Your leaders are making you poor. They have been doing so since 2009 and will keep going as long as they can while becoming richer themselves.
The #GuptaEmails have confirmed that the scandal-prone Jacob Zuma administration is rotten and the rot stretches in all directions.
Ayanda Dlodlo, the new Communications minister, whom some of us had always regarded as incorruptible, had her trip to Dubai paid for by the Gupta family. When she was appointed, even Julius Malema said the only person he respected in that reshuffle was Dlodlo. Now it emerges she too is implicated. At least she had the decency to confirm the trip and give her side of the story. But these are small mercies in a cesspool of corruption and denial.
Your leaders are making you poor, fast. Indeed, at the rate that the Zuma administration is going, the cupboards will be bare when the man hightails it to Dubai in 2019. Mark my words: Zuma’s administration will have turned South Africa into another Zimbabwe by the time he leaves office. You, dear reader, will be waiting tables in Botswana very soon because your country’s economy will have collapsed.
Don’t believe me? Last week it was announced that the South African economy is in a “technical” recession. “Technical”? Really? As editor and columnist of Business Day Peter Bruce put it, poor people know that “we are in a recession, plain and simple”.
If you don’t agree just look at the unemployment numbers. Stats SA announced that unemployment was now back at the 2003 level of 27.7%. When Zuma and his cronies kicked Thabo Mbeki out of power in 2008 it was at 21%. Zuma, the man who in 2009 promised us half a million jobs within six months, has been steadily destroying jobs since he came to power eight years ago.
We learned that South Africa has slipped into a recession after its gross domestic product declined 0.7% during the first quarter of 2017 after contracting by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2016. The economy is no longer growing. That means that jobs are no longer available, that tax revenue to fund government expenditure is lower and that – crucially – we cannot even increase social security grants to the poor.
South Africa Inc is stuck in the mud.
Why are we here? The answer is right in front of us. No businessman, no investor, domestic or foreign, trusts Zuma’s administration. A young woman in Thabazimbi would set up a cosmetics shop if she knewshe would not be robbed. A global mining company would buy a coal mine if it knew that it would not be squeezed out of business so the mine can be stripped and flipped.
Under Zuma’s administration, neither young woman nor mining investor can be sure of not being robbed.
There is no confidence in South Africa. There is too much political uncertainty. Is Zuma going to stay or will he go? If he stays, is he going to expropriate property without compensation (as he likes to tell traditional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal) or will he stay within the confines of the constitution (as he likes to tell the handful of bankers who still like to waste their time meeting him)?
Zuma’s midnight cabinet reshuffle in March – which removed confidence-inspiring leaders such as Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas from the Finance Ministry – was pivotal to shaping sentiment against South Africa.
Moody’s, the ratings agency that has consistently been the most positive on South Africa, was forced to join the others and downgrade South Africa on Friday – by one notch to BAA3. This is just one notch above sub-investment grade. It wasn’t unexpected. Moody’s had placed South Africa on review for a downgrade in April after Zuma’s reshuffle.
The two other agencies, S&P Global and Fitch, still have us at sub-investment, or “junk”, grade.
For working South Africans, things are going to get tougher in the next few years. Food, petrol and the cost of house and car loans will rise.
The government needs to keep spending but its borrowing will now be more expensive – so it will look at you and me to cover the cost. That means taxes will rise. Ordinary people will get poorer.
Much has been said about the numerous scandals roiling South Africa at the moment. Many more are coming. The country is being looted right before our very eyes.
The real tragedy of what we are seeing here is that the well-off are becoming poor and the poor poorer.
The number of jobless people swells. The marginalised are desperate and will soon be begging on street corners.
“It’s the economy, stupid!” said Bill Clinton once. But nobody here is listening.
Disclaimer; The article was written by a political analyst and does not portray the ideas of Hinnews.com.