I haven’t written anything for a few weeks, mainly because it’s more of the same. Interest rates up, interest rates down, Dollar this, Dollar that, politics left, politics right blah blah blah zzzzz.
However the Christmas season has arrived, and I recently revisited a statistic that brought out the Grinch in me.
And so if you were looking for some Christmas cheer I apologize in advance.
The South African Government (South African public) will soon be paying a billion Rand Interest PER DAY on its debt pile, that is 365 billion rand per year.
A trillion Rand in JUST interest, every three years. The time it takes for your angelic newborn to turn into an annoying petulant toddler, even if your baby was a Christmas miracle.
That’s a nappy bin full of filthiness.
And for that amount of interest, you can work out the quantum of the debt for yourself.
Which left me wondering – where has all the money gone? I mean there should be some evidence of all this borrowing and resultant spending. There should be some observable infrastructure. Surely?
We should, for example, be able to see a few gleaming new power stations dotted along the horizon as we drive along our sparkling new roads.
To be fair…there are two rather large projects that were started in around 2010 that should near completion when Elon Musk and his mates take their first steps on Mars.
The truth is that after 13 years these two stations collectively generate about enough energy to power a small fan, a fan-owned by only the affluent if the Government is to be believed.
An asthmatic blowing through a thin straw would be more effective.
Surely then the money must have gone into some other infrastructure. Given South Africa’s abysmal track record on education, we could imagine that many new schools would have been built, and Universities, and colleges.
Now I’m sure that some schools have been built.
However, given that the average class size in South Africa is bigger than the crowd at Ellis Park during a provincial rugby game, it can’t be that many.
Water infrastructure and new dams then? Now there’s a glass half empty if ever I saw one.
Health care and new Hospitals? It must be? Oh wait, NHI will solve that problem, so there is no real need to invest in new infrastructure. Simply legislate the problem away.
Then it must be Ports and Railways?
Transnet also managed to borrow their way to an interest rate bill of a billion rand a month. We should imagine then that our railways and ports are bustling away, delivering goods and services efficiently.
Sadly not! The delays at our ports are longer than it takes to build a small house, and our trains are delivering fewer goods than you can fit into the trunk of a Toyota Tazz.
Given the size of our migrant problem one would imagine that a lot of energy has been spent securing our borders. Nope! They appear to be more porous than a kitchen grater.
There must be some evidence of all this money spent – there has to be?
It must be an Airline then …. A growing fleet of gleaming new jetliners crisscrossing the globe bringing scores of visitors to our beautiful shores. All of whom are protected by a diligent police force, ensuring that their stay here is an experience that they will remember, thereby ensuring that they will tell all their friends and colleagues to come here as well.
That must be what the hikers on Table Mountain, and the bus load of tourists to Sun City, and the European visitors to the Kruger Park must be telling their friends?
Nope – not there either? Then Where? Where has all the money gone?
Ahhhh wait….some evidence is observable in the blue light brigades that accompany our esteemed political dignitaries. But that’s only a couple of billion Rand. Where is the rest of it?
Is it any wonder then that the President is intent on keeping his Cabinet Ministers score cards a secret.
For the same reason, I also do not want my Matric certificate published on the Net. In truth, was not great reading for my parents. I did however manage to pass, just barely … but I passed.
There is an election next year, so some money is going into that. Elections cost money.
For the plethora of political parties out there, please remember to pay your printer of election promise posters.
But its Christmas, so I have tried to keep it light and cheerful.
As you decorate your trees this year, here’s a tip, don’t use those strings of flashing lights. Just stick a single light bulb at the top of the tree– Eskom will take care of the flashing for you.
And for the branches on the trees, forget the trinkets and shiny decorations. For a laugh, use post it sticky notes where you have written all the promises that politicians have made on the green ones.
On the red ones write a billion rand. If you have a big tree maybe you can get to 365. That’s what future generations have gifted our national fiscus.
It is no surprise then that the Rand is one of the poorest performing currencies this year – the real surprise is why it’s not weaker still?
Follow me for more good cheer and positivity next year.
I do wish all my readers a blessed and festive season – see you in 2024.