Friday, 24 June 2016


That’s a sharp lesson in democracy. If just 634 751 people (a mere 1.4% of the voters roll) had voted Remain instead of Leave that would have changed the outcome of the British referendum. Whew. Proof that everyone’s vote counts even when you believe the result is a given. Hopefully the folk in SA are going to get that message and in August will do something to shake up the far too cosy status quo here. So now what’s going to happen? Of course no one knows precisely, but some fleet footed traders are having a fine old time taking advantage of the immediate reactions of unwarranted panic and indecision. Massive price swings taking place in currency and share markets and unfortunately some innocents are going to get injured when their “advisors” run them in and out of positions.  The markets will soon settle down into yet another “new normal” status as the private sectors look to confirm and perpetuate their profitable arrangements with counterparties regardless of which region they hail from. The closing down of those relationships which exist only because of political expediency, bureaucratic fiat and other people’s money should be welcomed.
South Africa is about to feel all grown up and responsible. It is introducing its very own Carbon Tax just like the big boys have. Despite the very tenuous evidence connecting the apparent changes in global weather patterns to the small increase in the carbon dioxide fraction in the air, the alleged risks have been a boon to revenue hungry governments. It is unlikely that very much of the money collected by a Carbon Tax will be used to research if there is really any modification to human development that might slow or reverse that growing fraction. But it is certain that public money will be spent funding jaunts for officials to fly first class to distant locations to discuss chemistry and engineering with peers who will be equally clueless. National Treasury has just revealed its draft regulations about how those wicked industries belching carbon dioxide may, through good behaviour towards other forms of this much maligned sixth element, reduce their tax liabilities. So yet more pages for the tax schedules and big fat carbon footprints on the nice clean rugs. Please recall that governments on the southern tip have been taxing carbon since the 1860s though. Diamonds. Just saying.
The Automobile Association believes that as many as 800 000 vehicles on our roads are either unregistered or not roadworthy. Surely not! How can this be when just this year car owners were told to take that giant step in the cause for road safety and prove where they live before renewing their vehicle licence. That’s just as effective in reducing the appalling accident rate as the appointment of a fellow convicted for drunken driving as the head of safety and security in Port Elizabeth.
How difficult and expensive can it be in this age of programmable computer controlled switch gear for the phone network to implement an integrated emergency number program? Twenty years ago we were watching TV programs showing Americans calling 911 for help and thinking that is good. Earlier than that even, Boy Scouts were taught how to find 999 on a rotary dial in the dark. But now comes the story that Wi-Fi rollout has higher priority for state money. Free internet coverage for everyone? That’s one to watch. Mind you after seeing (not on SABC though!) the unimpeded progress of looters in Pretoria demonstrating their rejection of a mayoral candidate maybe there is little point in having a number to call the cops. They aren’t much interested.
Bringing on in-form Lions players used to the Ellis Park oxygen deficit was a game-winning strategy last weekend for the ‘bokke. Coach Coetzee boasted of his experience of taking Cape teams to the Highveld over the years and he was correct. The air in PE however is not thin and the Irish are pretty steamed up. Maybe those of us with cardiac complaints should spend tomorrow afternoon listening to Mozart (proven to be therapeutic apparently) and not watching what will be a very tense affair. The cricket from Barbados tonight may be no less worrying though.

James Greener
Friday 24th June 2016