ANC hand is in cookie jar, Zondo & tax rands

WITH every revelation from the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture comes new evidence of the plot to redirect public funds into the private hands of politicians. It is remarkable that this arrives at a time when SARS has over-collected taxes by a whopping R38 billion, raising questions as to the overall tax regime in the country.

Botswana is doing incredibly well for its size with a corporate tax rate of 22%, sharing the same tax bracket as Indonesia, another success story and only slightly above Finland the ‘happiest country in the world’ at 20%. Botswana is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, averaging 5% over the past decade, this is in no small part due to its progressive tax system and intolerance of corruption.

South Africa at 28% corporate tax is still two points above the USA at 25% (a developed country) and has one of the highest maximum personal income tax rates in the world at 45% compared to Botswana, 25%. All of which acts as a disincentive to investment.

SARS has over-collected tax over the past 12 months following the lowering of interest rates during the Covid pandemic. Unlike countries where tax is put to good use, the revelations of the Zondo Commission show how tax has invariably ended up in the hands of politicians, whose sole motivation appears to be to rip off the exchequer.

Many on the left are running on a ticket of raising taxes whilst also raising salaries, essentially targeting the economy as if it were the enemy in an inflationary proposition if ever there was one.

The country has now embarked on an interest raising round driven by imported macro-economic inflation caused by the Russian-Ukraine war and quantitative easing in the USA.

In South Africa, all citizens irrespective of socio-economic position are taxed on the sale of goods via Value Added Tax which is a high 15% compared to Switzerland at 7.7%. Other taxes include a Fuel Tax and Capital Gains Tax. The Fuel tax was reduced temporarily to accommodate higher gas prices and the benefits of this experiment still need to be assessed.

Lower taxes are counter-intuitive, since they tend to drive local investment, act to boost entrepreneurs who sustain businesses, which in turn create jobs, with the resulting increase of economic activity. High taxes tend to constrain investment as they act as a disincentive. Merely lowering interest rates during the Covid epidemic resulted in a massive boost for local investment.

New SABC household ‘hut tax’ mooted

STATE-OWNED enterprise, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has approached Parliament with a scheme to raise what is essentially a media levy on each and every household, irrespective of whether or not one possesses a television set. The scheme resembles the ‘hut’ taxes of old, which were used by the colonial authorities as a form of ‘poll tax’ (see below) to force people into the migrant labour system, and are unprecedented in modern times.

PetroSA for example, doesn’t levy fees on motorcars as such, but receives taxes at the pump. It certainly doesn’t tax those without vehicles, and the same may be said of Eskom, which charges fees for connection to the grid, but ignores the temptation to charge those without any access to electricity.

SABC now want an unusual ‘device independent’ tax to plug a gap in funding that has emerged as increasing numbers of South Africans turn to the Internet for content instead of media provided by the broadcaster. The broadcaster currently receives funding directly from the fiscus and also advertising revenue, and it remains to be seen whether or not it possesses any legal basis nor power, to implement such an extraordinary levy.

The earlier threat of a license targeted at general purpose computing and smart phones appears to have subsided somewhat, and there are a number of objections one may make when it comes to taxing the Internet, since many providers such as this outlet, provide content for gratis. In effect SABC would be charging consumers for content over which it does not possess copyright nor any resale royalty agreements.

Before the emergence of Multichoice, SABC were essentially a national broadcaster. The only pay-tv channel Mnet was that provided by a single private company. The SABC television license was thus essentially an operating tax on televisions, levied by the government, to kickstart broadcasting in the country.

The SABC is not a government entity as such but rather a corporation owned by the state, competing alongside other private companies. State-owned enterprises do not posses the power to tax the public and it is unprecedented for them to approach parliament in this manner. Telkom for instance, doesn’t tax its competitors and neither does the Post Office foolishly charge those who do not use its services, but rather email.

At the end of the day, it is the government which needs to fund its public mandate. It should do this via the usual channels — VAT, Capital Gains and Income Tax — not via introduction of a special tax, nor by attempting to create revenue streams that would place it in the world of commerce.

South African are unlikely to accept a Household ‘Hut Tax’, which is really just another way of saying ‘Poll Tax’ ( also known as head tax or capitation) which is a tax levied as a fixed sum on every liable individual (typically every adult), without reference to income or resources. In the case of a Hut Tax, the tax is levied on every dwelling or household.

Nor should we stoop to concede to the implementation of a separate tax for government media, in other words paid propaganda. Whether or not the public mandate will be fulfilled by the SABC or other service providers remains to be seen. There is no reason why other cheaper outlets for government information should be considered, instead of imposing yet another tax on already-stretched consumers.

Is this a cancel culture breakfast conspiracy, are our legacy brands under attack?

IT’S NOT just our politicians who are ‘twitching away the good drapery’. Global multinational food companies appear to be buying up local brands, only to announce their retirement and cancellation of legacy products, — some with generations of family support — and all in favour of their own particular lines of items.

A bewildering array of local products have bitten the dust in this way. A form of radical rationalisation and globalisation, in which market share is driven by what could be termed, a logical extension of cancel culture, the strategic sabotage of any opposition?

This years’ announcement of the demise of Redro and Anchovette was a real shocker, and has lead to many reactions on social media.

The shortage of well-known chocolate brands, treats from one’s childhood may not have aroused the same indignation from adults, but a total lack of support for our breakfast choices as a nation — a shortage of Marmite, the end of Rice Krispies (as anything to do with rice), surely heralds a move towards a future in which well-known brands such as Liqui Fruit (owned by Pioneer Foods) may become corn-syrup beverages, the fake fruit juices that are a world-wide, rationalisation phenomenon.

The manner in which large companies are gobbling up smaller companies is often attributed to simply meeting the needs of profit and capital, and, yes nothing lasts forever. But this announcement looks a lot like a well-known strategy of cheque-book removal of one’s opposition by Pepsico and Pioneer Foods with the result that we may end up with a food market in which nothing is truly South African, nor 100% homespun, and our diet simply an artificial, saccharine reflection of board-room decisions taken overseas by those unhappy with margin.

I know there is no real economic reason why the food bigwigs should preserve Chappie’s bubble gum (a dentists nightmare), or fight for Jungle Oats and Black Cat peanut butter (organic, if somewhat expensive), but the question arises, if a legacy brand disappears are we any better off? Is it really all about the bottom line?

As an Anchovette fan (who can afford caviar these days?) I don’t have any qualms with seeing its down-market substitute Redro disappear, but witnessing both classic items go the way of the Dodo, I can’t help thinking that we are living in the age of Solyant Green? A product made famous by science fiction only to appear as an actual ‘meal replacement product’ in 2013.

Does Pepsico/Pioneer Foods really expect us all to eat Pronutro exclusively for breakfast, surely a forerunner in science nutrition? As a wholesome wheatbix fan, do they really understand the local market? Heck, why not retire KWV Brandy for not being, well, Vodka? (Anyone have any history on our use of Cane Spirit as a substitute during WW2 rationing?)

What do South African’s eat for breakfast these days? What are your kids taking to school in their packed lunches? Did everyone just stop eating breakfast during lockdown?

Please let us know.

PS: If you miss eating real popped rice for breakfast, I highly recommend a substitute popped rice product from Happy Valley.

Sisulu steps in the proverbial ‘kakka’

FOR TWENTY years Imelda Marcos, the First Lady of the Philippines and her husband Ferdinand Marcos stole billions from the Filipino people, before they were convicted after mass protests that would later become known as the ‘People Power Revolution’. Imelda Marcos’s luxury shoe collection is said to have run into the range of thousands of branded items.

Similarly, South Africa’s ruling party has presided over state capture and massive looting under successive administrations. The party is implicated in the Zondo Report, the opening volume of which has dealt a massive blow to the credibility of the ANC, whilst MP Lindiwe Sisulu, faces opprobrium and censure from the country’s justice system for comments deflecting attention away from the findings.

In a move calculated to take the wind out of the sails of Zondo Commission by weaponising poverty to defend her position and authority, Sisulu went on the offensive this week, accusing the judiciary of being ‘mentally colonised’ and attacking the acting chief justice, and the ‘rule of law’, which she claims is merely a tool of neoliberalism.

The timing is significant and the result incredibly rich, considering the Sisulu’s are the main beneficiaries of a number of deals with the previous regime. Deals which resulted in the first black empowermenti firm, the creation of NAIL, and all leading to a round of state capture outlined here.

That there exists a link between state capture under Zuma, and the previous period of state capture under the National party, is clear and it would be remiss of me to omit to mention that this connection was neither the strict mandate nor the subject of the Zondo Commission, which focused primarily on the intrigues of the Guptas, SAA, Transnet, Nkandla and so on.

Given the extent of the looting, it was only a matter of time before the entire corrupt enterprise involving the siphoning off of state funds, under the guise of ANC deployment of cadres to the corporate sector, positioning of political representatives within the commanding heights of the economy, and attempts to rig legal proceedings, began to unravel, in one big awkward mess. A bewildering array of graft allegations has resulted in unprecedented attacks against democratic institutions becoming the order of the day, and include the torching of the national assembly by persons known and unknown.

Instead of empowering ordinary South Africans and seeking to move our country forward under democratic rule, it turns out that the inner circle of the ANC merely wished to step into the boots of the National Party, gaining a seat at the table of crookedness as it were. One can no longer remain silent in the face of thinly veiled attempts to disguise the result as a ‘people’s revolution’ or to sugar-coat the consequences as ‘radicalism’ or ‘opposition to capital’.

Like the removal of the Marcos Gang in the Philipines, it is going to take a lot more than a simple ‘democratic revolution’ to deal with the consequences. SA desperately needs its own Corazon Aquino, the  prominent figure of the 1986 Philippines Revolt, which ended the two-decade rule of President Ferdinand Marcos.

As I write this piece, government-sponsored propagandists continue to scapegoat our constitutional democracy alongside the justice system instead of answering the question, why it is that the ruling party has failed the people of this country?

History buffs may find another comparison, that of Angola’s Isabel dos Santos equally enlightening.

Theranos of the Nuclear Industry

THE WORLD has its fair share of prospective ‘revolutionary ideas’, objectives that have failed to pan out. Not for lack of trying, nor because a notion isn’t any good on paper but rather the expression of a thought may not be based upon sound physics, or could be missing a vital technological breakthrough or component. In the case of Theranos, the idea of a portable blood analysis machine was surely innovative, but the underlying technology did not exist and the project failed to deliver. The result is a fraud case involving over-sell — under-performance, gross deception and astonishingly optimistic claims by one Elizabeth Holmes.

Similarly in 2007 the Department of Environmental Affairs held a parliamentary inquiry into the nuclear industry, in particular the much vaunted Pebble-Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) programme whose technology was essentially borrowed from Germany. As it turned out the programme was fundamentally flawed, and was deemed unsafe by the Germany government following a pebble bed reactor accident at Hamm-Uentrop.(1)

At this stage some R10bn had already been spent without so much as a working reactor. Submissions by civil society organisations Koeberg Alert and Earthlife Africa, provided engineering analysis of why Germany had dropped the thorium-uranium programme, in part due to the ‘tendency of the pebble fuel to disintegrate’. Other serious issues included problems of safety, lack of containment, waste fission products and a host of other technical issues.

This didn’t dissuade South Africa’s nuclear industry. Though government input into the programme seemingly ended with Minister Barbara Hogan cancelling further funds, the PBMR took on a new life under Kelvin Kemm, who began touting a gas-cooled version called High Temperature Modular Reactor (HTMR) produced by his own company Nuclear Africa, along with a supposedly ‘new fuel’.

Billions of rands of governmental spend was thus, for all intents and purposes, simply transferred to Nuclear Africa, under the auspice of Kemm who was then chair of NECSA in order to further acomplex prestige project, one which readily leads to economic dependency (see below).

Steenkampskraal Thorium Limited (STL) is a subsidiary company ‘in the business of developing and commercialising thorium as a clean safe energy source for the future.” The STL company site however professes “The primary goal of the HTR fuel development programme at STL is to produce fuel spheres containing uranium for irradiation testing in the short term, thorium/uranium in the medium term as well as thorium and plutonium in the long-term.”

Enter the X Factor, Yet Another Fuel

Meanwhile Eben Mulder and Martin van Staden announced their company X-energy was using a new modular reactor design alongside a brand new fuel. “X-energy has developed the compact Xe-100 reactor, which delivers 80MW of electricity and is about the size of an elevator shaft in a four-storey building,”. They further claim, “the US military has also signed a contract with the company in March to deliver its Xe-Mobile reactors”.

While Kemm’s project certainly has some merit in its purported use of presumably thorium instead of uranium, but certainly fails when it comes to the economics of producing Thorium Dioxide (see below) the X-energy project insists it has developed an advanced new nuclear fuel known as “Triso-X”.

Triso-X appears to be nothing more than a complex “tri-structural isotropic (TRISO) particle fuel” already developed within the nuclear industry. The company thus also claims somewhat disingenuously: “We manufacture our own proprietary version (TRISO-X) to ensure supply and quality control.”

If the claims are to be believed, TRISO fuel may significantly alter the burnup rate of fission products and change the melting of fuel within reactors. It is claimed to “double the previous mark set by the Germans in the 1980s” and thus is ‘three times the burnup that current light-water fuels can achieve—demonstrating its long-life capability.”     

According to pundits “TRISO particles cannot melt in a reactor and can withstand extreme temperatures that are well beyond the threshold of current nuclear fuels.”

A 2020 Nuclear Industry Journal article on ‘Uranium nitride tristructural-isotropic fuel particle’, demonstrates “testing of a novel coated fuel particle, uranium nitride tristructural-isotropic fuel” and claims “this fuel particle offers significantly higher uranium density over historic manifestations of coated fuel particles and may be more optimal for a range of advanced reactor applications”

There is however no consensus in the industry on the resulting fission products produced by the TRISO process impacting upon health and safety, nor the longevity of the fuel. One can only suggest that many of the objections to the latest Thorium-Uranium project, also apply. In fact many of the claims made by X-energy, beg the question, why Thorium?

Or Else, Dr Nie and the coming of the Warlords

IT WAS a series of ‘inflammatory speeches’ made outside former president Jacob Zuma’s estate in Nkandla which had initially lead to the suspension of Carl Niehaus’s ANC membership on 7 July 2021. At a press briefing flanked by camouflage wearing cadres of uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and members of the ‘Hands off Zuma’ campaign, Niehaus had issued an open threat of public violence the day before:

“We’ve warned the national executive committee of the ANC and also the justices of the constitutional court, and also the deputy chief justice Zondo that if cool heads and minds do not prevail, if president Zuma continues to be targeted and if president Zuma is eventually sent to prison, that our country will be torn apart.”

Railing against the manner in which the Zondo commission of inquiry into corruption, was being used in a ‘selective manner’ for party-political infighting, or so he claimed, he promised that members of his organisation would ‘form a human shield to protect Zuma’.

Thus set in motion a series of events which would ignite Kwazulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng, as Zuma’s support base was nevertheless, and despite such warnings, drawn into a partisan factional battle that had been brewing for months.

Convoys of supporters had already descended upon the Zuma compound over the weekend, and thus an early attempt at the arrest of the former president had been thwarted. Firing live bullets, singing struggle songs, they formed themselves into regiments, and told the press that they were ‘not scared to die for Zuma’.

It was then that the unthinkable happened, the ANC divorced its former military wing.

Niehaus had in turn released a statement of open defiance, flouting the ANC national executive committee (NEC) decision to disband the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA).’

Shortly after the NEC announced its decision to disband the MKMVA, Niehaus had issued a ‘statement saying the NEC — the ANC’s highest decision-making body in between conferences — had been emotional and angry.’

Niehaus said the move was ‘unacceptable and the MKMVA would not accept it.’ “We are an autonomous structure, and it is not legally nor politically possible for the ANC to disband the MKMVA,” he said.

Though the stage had been set for a paramilitary showdown at Nkandla, with Zuma addressing both members of the ‘Hands off Zuma’ campaign, and his amaButho Zulu regiments, where he essentially worked the crowds into a partisan insurrection, the former president had appeared to blink, and seemingly backed off, instead handing himself over to authorities the next day.

On the following Friday, the high court dismissed an application to have Zuma’s arrest the previous night overturned in a case that was being seen as a ‘test of the post-apartheid nation’s rule of law’ by the international community. An hour before the ruling, a Reuters photographer saw a group of protesters shouting “Zuma!” burning tires and blocking a road.

By Saturday evening sabotage operations aimed at bringing Kwazulu-Natal and the rest of the country to a grinding halt were well underway as a powder keg of poverty caused by the ruling party’s lack of service delivery, turned into a weapon at the hand of KZN’s warlords.

This week, Niehaus released a statement essentially daring Minister Mbalula to arrest him and referring to a BBC interview in which the minister had not, contrary to his assertions, uttered so much as a word about the former ANC member.

That a virtual split in the ruling party was behind the sequence of events, can be seen by a march organised in its aftermath. The party was forced to issue a statement claiming that ‘motorcades and marches, held in the name of freeing former president Jacob Zuma, and linked to protesting “racist attacks” in Phoenix were not sanctioned by its provincial structure.

Meanwhile residents of neighbouring Ballito were bemoaning the fact that the Premier of the Province,  Sihle Zikalala, instead of assisting the community had attempted to prevent crowd-control barricades from being erected.

SEE: Suspended ANC Members Carl Niehaus and Andile Lungisa On WhatsApp Group for Planning Riots and Looting

Crackpot Chief Justice Mogoeng, now with added 666

THE FAR RIGHT agenda within South Africa’s judicial system reared its ugly head once again this past week, with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng pronouncing upon the Covid Vaccine.

According to the elected head of the judiciary, some Covid vaccines might contain ‘triple-six’ or the ‘mark of the devil’. Only ‘non-Satanic’ vaccines should be accepted, he added.

It is a declaration that would be risible if it were not for the fact that Mogoeng Mogoeng, who alleges he is ‘not a scientist but rather a prayer warrior‘, is also a legal professional and a sitting judge.

According to Stephen Grootes, the ‘claim that some vaccines might be “triple-six” cannot be based on scientific fact.

“He himself admits he has no understanding of vaccines. His comments may reasonably be construed to lead to harm, particularly in a context in which it is currently illegal, during the State of National Disaster, to spread falsehoods about the virus.”

The judge, whose crackpot beliefs are certainly not backed by science nor academic research, defends his views rather, as being ‘in accordance with Christianity’.

That Mogoeng is a charismatic Christian is well-known, less evident is the basis upon which he issues forth his opinions in the form of prayer, and thus the claim that the rights guaranteed by our constitution accord his office the benefit of speaking on topics, for which he is no doubt unqualified to speak.

Notwithstanding the obvious intrusion of Church and State and undermining of the separation of powers. The Chief Justice claims rights which he denies others and is thus a mendacious hypocrite, suppressing the views of anyone who disagrees with his far-right Christian ideology.

In 2010 an irregularly-gained decision handed down by a corrupt ANC official, purporting to be the opinions of the Labour Court of South Africa, proceeded to demonise this writer, for asserting that the views of a Media24 employee resembled the now defunct ideology of the Dutch Reformed Church (NGK).

The contested decision anathematised a career in journalism on the basis of the writer’s opposition to apartheid and possession of a secular belief system.

It proceeds to assert that de facto race segregation and race profiling of readers at Die Burger (sic) not Media24 community newspapers, was ‘merely a coincidence of homogeneity’ i.e. an accident of nature or ‘miracle of sameness’, and the company in question could not possibly be in the wrong, since its sole witness was ‘Italian and a Catholic‘.

Imagine explaining the events at Brackenfell this year as a mere coincidence?

Race segregation is not a teaching of the Catholic Church, and likewise, the Covid vaccines being developed by Pfizer and Moderna are unlikely to be repudiated and excommunicated as the ‘work of the beast’, by the broader Christian establishment.

Needless to say, several complaints to the Office of the Chief Justice, i.e. the Judicial Services Commission were ignored.

See DRL condemnation of right-wing anti-secular revolt within SA justice system

See: Dr Glenda Gray to Chief Justice Mogoeng: Keep your religious beliefs to yourself

See: Scientists call for Mogoeng’s impeachment over vaccine conspiracy

See: The Chief Justice must be called to order

Getting out of lockdown may be essential to combating impact of the virus

THE LOCKDOWN was never meant to do anything more than buy us time to prepare. Time to allow the public health system to adjust, to stock-up on medication, to initiate testing and special counter-measures.

Unfortunately it appears that many South Africans and government officials are under the impression that the lock-down is some form of a cure-all. It is nothing of the sort. It cannot prevent the second and third wave of infections that will undoubtedly arrive come winter, and it cannot continue being extended if our economy and way of life is to survive.

Although a return to normal is not possible, and social distancing and other measures will be in place for a very long time, the cost of extending the lock-down must be weighed against the inevitable collapse in economic activity that will result. Given that for the majority of South Africans, adapting to a world where the only economic activities will be online jobs, is neither practical nor possible over the short term, nor is it readily apparent what unskilled labour is expected to do during the crisis?

Getting out of lock-down is essential to combat the impact of the virus upon the economy, on people’s lives and livelihoods, and to avoid the continued abuse of state power by the SANDF. Where those on the left including the ANC have supported the extension of the lockdown, it is only the opposition DA which has registered its dismay.

Many of the measures already in place have little scientific or health merit. Preventing people from playing in their yards, from jogging outdoors, or engaging in other activities such as drinking alcohol, that presumably might risk the spread of the virus, is not ideal. A zero tolerance approach to infection has consequences, chief of which is that unless the state can pay its citizens a basic income ,the possibility exists of mass starvation.

There is limited capacity within our country to simply go on dishing out food parcels, to place SMMEs on life support, to postpone bond and debt payments. This while rounding up the homeless, placing such persons in ‘temporary shelters’ that resemble concentration camps. The sheer density of many informal settlements has made such steps seem ludicrous.

One approach to the problem outlined by an Australian virologist, Professor Peter Collignon, is to gradually expose parts of the population to the virus. This controversial approach to developing immunity within the broader population has some merit and should not simply be discarded. In Sweden for example, where there has been no lock-down, admittedly within an excellent health care system, the mortality figures have not been all that different from those countries which have implemented lock-down practices.

In some respects the UK which early on adopted some of the measures in Sweden, before choosing a general lock-down, is an example of the counter-intuitive logic at play. The country at first sheltered the elderly and most vulnerable. Those dying today, would have died tomorrow, argue proponents, dead in future waves of the epidemic. Without a vaccine, the only option for so-called ‘herd immunity‘ is to control the rate of infection, to flatten the curve and stall the onset of the epidemic.

Faced with the prospect that a working vaccine may only be ready in September, in six months time, South Africa has an unenviable task, that of weighing up all the options, examining the case for and against an extension of the current five week lock-down.

published in part by Natal Mercury Letters

 

 

Mr President, we’re not officially at “War”

THE DEPLOYMENT of SANDF military personnel in support of SAPS enforcement of an unprecedented ‘lockdown’ in terms of the Disaster Management Act and National Health Act has resulted in at least three deaths, and countless examples of brutality and ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ reminiscent of the apartheid era.

The new regulations gazetted in terms of the legislation, and which appear to reference the colonial 1919 Public Health Act, may also turn out to be unlawful, as too the many contraventions of South Africa’s Bill of Rights.

The Disaster Management Act was drafted primarily to deal with natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts and floods, and does not grant the President the kind of powers contemplated by the latest round of executive policy-making decisions.

Similarly, the National Health Act is focused on providing health care for all, and does not contain any reference to the Public Health Act written during a period in which black South Africans were deprived of property rights and other rights such as habeous corpus.

The past days stream of online visuals of combined law enforcement officials invading citizen’s homes without search warrants, shambokking residents on private property, pointing shotguns at civilians queuing for food, affecting arbitrary arrests of civilians, and in some instances, forcing South Africans as well as migrants, to do humiliating squats, brutally knocking others to the ground, rolling them on the streets and pavements, are all brutish acts calculated to force compliance with the latest rounds of regulations. As such, they deserve greater scrutiny from both our government and opposition parties.

To date, the official opposition DA has merely written a letter calling for military investigation into the incidents whilst parliament is in recess. Minister of defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has meekly cautioned members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) against their heavy-handedness during the lockdown.

With all the talk of war South Africans could be forgiven for thinking that the nation had officially declared war against the virus. Unfortunately we are in uncharted terrain so far as this is concerned, and Parliament has yet to pass a War Powers Act which would be required to allow President Ramaphosa to act as a war-time president.

At the start, the President acknowledged that the 15 March, Declaration of a National Disaster was one step away from the so-called national lockdown and a long way away from a State of Emergency. The shelter-in-place directive is unprecedented in modern times, but clearly necessary from a public health perspective. Law enforcement officials however seem to be a little overzealous in jumping the gun when it comes to the State of Emergency and special War Powers that would be needed to drive a command economy under military supervision.

Goods deemed non-essential, and therefore currently restricted from sale, quixotically include vegetable seed, general hardware, and cleaning equipment such as brooms.

Though generally muted by the past weeks events, our courts are still operating and functioning under special rules, and to my knowledge, the rule of law has not yet been suspended. It is unclear how citizens are expected to access legal aid during a lockdown.

Nevertheless Magistrates were quick to roll out summary fines of up to R5000 for contraventions of the new regulations, the magnitude of which will take some time to circulate within our communities. Legal professionals were generally silent or bunkered down, but eager to offer advice on the drafting of wills. Did we scrap the Audi rule alongside the National Environmental Management Act in the process?

We can only hope that the President supplies us with a timeline to the resumption of normality and that attempts to get ahead of the crisis will not come at the further expense of human rights.

The lockdown may be extended indefinitely, as in many other countries.

https://mg.co.za/article/2020-04-02-tension-over-whos-boss-of-courts/

Socialism under the ANC begat state capture, graft, corruption …

THAT IT would all go so horribly wrong for the African National Congress is best demonstrated by comments made by Moletsi Mbeki on national television. The ANC he says is really a conglomeration of competing, ‘factions acting in their own self-interest’.

What unites the party, aside from its competing sectarian and nationalist aims, is its avowedly ‘socialist character’. Problem is, wherever socialism has been tried in Africa, it has failed. Whether Tanzania under Nyerere, or Ghana under Kwame Nkrumah, South Africa’s experiment with socialism and the so-called ‘mixed economy’ under the ANC has fared no better.

While a successful roll-out of a social wage, has arguably made the ruling party, the envy of the rest of Africa, the word socialism itself, does not appear in the party’s constitution as such.

Socialism so far as the ANC is concerned, and as its policies demonstrate, has more in common with the socialism (or volkskapitalisme) under the former white Nationalist regime, than multifarious examples across the continent. In both instances, economic policies aimed at reducing inequality (in the latter example, the inequality experienced by poor white Afrikaners) ended up unfairly benefiting the party faithful — well-positioned insiders who sought to ‘take control of the commanding heights of the economy’, and who in turn created opportunities for graft, self-enrichment, maladministration, corruption and ‘state capture’.

of the Free Market Foundation argues “corruption is a feature and not a bug of socialism. Every socialist system is guaranteed to have a high level of corruption.

“The reason why a socialist system can never work” says i  “is the trade-off that has to happen at the heart of it – individual liberty in exchange for more power given to the state.” The fatal flaw inherent to party centrism and a dominant government promoting statism, (read ‘economic intervention’ via ‘state-owned-enterprises’) — has been endless bureaucracy, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and a never-ending litany of corrupt officialdom.

The latest revelations from the Zondo commission paint an appalling picture of a socialist-leaning administration in which political bribes of well-known politicians, cabinet members and officials have become the order of the day, and not merely during the tenure of Jacob Zuma but also under current and prior administrations and thus grand larceny by, and on behalf of, socialists — ideologically-driven corruption which continues to manifest under the Ramaphosa government.

The Bosassa debacle comes after the revelations of the VBS bank saga, and the 2018 indictment of former president Zuma on corruption charges. For analysis of the impact on the economy, one need look no further than the corruption scandals plaguing South Africa’s SOEs in effect all ‘State-owned bureaucracies’.

Eskom on its own has created a massive and embarrassing debt bubble, which risks upsetting the entire economy, and whose economic fallout is still being bankrolled by consumers locked into demands for annual 15% pa rates increases. Latest figures, show a massive impending R100bn bailout by treasury.

The central party, unable to deliver coherent economic policy, hamstrung by unions hooked on fossil fuels, oil and gas cartels, and equally inept socialist partners, and compounded by the perceived need to reign in a boisterous far-left opposition grouping, has resorted to ‘lekgotla‘ after lekgotla‘, each one promising action.

A party plenary held over the weekend, promised to finally to breakup the state power supply entity into competing parts, all begging the question as to why a lot more was not accomplished in the past 25 year of ANC rule to boost efficiency, and at very least avoid the current dire situation?

SEE: Defend South Africa’s Social Wage