CR’s mask fell off: lives are less important than empowerment

Johannes Wessels

There is an increasingly high risk that South Africa will not by 2025 have recovered to its pre-lockdown levels of GDP. In a research report – Vaccines and re-opening: Covid-19 risks to the 2021 recovery – HSBC, one of the largest banks in the world, indicates that South Africa will not recover as quickly as most of the emerging markets.

HSBC places South Africa in a cluster of countries that will not by end 2022 regain their pre-Covid GDP levels. This list also includes France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Mexico and Argentina. According to HSBC’s estimates the rest of the Eurozone will have recovered by end 2022, with Germany reaching that target by the first quarter of 2022.

SA on the bus to Argentina

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Neither Red Riding Hood, nor Tito Mboweni believes CR’s statements

Johannes Wessels

The statements of the government and the ANC are as unrealistic as the famous stories of Baron von Münchausen: both are so far from reality that they belong to the genre of heroic fantasy. However, the differences are also glaring. Von Münchausen’s tales are creative untruths, entertaining its hearers because of the skilful transition from reality to absurdity. The ANC’s untruths are serious policy statements, parading absurdity as real truth.

Whereas Von Münchausen’s tales emanate from a witty brain, the ANC’s tales emerge from an institutionally entrenched delusional disorder.

Baron Cyril von Ramaphosa

The very first paragraphs of the January 8 declaration suggested the following reality:

The January 8th Statement… gives inspiration and encouragement…

“The people of this country have entrusted the ANC with the responsibility to… building a better life for all. Over the course of its history, the ANC has lived up to this responsibility.

“In government, the ANC led the reconstruction of our society from the ashes of apartheid misrule. 

“Prior to the onset of the global financial crisis, our policies contributed to the revival of our economy, the creation of millions of new jobs, the stabilisation of our public finances and the reduction of poverty.

“(T)hese achievements earned the ANC the confidence and trust of the South African people.”


JSE’s head of equities voices his despair

  • The ANC has lived up to the responsibility of a better life for all: not even Red Riding Hood will believe that.
  • The government has stabilised public finances! Not even Tito Mboweni believes that (and if he does, Fitch, S&P and Moodeys don’t).
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The SA Cabinet Stakes for the Worst Minister of the Year Cup

Johannes Wessels

The last-rounds-of-the-year-get-together at the local oog last Monday stimulated discussions on several topics:  Covid 19, lockdown, loss of jobs, closing businesses, no sport to watch, matric exams, the Zondo commission and Ace Magashule.  

It was the normal crowd:  Dooswyn Dekker, Paleface Mokoena, Trevor Emmer the Second, Koos Kwadraat and several other characters that each in themselves would warrant a David Kramer song.  We ended the evening with a toast to our wives whose curfews were not as strict as those introduced by the National Corruption Coordinating Committee of the Republic of the State of Disaster.

Back home, I sneaked in and decided it would be better to settle on the couch which contributed more to peace than the antics of numerous winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. I was still mulling over the last discussion about what we have missed most this year. The weeks without sales of liquor and cigarettes were brushed off with a “we never were without the goodies”. Of the things caused by the Religion of Lockdown, the shortage of key sport events and the abundance of walking around being muzzled by damn masks, were the two things that generated consensus in our group as being the worst.

I was still struggling to decide which of the two things irritate me most, when I dozed off…

The Bookmakers’ Betting Board

Suddenly I find myself at Greyville Race Course where the SA Cabinet Stakes are about to be run.  The trophy – Worst Minister in a Bad Cabinet – is on display in front of the main stand. It’s the final few minutes for placing bets. Looking at the Bookmakers’ Betting Board, the favourites (jockeys in brackets) are at:

  • 2 – 1 Burning Trucks (Fearfokol Mbalula), Disruptive Governance & a Disastrous State of Affairs (Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma) and The-beach-is-banned-and-SAPS-can-close-businesses (Bheki Cele);
  • 5 – 1 State Control & Umpteenth Regulations (Braampie Patel), Cutting Tender Corners (Antie Patricia);
  • 8 – 1 Snailpace Digital Transformation (Stella Foot-in-the-mouth Ndabeni-Abrahams) and Flattening the Curve (Zweli Mkhize).

They are followed at 10 – 1 by We’re-more-productive-when-we-strike (Senzu Mchunu), We can Riot but not Write (Angie Motshekga) and Unemployment is Our Pride (Walter Nxesi).      

The horses that are clearly not favourites are To Hell with the Taxpayers (Pravin Gordhan) at 33 -1, No-Abalone but Polluted Rivers (Dallas Creecy) and Forward to the Fiscal Cliff (Tito Mboweni) at 50 -1 and My Fellow South Africans aren’t all ‘Our People’ (CR) at 80 – 1.

See who are the sponsors

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Is it right to pay tax when clean and safe hands are missing at the till?

Johannes Wessels (@johannesEOSA1)

SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter’s biggest headache is not the gaping R300 billion crater in tax income this financial year or the growing Everest of assessed losses for companies that will impact negatively on CIT for years to come. His biggest problem is how to convince taxpayers to sustain a government that under the pretext of “a better life for all” has served up a toxic mix of corruption, wastage, mismanagement and anti-growth policies.

In addition, the very same government has doggedly pursued a lockdown strategy not underpinned by much logic that could yield any outcome other than a severe economic disaster with long term humanitarian effects. These effects include shortened lifespans, poverty related deaths, and deaths from medical conditions the government deemed non-essential. The toll of this inept strategy will in all likelihood dwarf the real Covid 19 death toll.

Lockdown has mowed down millions of jobs and several hundred thousand businesses. Those that survived have been severely crippled: they have a radically reduced income, have run up losses or have achieved less than half their previous taxable income.

One recalls the words of Saint Augustine, bishop of Hippo Regius in North Africa, whose theology and philosophy influenced ancient as well as modern thought: “Without justice, what are kingdoms but great bands of robbers?

Tax compliance in a lockdown context

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Sin tax to plug the hole in SARS coffer: the government laying the table for a Boston tea party?

Johannes Wessels

The prolonged lock-down has been a roaring success: not in enabling the public health system with “sufficient beds, ventilators and staff” for the inevitable “Covid-peak”, but in empowering organised crime syndicates.

Not only did the ban on the transportation and sale of liquor and cigarettes provide an unprecedented window of opportunity for already existing smuggling networks to strengthen their production and supply chain networks, they were wholeheartedly supported by the government to expand their client base exponentially.

The government by decree stopped the legal trade in liquor and cigarettes, effectively providing a protected oligopoly for the smuggling networks. Since there was no competition, they hiked their prices. That saw:

  • cigarette cartons that would cost around R450 before lock-down selling at anything between R1 500 to R2 000;
  • Gordons Gin selling at four times the pre-lockdown price, and
  • A litre red Robertson box-wine fetching R1 400, easily beating some of the prices achieved by top wines at the Nederburg Auction.

Patel hounded Dischem, but the smugglers, spazas & tenderpreneurs were the price hikers

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Business for Ending Lockdown (B4EL) rejects continued state of disaster

Business for Ending Lockdown (B4EL) notes President Ramaphosa’s announcement of a move to lockdown level 2 commencing 17 August. While the further relaxing of restrictions is an improvement compared to remaining at level 3, B4EL will not thank the government for giving back to the people of South Africa that which belongs to them.

B4EL is a campaign to completely end lockdown. The campaign was founded this week (The Enterprise Observatory of SA is one of the founding members). It is supported by several of the most well-known and largest business organisations, already counting almost 60 000 businesses. For more information, see

The president’s announcement only underscores the fact that the lockdown remains unnecessary, arbitrary, and, by the president’s own admission, fraught with corruption.

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