ABC Newsletter February Edition – Director’s Thoughts

Dear Readers,

The year 2021 has started with a bang, unfolding events threatening the ability to disseminate the “chaff from the corn”. This Newsletter is an attempt to find a balanced perspective on what could be in store for us in the coming year ahead.


A Different Kind of Populism on the Rise?

Donald Trump has finally entered the annals of history.

His rather controversial and even confrontational style of governance has ruffled many feathers, even among his own supporters, including most of his fellow heads of state.

Despite Trump’s undeniable successes on some policy issues, the Middle East peace accord in particular, history may not be looking at his term of office in a favourable light.

However, it will be up to historians to pen the final chapter.

While Trump still argues that the US election was rigged, the courts and pretty much everyone else consider it over and done, Trump has still to produce any evidence supporting his claim.

The populist slogans “America First” and “Make America Great Again”, were the unifying force for about half of the US voting population. Since the Republicans are no longer in Government, this kind of populism will now be replaced by another kind of populism, under the guise of Liberal Socialism. 17 executive orders signed by the Democrat President on his first day in office, and immediate implementation of new gender conformist political correctness rules, in both houses, seem to be the advent of an (un-American?) centralistic era.

One should also highlight the similarities of these emerging US policies, to those evidenced in many European Countries, as well as in Africa, where the politically correct narrative is dominated by Social Media censorship, BLM, (Black lives matter), Antifa, FFF, (Friday for Future), Identity Politics, Mass Migration, Cancel Culture-(my ignorance is as good as your knowledge) etc., directing compliant states being in lock step with the so called New World Order! (Time Magazine)

Hold on to your hats, it will be an interesting ride.


Overreach, Necessity or Hidden Agenda?

The SA economy was already in dire straits before the lock downs began, the causes of which can be mainly attributed to nepotism, incompetence and corruption in the ANC Government.

What do DENEL, SAA, PRASA, ESKOM, SABC, the POST OFFICE and the LAND BANK have in common?

They were all highly successful, well managed, profitable, and/or self-sustaining SOE’s – State Owned Enterprises.

Today, these SOE’s generate gigantic annual losses and burden the tax payer and future generations with indeterminate and possibly unrepayable liabilities. Covid has exacerbated the situation on account of inadequate or delayed due diligence and oversight.

Recently the Land Bank posted a R172 million interim loss for the 6 months ending September 2020.

Power outages are again the order of the day and forecasts are far from encouraging for the economic outlook.

An op-ed in Rapport describes the new normal. The beaches are closed, retail businesses are slowly being choked beyond revival, unemployment and corruption are at new record highs, and Government is running out of funds to provide badly needed Covid-19 assistance.

The new “miracle” vaccination drug is officially not yet available, or in short supply, no provisions were made in the budget for the vaccine, while the refusal to investigate cheaper, alternative prophylactic options raises eyebrows. Could it be because no lucrative tender has yet been arranged for the Comrades?

20 Billion Rand have been misappropriated from the Covid Aid Program, which funds could have been allocated for the purchase of the vaccine. Regrettably no attempt is being made to recover the stolen funds and bring the perpetrators to book.

More than 30 000 people have been arrested for breaking the lock down rules, but to date not one person has been convicted or imprisoned for state capture, a crime bordering on treason. Two VBS Bank key officials were ordered to pay back some of the money. These ridiculously small amounts of R11 and R12 million respectively, compared to the total amounts stolen, amounting to billions, have been tracked in the direction of leading figures in the EFF. Does anyone believe in righteous retribution? Perhaps not, but hope always dies last!

The SA population has been extremely patient and co-operative during this almost one year long crisis. What they got in return was a Government which became increasingly more aimless and autocratic, without actually sharing with the devastated population their limited options with which the endured hardships could be justified, eased and eventually terminated.


Calamity or Recovery?

SA is inescapably part of a global agenda, with a dependency on corporate/institutional goodwill and political developments in the US, China and Europe. These developments are currently overshadowed by the Covid pandemic which makes long term planning very difficult, if not impossible.

However, In spite of the huge obstacles facing SA in 2021 and beyond, there are always pockets of excellence to be found. Notwithstanding misguided Government policies directed at mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and property ownership, as well as race based empowerment laws, there are still remnants of a resilient and innovative business community, many of whom have ring-fenced their resources to ensure continued survival. Even certain SOE’s have started to see the light, gradually replacing entrenched nepotism with sorely needed competent pragmatism.

SA is a country with enormous potential and resources. All is needed to unlock its vast material wealth is by unlocking the talents vested in its people. These talents have not as yet been incentivized to reach their full potential, because of the current polarizing ideologies which dominate the political discourse. Maybe now is the time to seize the opportunity for urgently needed change, precipitated through this crisis?

It is high time to acknowledge that once the collective has been endowed with a common and unifying objective, only the sky is the limit. All it takes is the political will to let private enterprise do what it does best, namely innovate and generate growth. Excellence is always rewarded, especially under challenging circumstances.

“When I despair, I remember that all through history truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it – ALWAYS!”   Mahatma Gandhi.

With these uplifting words it is hoped that we can all maintain our health and attain peace, stability, patience, and wisdom in the coming year.

Best wishes

Gerhart Mischinger

Director ABC

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