Friday, 30 June 2017


The JSE All Share index is heading for its greatest monthly loss in two years. All of this weakness, however, happened in the first week of June and since then despite a steady stream of events which in normal circumstances should see sellers outnumber buyers the index has held up. As ever, the story is much more complicated with only a few sectors and indeed shares with special situations being responsible for almost all of the upside. By and large SA business is not in a happy place as shown by General Retail sector being down nearly 10% in 2017 so far.
Recently Argentina manged to borrow USD 2.75 billion on which it will pay lenders 7.125% pa interest. The catch is that the capital will be repaid only in 100 years’ time. Famously Argentina has a long history of forgetting to repay creditors. But who is going to be around in 2117 to ask for their money back?
Today is the first ever Asteroid Day which wants to raise our awareness about protecting Earth from an asteroid impact. Just what we could all do to prevent a chunk of rock crashing into our planet and changing our lifestyles is not explained. Probably not very much. Similarly, we all seem powerless to save our beloved country which has already been hit by an object which is indifferent to its citizen’s fears and needs. Almost every day another jaw-dropping expose of theft and corruption is revealed and neither we, nor the institutions we expect to protect us, do anything.
This week the OUTA lobbying outfit published a lengthy evidence list for crimes perpetrated by the leadership. They too hope that there is something someone can do to get Number One to relinquish the presidency. Frankly, it’s doubtful that JZ will go anywhere until he wants to and more importantly until he has arranged a succession plan that will keep state money flowing in the right direction. Which is towards him, his family and of course his chums. JZ has several times agreed that he will fix any corruption or mismanagement problem if he would be presented with evidence of his wrongdoing. This is a breathtakingly insouciant statement which illustrates his utter contempt and dismissive attitude not only towards the ever-growing investigation industry but also to the few brave officials inside his own administration and judiciary. Even the Constitutional Court appears to be sliding into irrelevancy. The Big Man of the nation is answerable to no one.
Today the ruling party will be holding a Policy Conference. The organisers have instructed that "Delegates must refrain from any behaviour which would bring the ANC or conference into disrepute. This includes singing of derogatory songs against a comrade‚ leader and alliance partners or guests. No one should distribute‚ wear or display any material that is deemed to be divisive". Interestingly there is no prohibition of bad behaviour towards other citizens who don’t support that party. In the meantime, it will be interesting if any delegate raises the question of how the National Health Insurance scheme will be funded. The R256 billion per annum cost projection is based on 3.5% economic growth and doesn’t appear to include anything for the thieving vultures who will quickly collect when sums like that are mentioned. Just don’t get sick anyone. Please.
Durban is not a city for the lazy. There’s always packs of folk running, cycling, swimming or paddling to, from and through it. This weekend it will be horses doing the work; but to judge from reports of the preparations for the “July”, racegoers are going to be sluicing and browsing at championship standards too. Perhaps the very satisfactory series win by the ‘bokke will get fans back to the interminable and baffling Super rugby tournament which begins its second session this weekend. For many though, it has become a boring event devoid of much local interest. The Tour de France and Wimbledon however will keep the TV on for weeks to come with the odd peek over at the cricket tests to see if the Proteas have found the plot they keep on losing.
In the meantime, please keep watching the sky for incoming rocks.
James Greener
Friday 30th June 2017