Friday, 1 April 2016


With some double digit price increases among many of the shares in the financial sectors the All Share index produced a very useful 6% in March. In fact, there was widespread recovery throughout the market and the bears who insisted that “the end is nigh” have retreated to the very back of the cave to contemplate what they missed. Clearly the consensus opinion is that current developments are good for company profitability – particularly in the financial sector. Hard to explain when you note the effects of the drought and economic slowdown everywhere.
With a dateline of the 1st of April it is wise not to trust any of the reaction to yesterday’s Constitutional Court judgement that Number 1 had failed to uphold and protect the Constitution. The most likely development is that pretty much nothing will happen. Zuma may not even have the money that he is now required to repay the state and the furore and excitement will subside to a low background rumble until next time. Which will probably be when the self-important ratings agencies declare that our government might fail to repay its debts on time. All the same it was a week that went downhill for JZ after starting with being awarded a gong by Saudi Arabia. What happens to all these plaudits, awards and honorary degrees the oligarchs and despots bestow upon each other? Has the butler at Nkandla made space on the shelf in the trophy room?
The guys who build our (excellent) national roads are out waving the big stick again. Their plan to use scores of electronic toll gantries around the Joburg area misfired somewhat because motorists who used the roads but failed to pay when the bill arrived, now owe about R6bn. SANRAL want this money now. This amount is not even a tenth of the funds the state will collect this year from the fuel levies paid by those same motorists, so it is obvious (to the naïve) that any state bailout of SANRAL is actually the natural way to pay for our roads.
The only news that emerged from more grumbling about the nuclear power stations we are supposed to be ordering is that the collective noun for these things is “fleet”. Curious. Is this a reference to the need for analysts and observers to be fleet of foot when tracking down the obscure money flows that allegedly will spill over from this mega project? The aura of corruption shines even more brightly from this one than the reactors themselves might do.
Julius Malema’s achievement in earning a BA degree in Human & Social Sciences is very praiseworthy especially for someone who had little schooling. He must have pulled a great number of “all-nighters” to get through the academic syllabus on top of all his other duties such as leading a highly active political party, getting up everyone’s nose, (especially the president’s), and fighting with the tax man. However, it is rather ironic and surprising to see someone who is a vocal critic of everything European, draped in the academic regalia of gown, hood and mortar board (complete with tassel). Lack of consistency is one of  his great weapons.
There was just a slight consolation for the Proteas making an early departure from the World T20 tournament. The Aussies were also on the plane home! Shortly followed by the Kiwis. Bafana have fallen at their most recent hurdles and at least one of the far too many SA teams in the Super Rugby tournament is probably insolvent and losing all its matches.  There’s an almost welcome sense of indifference about the whole thing now for SA supporters. This would be an excellent opportunity to test the thesis that government interference in sport is toxic and malign. Close the Ministry of Sport (saving a few billion in the process) and forbid politicians from doing anything in sport except buying their own kit and tickets and let’s see what happens.
James Greener

Friday 1st April 2016