Friday, 20 February 2015


The very entertaining but actually deadly serious standoff between those who think someone else should pay and those who have no interest in being the payers roils on in euroland. Forecasting the outcome of this tussle and then in turn the market response is keeping the talking heads burning the midnight oil. One can be fairly sure that almost no one will guess correctly how the whole shebang unwinds. On the basis of the “follow the money” rule – only in this case there isn’t any – the likely outcome is that the Greek in the street is going to be disappointed and markets will continue to behave erratically. Even the rand has strengthened against the euro.
The news that Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa is leading a state delegation to Moscow to repatriate the mortal remains of two struggle stalwarts who died in Russia in the 1970s is rather dispiriting.  Firstly it shows that there really is no proper job for this ministry and its minister to do and like the department of sport needs to be closed down immediately. These are areas when the government needs neither to have any expertise nor to interfere, especially not with full-blown and costly ministries. Secondly it makes one wonder just how many renowned South Africans there are buried elsewhere who are going to be dug up and returned to the southern tip. Is this an appropriate moment to suggest that maybe we should enquire where Jan van Riebeeck is resting and see if he might like to be returned to the shadow of the mountain?
There is something very odd and rather mysterious about this alleged “rogue unit” operating inside the South African Revenue Services. What on earth can they be up to? Surely the only thing a tax collector does is ferret out both people and monies that are hiding from them. Does going “rogue” mean that the fellows in the unit had changed sides? Were they deliberately not looking, or perhaps they have unearthed some juicy prey? Will we ever find out or have they summoned that junior official to make another error and operate the jammer / shredder in order to secure the no-fly zone around the president?
 Now that parliament is underway,  the MPs will at some point be asked to debate and approve something known tortuously as the Protection, Promotion, Development and Management of Indigenous Knowledge Bill. Sadly, whatever it is, indigenous knowledge does not encompass how to run a power utility, create an effective education system, pilot a motor vehicle accurately or bowl a decent leg-break. On reflection the largest body of such knowledge probably occurs mostly in the realm of botany and has long been researched and recorded by the appropriate academic departments and drug research houses world wide. So now are they about to be accosted by platoons of bureaucrats with forms and orders? Cue a serious misallocation of resources when the politicians find out that Petri dishes are not indigenous.
Losing the first game at the start of the Super 15 season is invariably dismissed as “not a serious problem”. However, the lack of points early on has a sneaky way of applying extra pressure at the end when it’s all death or glory time. With both the Sharks and the Lions seeking their first win tomorrow at Kings Park, its going to be a horrid evening for me and I shall watch from the couch with a medical team on hand to open bottles and even switch off the TV if necessary. And then it will be a few snatched hours of kip before resuming the position for the Proteas vs. India match from Melbourne. This will not be a relaxing weekend. Thank goodness I’m not Duzi paddler.
James Greener
Friday 20th February 2015