Friday, 20 March 2015


Some analysts feel that they can discern a slight shift in attitude amongst the big official cheeses (aka central bank governors). While  some governors appear to rely on techniques not all that different from throwing bones and sifting through chicken entrails there are hints that rates may have to rise “…..but by just a tiny bit and not right now”. Bolstered by such fearless decisiveness, investors have returned to most markets with renewed confidence that no price is too high. Even the rand and the euro have strengthened.
Is there not a single name in Number 1’s address book who is an admirable member of the human race? It seems that every one of his cronies, appointees and advisors is deceitful, corrupt and dishonest. Even more lethal is that many of them are simply out of their depth, unqualified for and incapable of doing the tasks bestowed upon them by the chief.  After checking the size and date of the bonus payout and looking at the view from the lofty corner office window many of them have no idea what else to do.
Something has gone very seriously wrong at Eskom. Something even bigger than the fact that  less than three quarters of the nation’s generating capacity is actually operating. JZ has announced that he personally will take over the investigation that the chairman of the utility wanted to lead. This probably means that the main issue is not primarily a technical one since Zuma most assuredly has zero skills in that area. Perhaps some carefully crafted personal enrichment schemes have gone awry, “friends” have gone rogue, contractors are getting restive and too many paths are leading back to the presidential desk. JZ needs to move in fast and see what can be covered up and who deserves the blame – if not Jan van Riebeeck then maybe Cecil Rhodes. Is there anyone who has the ability and more importantly who could muster the political support needed to tackle the very challenging situation? Firing all the incompetent seat warmers would be the first step.
 In Greece the politicians are giving poor people free electricity and food. This is after all what they promised they would do if elected to power. The fact that their government has even less money to spend than our own lot doesn’t concern the Greek MPs. The attitude in Athens seems to be that the people who need to worry are those who lent them the money. In a way they are quite right. Back here at home red flags are being hoisted all around Megawatt Park warning lenders that the chance of getting any money back from Eskom is getting slimmer by the moment. Fortunately for most entities in dire straits there are always risk takers who judge that there might be adequate rewards and continue to advance more cash. Notably, however, said risk-takers are usually using other people’s money. In Europe the other people are mostly unhappy German taxpayers. In South Africa electricity consumers who actually pay for their power (as opposed to stealing it) are going to be milked. Hefty tariff increases are on the way.
What a simply splendid story. There are people on the government payroll who think that drones posed a security risk for the people inside the parliament buildings during the president’s recent gabfest. Therefore they installed a radio frequency jammer which unfortunately also jiggered cellphone reception. The real drone danger, however, was from JZ who sent many MPs off to sleep and death from boredom was much more likely than any threat from a model helicopter.
The Proteas’ defeat of Sri Lanka in the quarters was very satisfying. It is amusing to see how many of the other teams claim not to have noticed or cared about the result. Liars.  For the Sharks however, the route to the play off is still long and treacherous. Did anyone else notice the Lions win this morning?
James Greener
Solar Eclipse Day 2015