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August 16th 2020
Published: August 16th 2020
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An economic horror story impacting livelihoods and people's jobs
“We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end.” – Blaise Pascal

If there is one word which now underpins the current Covid-19 journey, it has to be “uncertainty”. What was put out on media platforms as fact and latest update last week on the trajectory of the coronavirus is turned on it’s head a week later. Consider the following; schools are under huge pressure globally to re-open on the basis that people younger than 18 years of age don’t get infected at the same rate as older folk. And yet, in America there are current reports of a 40 percent spike in school children infections in one state. The jury is truly out as to whether it is wise to re-open schools and the consequences will play out in the next month or so by way of increased infections or not. There is simply no certainty. And then we have countries who thought they had tamed the “beast” now experiencing a major resurgence of infections. Even squeaky-clean New Zealand is on full alert as they discover a miniscule number of new infections notwithstanding that their target is zero! European countries are reporting what
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A prominent sign in Cape Town. The W.Cape was exemplary in it's preparation and management of Covid-19
is quaintly termed as “second waves” of infections. The whingeing Poms were sent packing from Spain a week ago and a week later France declares that any foreign persons in their country would need to go into a two-week quarantine at very short notice. This led to another charge for the gates by the Poms; their mud island beckons. Here, in sunny South Africa, we have the unenviable record of having the worst Covid-19 statistics on the African continent coupled with what is now widely regarded as the longest and most draconian lock down of any nation across the world. The one major achievement of our hopelessly incompetent “Command Council” is that they have managed to flatten the economy much more effectively than the infection curve. The story of Sweden provides some perspective to our dismal situation. As of 14th August, they had reported 84,294 infections and 5,783 deaths which translates to 0.056 percent of their 10.1 million population. South Africa’s statistics reveal 579,140 infections and 11,556 deaths which equals 0.02 percent of our 58.7 million population. The one major difference is that Sweden did not lock down, preferring social distancing, limiting crowds and wearing of masks was optional. Their
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Great graph. Clearly the economic contraction out of step with Covid-19 curve. Why the ongoing lock down?
economy is largely intact. On the other hand, our economy is in tatters and there are current reports that our non-Covid-19 deaths have spiked by 30 percent against the same period last year. The medical fraternity are scrambling to unpack these shocking revelations but look no further than many of these deaths being due to people with other serious medical ailments not being able to access medical care and treatment. Simply, the reality of unintended consequences! At last count there are almost 200 bio pharmaceutical companies at various stages of vaccine development. These things take time and cautious testing is essential. But the Russians have gone rogue and are forging ahead and vaccinating their citizens with their hot off the lab bench vaccine by name of Sputnik V (I kid you not!). The scientific and medical fraternity watch in bemused fascination and maybe a hint of horror as this vaccine had not really gone through all the testing hoops it should have. Maybe the vaccine is given a boost by a simultaneous slug of vodka! There is likely to be a sequel at some point in the future in the sense that Sputnik V either worked or caused a serious
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Spot the the thieving Covidpreuners whom CR will do his utmost never to expose,charge or arrest. PROMISE!
crash landing for those injected.

Clearly, there will be much to chew on around that warm, glowing camp fire somewhere in the bush five years hence. One of the topics will be our economy and its destruction notwithstanding that we were already in deep trouble before the arrival of Covid-19 back in mid-March. South Africans are a resilient bunch as I guess we mostly simply shrug things off on the basis that “we have seen it all.” There is not much discussion around the coffee table about the dire economic situation apart from anecdotal stuff about the bizarre regulations around the sale of tobacco and alcohol, closure of gyms, restaurants and so on. It may appear controversial but I sense that we actually don’t want to confront the reality of our economic implosion. One does so at the risk of being shot down as being overly “negative.” It takes a headline to focus the mind and I suggest that all South Africans need to wake up and smell their coffee. This appeared as a headline in Bloomberg on 12th August 2020; “South Africa nears the point of No Return. The continent’s dominant powerhouse is being pushed to the edge
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The Zondo Circus (sorry, Commission) grinds onward. Now in year 2 (or is it 3?) and a cost of R800 million to date and not a SINGLE charge or arrest. We should be as mad as vipers but easier to just give a shrug of the shoulder!
of economic and political disaster.” This is a headline that should jolt all of us as it has been published by a reputable media platform and this is my, our, country that is being put in the spotlight. No need to bore or scare anyone with the content of this article but if anyone is remotely interested in where we could be heading, I would urge you to Google Bloomberg and search for and read the article. A few of the pertinent quotes include, “ we are looking at a wasteland and the ramifications of not taking the necessary action in the near future are catastrophic”, “addressing the seriousness of South Africa’s plight will require a wholesale change in the ANC Governments approach”, “labour unions have used their political power to block everything from education reform to the closure of heavily polluting coal-fired power plants”, “by the time Covid-19 restrictions were imposed in the country in March, South Africa was already in recession and unemployment at 30.1 percent was at a 17-year high”, “South Africa is not a nation short of plans. Its problem lies in finding the political will to overcome powerful vested interests”, “And for all the government rhetoric, the early signs are not promising”, “We shudder to think how much worse things must get before any action is taken”, “Mboweni may struggle to get his way with freezing public servant wages in the face of entrenched labour opposition and structural economic reforms are going to be strongly contested and sets up a battle over South Africa’s economic and political future.” These are not my words but this is how we are perceived as a nation. It should shock the hell out of every citizen and increasingly I believe it will be the people of this country, not a bunch of incompetent and morally bankrupt politicians, who will have to save our country from the looming disasters others seem to see more clearly than we do. There is no doubt that there is a growing anger rumbling across South Africa as civil society slowly takes ownership of trying shape a better future.

America is in the eye of a storm which barrels across the country in many guises. Their infections continue to rise albeit on a slightly lower daily trajectory and there seems to be little or no cohesion by way of a national plan. Each State Governor seems to enjoy the spotlight pontificating about their unique infection rates and the need for a “different” response. Let’s not forget that there is a Presidential election up ahead in November and unlike prior election build ups, this one is almost farcical with a strong hint of comedy. There is little political debate about the virtues or otherwise of the Republicans and Democrats as it has mostly transcended to a narrative focusing on verbally abusing the individual candidates. Trump provides his own ammunition by way of his behaviour and nonsensical statements on a wide range of issues. On the other side, Joe Biden, just short of turning 78 years of age, is being fingered for some of his foreign policy gaffes whilst he was Vice President to Obama. The polls currently favour Biden but no one expected Trump to win the last election. The word “Never” simply no longer exists. This is also a major tussle between “Capitalism” and “Socialism” and I suspect that should Biden win, America will undergo a huge change in economic direction with an outcome no one can predict at this point. Margaret Thatcher once famously said: “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” It is not a bad idea to try and explain the difference between capitalism and the socialist, welfare mentality by way of an example. From a Facebook post which went viral: A guy looked at my Corvette the other day and said: “I wonder how many people could have been fed for the money that sports car cost?” I replied: “I’m not sure, it fed a lot of families in Kentucky where it was built, it fed the people who made the tires, it fed the people who made the components that went into it, it fed the people in the copper mine who mined the copper for the wires, it fed the people at Caterpillar who make the trucks that haul the copper ore, it fed the trucking people who hauled it from the plant to the dealer and fed the people working at the dealership and their families BUT…I have to admit, I guess I don’t really know how many people it fed.” Capitalism is freely giving your money in exchange for something of value. Socialism is having the Government take your money against your will and give it to someone else for doing nothing.

The Covid-19 roller coaster is far from over and one should not read too much into Cyril Ramapromisa’s latest fireside chat to the nation on the evening of 15th August. Not unsurprisingly he announced that, following “consultations” and the wise advice of his “Command Council”, the nation will, as of midnight 17th August, move to Level 2 of the Lockdown masterplan. He made the briefest possible mention of the plunder of his Covidpreuner comrades and promised to transparently update the nation on their arrests or whatever. Really! We have heard this endless, nauseating promise to round up his thieving mates for so long that no one actually pays any attention any longer. “A luta continua.”

“Promises mean everything and once they’re broken, they become what is affectionately known as, “utter bullshit.”

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