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Hope doesn’t always spring eternal!

Those who surprisingly believed that the Cyril Ramaphosa “coming” would somehow turn things around are now scratching their heads to find something – anything – which augurs well for our economic future. Most of the Ramaphoria faithful are now silent - the president’s dulcet speeches, predictions, warnings, election promises, legothla’s, summits and sundry advisory panels have done little to mollify a restless population which can now see the writing on the wall as well as the train at the end of the tunnel.

The main complaint has metamorphosed from what’s wrong with the country’s economy to why isn’t the president doing something about it? Pretoria paralysis has set in. We are deep in the quicksand of the ANC alliance’s impotence to move in virtually any direction because there are too many comfy jobs and political positions at stake. Staying in power is the name of the game on this continent, hence the myriad African governance failures and lengthy presidential terms which are more the norm than the exception in Africa.

One of the more ludicrous moves by President Ramaphosa to send the message that he’s “doing something” has been the appointment of an economic “advisory panel” comprising sundry overseas and local lightweights clearly cherry-picked to suit the president’s agenda. This subterfuge of appointing advisors as well as asking the public to give their input to policies that have already been set in cement is wearing a bit thin. (Look what happened to the two agriculturalists within a panel of academics and other non-performers who were recently called upon to “advise” the government on, inter alia, expropriation of land without compensation. The two strongly disagreed with the panel’s “consensus”. Their opinions were not included in the final report and they were forced to issue separate assessments which, incidentally, made complete sense compared to the select panel’s disastrous conclusions. One panelist from the University College London is a “hugely impressive advocate for renewed and innovative state involvement in the economy” according to Business Day (3.10.19). Another panelist is a former Tanzanian (?) Central Bank governor. Enough said!)

Why appoint a panel when South Africa is wall to wall with talented and experienced economists who know the country like the back of their hand, who have been born and bred here and who know what to do? The reason is simple – they will tell the president what he doesn’t want to hear – that competence must trump cadre employment for anything to function properly. This is totally unpalatable to a president hostage to the unions, the troglodytes of the SA Communist party and the greedy gangsters within the African National congress who are waiting in the wings for him to slip up. President Ramaphosa will never make the right decisions to drag South Africa out of its ANC-created morass. He is himself part and parcel of that same ANC now crippling South Africa. He sat for years while this demolition was happening, in particular during the so-called “nine wasted years” of the Zuma presidency. He said nothing when parliamentary motions of no confidence against Zuma’s flagrant behaviour were defeated by his own ANC which refused to take action even when Zuma was at his most destructive. Yet now the president is purportedly” shocked” at what he finds!


The country can be saved by simply appointing competent people who are qualified to do the job required. There are hundreds of thousands of these people available but the powers that be are infused with racial and other resentments that completely cloud their vision. The country’s 257 municipalities are by and large dysfunctional, while many are under administration. A recent report to the National Council of Provinces revealed that in North West province alone, not one of the province’s 22 municipalities is functional. Fifteen of these are under administration yet officials are actually fighting this status in court! (South African courts are clogged with politicians fighting each other and fighting against their sundry firings and suspensions, inter alia. It’s a smart tactic because they receive full pay as they sit at home while their cases grind through an already-overburdened judicial system).

Mr. Mothibedi Kegakilwe, MEC for local government in North West declared that there appeared to be a “general reluctance to appoint qualified people” within officialdom in the province. (Beeld 20.9.19) The ANC alliance which controls the province would rather see South Africa in ruins than appoint white or other non-black people to fill vacancies, so pervasive is the inferiority complex factor within the governing party. Country wide there are 123 843 vacant posts in government departments – 17 803 in national and the rest in provincial sectors.

In answer to recent parliamentary questions, the government revealed there are around 1 394 450 civil servants in provincial and national posts, which figure includes an increase of around 224 870 since June of this year. In the national departments, the numbers grew by 42 985 to 375 662 – an increase of 12,9% in three months. In the provinces the civil servant quotient grew by 181 885 to a total of 1 018 788, an increase of 21,7% since June of this year. Sixty one percent of provincial budgets is spent on salaries. Senior managers in provincial and national departments receive R1,47 per year.

Media advertisements for municipal and provincial posts still specify government’s commitment to “the aims of the Employment Equity Act”. This means no whites should apply.

Ramaphosa could easily rectify this ridiculous situation, but he’s afraid of upsetting this crucial applecart by appointing competent people. It would be political suicide for him. Thus his promises to rectify this and that in the country are hollow and, yes, dishonest. South Africa’s three tiers of government will continue to disable South Africa, and Ramaphosa will do nothing about it. Civil servant salaries represent 34.4% of government spending. These employees are untouchable and because of this our economy is unsustainable. In September members of Parliament warned they would resist any attempts to trim their generous benefits. On top of free airline flights, accommodation, meals and salaries that range from R1,2m to R2,4m per year, parliament will now spend R111m on “loss of office” gratuities to give generous golden handshakes to the 159 MP’s who failed to return to parliament after the May 8 elections this year.


“It’s not good enough to tell a good story”, opines Dawie Roodt, chief economist of the Efficient Group. Ramaphosa continues to talk, but he’s doing little to halt the rot. If he wants to stay in power, he will continue to duck and dive and send out Presidential Weekly Newsletters, and talk nonsense at overseas conventions and meetings about how beneficial it will be to invest in South Africa. He must take overseas observers as fools. Foreign embassies and world bodies with a presence on the ground in South Africa know full well what is going on, and they advise their overseas principals accordingly.

During his 2016 election campaign, Cyril Ramaphosa told thousands of people in Vosloorus in the east rand that corruption would “come to an end”. Those who steal “will go to jail and will wear the orange jump suit”. In true ANC style, he confessed that the ANC’s work was “not finished” and that the government “should be given a chance to change people’s lives”. Pravin Gordhan who accompanied the president told the hapless crowd that a commission would be set up to show who was stealing the people’s money and that “we will retrieve the money and invest it in roads and houses. It will take some time,” he said, “but those guilty shall be found and punished”.

This past week the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Adv. Batohi confessed to Parliament that she did not have the funds to prosecute anything like the number of cases accumulating in her office. She has vacant posts to fill and in addition some on the staff “lack capacity” - ANC parlance for incompetence. She managed to obtain R20m to pay for four experienced senior counsel to assist her department. It is not nearly enough, she said. Her department’s conviction rate was “abysmal” (her words).

None of the thieves now being exposed by the Zondo commission look like they will be prosecuted any time soon. There are no familiar faces yet in orange jumpsuits.

“We have no more money” declared President Ramaphosa in August of this year. His ANC alliance is now eyeing the country’s pension funds to bail them out. Ramaphosa declared in parliament that there must be a “national debate” about these funds because “our financial resources are depleted and our needs are great.” Lobby group Association of Monitoring and Advocacy of Government Pensions (AmaGP) warns South Africa that the president’s plans to invest state pension funds in government undertakings or to pay off Eskom’s huge debt would be catastrophic. AmaGP’s spokesperson Adamus Stemmet says pensions are not “public money”. The money belongs to pension fund members, not to the state at all. “We cannot invest in bankrupt state enterprises”, he declares. “Would you accept a guarantee from a bankrupt guarantor? We cannot trust this government”.

Government promises continue unabated - government will “encourage” black townships to pay for their electricity and water. The Zuma-era Gupta family who stole billions from South Africa have fled the country and the chances of a successful prosecution are virtually nil. Stats SA has run out of funds so it might be “short on data” according to Stats director Patrick Kelly. Soothing assurances that Expropriation of Land without Compensation will proceed without any upheaval and with food security intact are not believed for one minute. Illegal Nigerians and other aliens are now emboldened to do what they like in our country since our president apologised for violence against them by local South Africans fighting against Nigerian drug gangs. SA’s Minister of Defence tells parliament she has no idea how many illegal immigrants are in SA but the United Nations put the figure at 3.1 million in 2015. And they keep coming. The president has made no effort to tighten up SA’s border control. We are in debt and our State Owned Enterprises cannot sustain themselves.
In the short term, TLU SA advocates support of a parallel economy in order for us to survive and flourish. It should also be our goal to remove the governing ANC Alliance as soon as possible. Picking up the pieces is easier sooner than later.

TLU Pretoria-