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Brace for financial Armageddon




Friday, February 2 1990, F W de Klerk gave a historic speech that spread to every corner of the land. And, a simple phrase rose like a ripple rising to the surface: New South Africa.

The phrase had not been heard since 1948, when the National Party rose into power and began building a new South Africa based on a foundation of democracy, prosperity, justice and equal rights for all whites.

February 2, 1990, seemed like a real thing, as they say, the day was to mark the start of South Africa’s quantum shuffle towards the abolition of all Apartheid legislation, if not all Apartheid.

Apartheid might be over but the idea of inherent superiority of one tribe over another and the rent-seeking behaviour are on the rise.

When I first heard of the standoff between Zuma and Gordhan, I thought, “Well, this is a new South Africa I know. But the timing is really bad.” This is simply not the right time for South Africa to flirt with the economic meltdown. A credit rating downgrade to junk status is a nightmare! A nightmare that could result in, according to economists, rand plummeting to R30 to the dollar.

Gordhan’s standoff with the Hawks has always been perceived as a proxy war between the Presidency and Treasury over control of the national fiscus, something Zuma’s office denies.

But Gordhan is making it clear that the sole reason behind his persecution is doing his job: investigating contracts with companies owned by the Guptas.

The public is left on its own to draw its conclusions. Honestly, this is a propaganda: only facts that are convenient to the purpose are selected and unpleasant realities and dangers are minimized. This is exactly what a rent-seeker would do. Because a rent-seeker is only concerned about serving his own interests and those of his clan, sycophants, strategic allies and business benefactors.

With all that is happening in South Africa, it is easy to see that our (we have one economy) future is fraught with challenges. It is easy to conclude that come December, a credit rating downgrade to a junk status will be a reality. I do not believe GDP is South Africa’s weakest metric, politics are.

But are we prepared for a volcano about to erupt? The winds of change are blowing through our halls, corridors and dining rooms. There is a gale warning: a financial disaster is about to happen!

No wonder the Chinese investors, as Sunday Times has learnt, are worried about the billions of rands they invested in South Africa and what a downturn in the economy would mean. (Last month, August, the Chinese Communist Party officials met with Ramaphosa and were said to have raised concerns about political and economic instability in South Africa).

I don’t know what to expect in December. But fear is crippling. My days are already nightmarish as I believe there will be an instant of pure, blinding, utterly intense bluish-white light cut across the sky, followed by searing heat, a thousand-fold crash of thunder, and finally an earth-shaking blast that will send a mushroom cloud of dust and debris boiling up to 100 000 feet.

Believe me, even the rich will feel the fragments of the buildings pounding them. It will dawn on all who brag about how much money they have lying on the bank that it really is counterproductive to have too much money lying in some low-interest bearing account – it’s a slippery road to poverty.

Start preparing yourself for the worst: change, simplify, your lifestyle. Women, it would really do you good to remember: buried inside each of us, there is one of those post-war housewives who, with a book of ration tickets and some coins, managed to pull off Hollywood-style grooming, keep the silver gleaming, and provide home-baked cakes for tea for rosy-cheeked families.

Now is time to pick up some seeds and get your fingers green. Famously, you can provide enough vegetables to feed a family on a piece of land the size of a door.

Remember to upcycle clothing. I am artistically inclined and have always had an eye for fashion. This spring, I decided to use my talent. I plotted with a local seamstress to take up some hems, sort a couple of some seams, and do some cute adaptations in an effort to expand to wearing all the clothes in my cupboard. The results are amazing and, well, I saved a lot of money. You can do the exact thing.

Times are to get harder. A new South Africa, land of hope, is just a dream. And, it’s time people wake up from this beautiful dream and change their lifestyles – face the challenge. After all, challenges are life calling for our biggest!

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