, I was ‘Exhibit A’ and my participation in an IRR event in March in Stellenbosch was offered as a reason for Helen to get the hell out while she still can. Friedman quite correctly pointed out that there was a backlash (more of a backwash in reality) to my invitation, but neglected to mention that the event went off without incident, was well attended and, judging by the after-party, was a roaring success. It’s amazing the pulling power we ‘disgraced newspaper columnists’ have over audiences, Daniel, and that’s probably why I was invited to speak and you weren’t.

Friedman goes on to mention links with AfriForum and the ‘unreliability’ of IRR polls which have a nasty habit of producing results that don’t sit well with the lefty narrative. Like Lagardien, Friedman bandies the term ‘right-wing’ around believing that his readers are so stupid as to believe that the 90-year-old IRR with its impeccable record of liberalism and opposing injustice presents a clear and present danger. In this he is a soul mate of the absurd quasi academic Kelly-Jo Bluen who, at an IRR event in London in June, made a complete fool of herself in public by pointing out to an incredulous audience that ‘in South Africa, the IRR is regarded as a white supremacist hate group’.

Reading his piece (and previous pieces he has written), it’s difficult to know what Friedman wishes for a future South Africa. Civil war maybe? A utopian, socialist, Venezuelan-based economy? Beggar-nation status? Whatever it is, it certainly doesn’t accord with anything the IRR or Helen Zille stand for. So maybe concentrate on that comedy career, Daniel, because political punditry isn’t your forte. On the other hand, it’s one guaranteed way to get people laughing at you.

 

David Bullard is a columnist, author and celebrity public speaker known for his controversial satire.

 

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the IRR.

 

If you like what you have just read, become a Friend of the IRR if you aren’t already one by SMSing your name to 32823 or clicking here. Each SMS costs R1.’ Terms & Conditions Apply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you bank on it?

When a populist politician decides to wipe out certain loans in the hopes of keeping voters sweet, the banking system suddenly looks a bit dodgy.

Back in the late 1970s, I decided to dump the idea of becoming a barrister and pursue a career in banking in London. The chief attraction of banking over law was that it seemed so much easier back then and the pay was better when you were embarking on your career. Plus, you didn’t have to wear stockings, a horse-hair wig and heavily embroidered robes as you progressed up the banking ladder.

Another huge attraction were the lunches. Bank lunches in the 70s were legendary and would start at 12.45 with pre-lunch drinks. Then a superb gourmet meal would be served, prepared by some gorgeous, well-connected Sloane Ranger who’d completed a cooking course at the Cordon Bleu school. After the plates were cleared away, the port, brandy and cigars came out and the lunch would roll merrily on to way past three o’clock. Sadly all this changed when the Yanks invaded the City of London and ‘Big Bang’ happened in 1986. By that time I’d gapped it to South Africa, which was still way behind the times and promised at least fifteen more years of long lunches, if you happened to be involved in financial markets.

One of the banking acronyms I picked up while I was still in London was LDC. It stood for ‘Loans to Developing Countries’ and was very popular for a while with any financial institution that wished to neutralize unfavourable reaction to its host country’s involvement in colonialism. Within a few years, though, the acronym LDC stood for ‘Loans Don’t Comeback’, and that rather scuppered the faux philanthropism of banks as they wondered how to disguise the hole in their balance sheets.

The thing about banking is that, in essence, it’s a fairly simple business. Strip away all the credit swaps, derivatives, securitization and such mumbo jumbo and it’s about taking deposits from those with surplus cash and lending it out to those who want to borrow it. Naturally, a small charge is extracted in the middle of that transaction and that generally comes down to the difference between the cost of borrowing and the cost of lending.

Obviously, if you borrow money for one month and lend money for one year then you may be caught short if the lender doesn’t want to renew his loan after one month. But that’s what makes banking such fun and why it is important to match your lending book as far as possible with your borrowing book. Obviously, things would get equally sticky if you borrowed one-year money as a bank and had nobody to lend it to. I offer this very rudimentary lesson in basic banking not to insult your intelligence, gentle reader, but in the hope that somebody in the African National Congress (ANC) hierarchy may read it.

If, as Pres Cyril has done, you decide on a whim to wipe out all bank loans of up to R50 000 for households earning less than R7 500 a month, you tend to bugger the system up a bit, particularly if you don’t consult the banking industry first.

When people place their trust in the banking system to look after their savings, they assume that the bank is trustworthy and that they will be able to get their money back when they need it, hopefully with some interest to go with it. But when a populist politician decides to wipe out certain loans in the hopes of keeping voters sweet, then the banking system suddenly looks a bit dodgy. After all, why stop at R50 000? Why not up the limit to R250 000 and say that all debt incurred by card-carrying members of the ANC will, henceforth, be written off? After all, the precedent has already been set. Too much of that and we may well find that banks are unable to repay deposits from customers.

The banking industry has already pointed out that of all Cyril’s ‘New Dawn’ ideas, this isn’t one of the best. Apart from interfering in the business of companies that have shareholders to consider, the message this meddling sends to the banking sector is to be extra careful when lending money to low-income earners. In fact, rather avoid it altogether. That can hardly have been the intention, but the reality is that those earning under R7 500 per month may be forced to resort to loan sharks to get by rather than form a relationship with a registered bank. Loan sharks tend to use rather more violent methods to call in overdue loans and their interest rates give the middle finger to the Usury Act.

Admittedly there is a lot of bureaucracy involved in cancelling debt and that could take years, given the number of people who might apply. So what’s the point if the relief isn’t immediate? And who is going to wade through all these applications and at what cost? Will it be the bank’s responsibility or is this a cunning job-creation plan for the benefit of the cadres? Will the banks be able to challenge a ruling and who will decide the case?

As you can see, it has all the promise of becoming a major balls-up as well as further weakening our economy, but that should come as no great surprise given the party sponsoring the idea.

I suppose the smart move would be to open a bank account on behalf of somebody earning under R7 500 a month, cut them in on a percentage and immediately borrow the maximum ‘free’ loan of R50 000. But I bet most of the ANC politicians have already thought of that one.

 

David Bullard is a columnist, author and celebrity public speaker known for his controversial satire.

 

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the IRR.

 

If you like what you have just read, become a Friend of the IRR if you aren’t already one by SMSing your name to 32823 or clicking here. Each SMS costs R1.’ Terms & Conditions Apply.

 

 

Living on the edge

Things we need to consider now that South Africa is perilously close to the ‘fiscal cliff’.

One of the things many of us take for granted in South Africa is efficient first-world food distribution and convenient shopping. When I arrive at my sparklingly clean Woolies (but it could just as easily be one of their competitors) in my local shopping centre just after their 8am opening time, the shelves are already stacked full of fresh produce.

The well-refrigerated fruit and veg section has a vast selection on offer, much of it imported at this time of year. The meat and fish counters are bounteous, the bakery section already has about five types of freshly baked bread to choose from and the first of the crisp-skinned rotisserie chickens are all ready for purchase.

As the day goes by and those shelves gradually empty they are refilled almost immediately and it’s very rare to see an empty shelf in an efficiently managed food supermarket. Well, my friends, make the most of it because all that could be about to change.

Countries that have already hit the financial skids such as Zimbabwe and Venezuela are not generally known for having food supermarkets with groaning shelves, and the reason for that is very simple. Both these countries have run out of money and have a collapsed infrastructure, and the combination of those two factors mean, for example, that they cannot afford to import Spanish grapes when the local market isn’t producing. They simply don’t have the foreign exchange. Neither can they afford to transport goods, so, even if they could import food, a combination of deteriorating road systems, expensive fuel and the criminal activity that accompanies a failed economy make it almost impossible to supply food shops.

Theoretically that shouldn’t be a problem because in socialist Utopias the land is owned and worked by the people, so obviously they would be self sufficient; except that they aren’t, if the 2 million hungry Zimbabweans I’ve been reading about is anything to go by. Add to that a failing electricity supply, which might deliver four hours of mains electricity a day if you’re lucky, and you can see that the situation is even more hopeless.

Any produce you do manage to get hold of will not be fit for purpose without refrigeration (unless you’re lucky enough to live in a failed state within the Arctic circle).

Since South Africa is perilously close to the precipice of the now famous ‘fiscal cliff’, these things need to be considered.

I’ve frequently been labelled as a negative Afro-pessimist by people wearing rose-tinted spectacles, but I prefer to think of myself as an Afro-realist. As a suffering resident, I would dearly love to be bullish about this country, but I have to look at the facts and the facts give absolutely no reason for optimism at the moment. Even some of our traditionally lefty commentators are beginning to get a bit gloomy about the prospects for the future.

Instead of running the country as 57.5% of the electorate asked them to do, the African National Congress seems to have monopolized the courts and now spends most of its time suing, counter suing and generally clogging up the legal system with its tiresome squabbles. Getting rid of this absurd woman who calls herself the ‘Public Protector’ would be a good start because it might give CR breathing space to wonder how he’s going to save the country. Thus far the president has been long on promises and very short on delivery.

The prospect of empty supermarket shelves in the not too distant future is no longer fanciful. Unless a financial miracle occurs we are almost certainly destined to be downgraded to junk by Moody’s rating agency. This is despite several attempts by Moody’s to give the SA government the benefit of the doubt, all of which have been taken by the government as a sign that there’s no real need to worry.

Talk now is of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout but that brings with it the steadying hand of the IMF when it comes to government spending. That is unlikely to please the commies currently running the show so they may decide that what the country really needs is complete economic collapse, after which it can be rebuilt using the well-tried communist template, but with all the mistakes that other communists made now corrected.

Many people forget that the United Kingdom was forced to go to the IMF in 1976 for a bailout after the Labour Party cocked things up. Fortunately, Margaret Thatcher was elected in 1979 as a result and prosperity followed with her open-market policies. People also forget that the UK had strict exchange controls until 1979 and all you were allowed to take on an overseas holiday was £50 and another £15 in notes. That didn’t exactly allow you to live life in the fast lane in Nice. If the hot smelly stuff hits the whirring fan blades down here, as it’s expected to do, you can bet that exchange controls (currently very generous) will be tightened considerably.

Add to the empty supermarket shelves the country’s inability to import medicines or sophisticated diagnostic medical equipment, and you can bank on the health service collapsing long before the ill-conceived National Health Insurance even makes an appearance. It apparently hasn’t yet occurred to our pampered politicians that South African medical practitioners are in great demand in other parts of the world. Or that their departure will reduce the tax base even further.

Of course there is always an upside to consider. Since so many talented South Africans of all colours will have been forced by circumstances to emigrate and seek a better life overseas the queue for bread at five in the morning will be much shorter than it otherwise might have been. So put on those rose-tinted specs and stop fretting.

 

David Bullard is a columnist, author and celebrity public speaker known for his controversial satire.

 

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the IRR.

 

If you like what you have just read, become a Friend of the IRR if you aren’t already one by SMSing your name to 32823 or clicking here. Each SMS costs R1.’ Terms & Conditions Apply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taxi ride to ruin

Who in government is going to steer Tito Mboweni’s turnaround plan to fruition?

 Imagine this. You’re out on the town for a night with friends and you decide to order a taxi. So the taxi arrives a bit late and you get in. The vehicle could do with a good clean – but it’s a taxi, so what the hell. After a few minutes you smell alcohol and notice a bottle of brandy rolling around under the driver’s seat. ‘Have you been drinking?’ you ask. ‘No,’ he lies. ‘A passenger left it in the taxi.’ The taxi swerves onto the main road, clipping a parked car as it does so, and then the driver’s cell phone rings. He takes the call, apparently oblivious to the laws about talking on a cell phone while driving. Then, when the call is finished, he begins texting while steering the car with his knees. By this time, you’re not even sure you’re going to reach your destination alive. But it gets worse. At the intersection where he is supposed to turn right to your destination he turns left instead, and when you point out the error he becomes aggressive and tells you that the sat-nav can’t be trusted and a turn to the left was needed. You remonstrate in vain, but the driver is clearly inebriated and not prepared to listen. At that point, you would surely get out of the taxi and make other plans.

Think of South Africa as that taxi. The driver clearly hasn’t a clue where he’s supposed to be going and really shouldn’t be behind the wheel in his condition. Apart from a scant regard for the law and his general reckless attitude towards his fare-paying passengers, he decides to ignore the economic sat-nav and veer to the left when there’s nothing wrong with the sat-nav, which is clearly indicating a right turn. Is it surprising that so many fare-paying passengers are desperately trying to get out of this ‘skedonk’ to make other plans?

There was some hope on the horizon this week when Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni presented a 75-page discussion document designed to identify problem areas of the economy, rectify them and create 1 million jobs in the process. One must always be highly sceptical when politicians talk in millions because that is a figure that has lots of noughts in it and is only understood by the average voter as ‘awfully big’. Since our previous president found large numbers a stumbling block, it’s hardly surprising that many of our fellow citizens would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between ten thousand and a million. But they do know that a million is awfully big and more than ten thousand. So when a politician promises new houses, for example, it will always be a million and never nine hundred and fifty thousand. That would be a real vote loser.

Similarly, with jobs, it’s always a good ploy to stray on the generous side and promise a million new jobs, even if you know there’s not a bat’s hope in hell of achieving that. The thing is that it sounds like enough jobs to go round for everyone with a few left over probably, and your average voter is never going to quibble with that.

However, ignoring the bits that have been put in to get the masses salivating, much of Mr Mboweni’s document contains refreshing good sense and an obvious understanding of the huge problems the South African economy is facing. It’s hard to believe that a document like this has come out of the ANC, advocating, as it does, a relaxation of labour restrictions on small businesses, relaxed visa requirements and a more coherent tourism policy, investment in water-resource development, sorting out Eskom’s financial woes, kick-starting an infrastructure boom in co-ordination with government and the private sector and reviewing fuel price regulation, to name a few of the ideas.

Not surprisingly, these suggestions have gone down very well with business groups who finally see some glimmer of hope on the economic horizon. Cautious optimism seemed to be the general mood among the business community and economists.

“The ideas contained in the report are mostly pragmatic, given it is not too ambitious and at the same time not overly contentious. However, the results will depend on the successful implementation by National Treasury,” – chief economist at Old Mutual Investment Group Johann Els.

Predictably, the loony left didn’t think much of the idea at all, which they felt would hinder their plan to reduce the SA economy to a Zimbabwe-style wreck before rebuilding it again according to the tried and tested economic laws of communism. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has demanded that Mboweni withdraw his ‘incoherent, confused and unreliable plan’ immediately, seeing in it an imperialist, right-wing plot to trample the faces of the workers into the dust. Or something along those lines at any rate. What really irked them, it seems, was that they hadn’t been previously notified of the document’s existence, although why they should have been any more than anyone else is hard to fathom.

Another objection came from EFF deputy president and alleged bank robber Floyd (does my bum look big in this?) Shivambu, who also thought it smacked of ‘imperialism’ and was a bit upset that it didn’t mention the current vague ANC buzz phrase, ‘the 4th industrial revolution’. One suspects that it’s the ‘revolution’ part of that which Floyd finds attractive.

Given the fact that the ANC government is riddled with crooks and communists, it’s hard to see Mr Mboweni’s well-thought-out plans ever coming to fruition. If you’re trying to bring an entire economy to its knees, the last thing you need is some smartass coming up with a plan for growth and job creation. That would just set the glorious revolution back a few years. Maybe it really is time to get out of that taxi now.

One of Tito’s suggestions is to flog our coal-fired powered stations off for an amount of R450 billion, which is, conveniently, exactly the size of the hole in the Eskom balance sheet. On the surface this looks like a brilliant plan. You just shove the coal-fired power stations up on Gumtree and wait for the eager buyers to phone through.

I’m obviously a bit hazy on details, but I’m not immediately aware of anyone who would be in the market for a coal-fired power station (one not very careful previous owner) or what they would do with it once they had it. Do they come with a service agreement and a warranty, for example?

As Private Eye says, ‘I think we should be told’.

 

David Bullard is a columnist, author and celebrity public speaker known for his controversial satire.

 

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the IRR.

 

If you like what you have just read, become a Friend of the IRR if you aren’t already one by SMSing your name to 32823 or clicking here. Each SMS costs R1.’ Terms & Conditions Apply.

 

 

 


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