Friday, 7 August 2015


The prices of most industrial commodities continue to plummet sharply and the companies that make a living from extracting them from the earth are having a very tough time. The problem with trying to call a bottom is that Chinese demand is the key factor and we are learning (although we should probably have guessed) that even if they know the facts themselves, they are not telling anyone else the truth. The JSE All Share index is holding up rather well and that is because mining shares nowadays are making their smallest ever contribution to the overall index.. Smokes and beer are numbers one and two!
Yet again the proceedings at the National Assembly deteriorated into near chaos and demonstrated that this is now a meaningless body in the governance of the country. Ministers and bureaucrats have taken over the business and dictate how things will be done. For example it has emerged that the president was unaware that one of his cabinet had simply withdrawn the operating licence from a mine whose labour policies displeased him.
There is now a well-worn path to the courts from the boardrooms and executive suites of almost every state owned enterprise as a procession of indignant malcontents seek compensation for their alleged unfair dismissal. If it wasn’t for this case load of aggrieved tax eaters the judges would have more time to attend to real crimes. The added insult is that it is the taxpayers who fund the defence of the claims of the almost always over-compensated departing employee. The nation is getting very little value for a great deal of its spending.
Socialists believe that they have the skills to allocate resources. One of their favourite interventions is land ownership. The most recent report from the state body charged with this task, however, is that many beneficiaries are now asking for the money instead of the real estate. Frankly, owning land in some places and circumstances is not always attractive and this decision is understandable but also it signals that it is time to bring this land claim program to an end.
Apparently if you know how and presumably have a suitable internet connection it is possible to watch the TV coverage of sports events for free. Without making too much of a moral judgment on this practice it is worth joining a few dots here. TV rights paid to sporting bodies are a very significant reason why a few athletes and administrators are super rich. But are we now about to see the next industry to be hollowed out by the inexorable power and reach of the internet? Taxi drivers, musicians and bond analysts have all had their lunch stolen by this monster. Why not ball-kickers?
So apparently just about every Olympic medal winner has probably made use of chemical help at some stage in their career. Oddly, the people that seem most worried about this are the commercial sponsors who fret about the damage that could do to their reputations. And of course those competitors who are “clean” also have a gripe. Fans are seemingly not that fussed as long as the contest is exciting and punters presumably are placing bets on who has the better pharmacist! Yesterday’s dismissal of the Australians for 60 runs before lunch on the 1st day of the Test makes one wonder if someone mixed up the potions and handed out the dozy pills to the lads under the “baggy greens”. Fans of the ‘bokke have long known that the coach of the day is smoking his socks and making crazy selections and substitutions. We had better wallop the Argies at Kings Park tomorrow or else save a ton of money and cancel the tickets for the World Cup.
James Greener
7th August 2015 (happy 40th birthday Charlize Theron)