GRAVY: Edition: February / April 2018


Reaching fatigue with the endless speculation over the ANC elective conference, its curious outcome and what Cyril will do now etc etc, I take comfort from being reminded of a conversation with an old Italian friend.

“How does Italy manage when it has changes in government every few months“ he was asked. “Isn’t it serious?”

“Yes,” he admitted. “It is serious but it isn’t important.“

So too in SA should the private sector just get on with it.

Investigative journalists have had a field day, actually months, with the Gupta leaks. However, their investigations haven’t extended to how the leaks were received. If the journalists knew themselves, they doubtless wouldn’t disclose it. But my guess is that they themselves don’t know.

My next guess is that it has something to do with the partnership, now dissolved, between SA armaments manufacturer Denel and Gupta-linked VR Laser Asia. As soon as the joint venture attempted a sale of arms technology to Iran, it would have been picked up by western intelligence agencies directly or indirectly from bugs that original suppliers of components commonly place.

Then an agency needs only to crash certain hard drives, which apparently is no problem for sophisticated operators, and access the contents when the computers are sent for repair. It becomes a matter of choice to decide where the contents should best be dumped.

My final guess is that attempts to trace the source would be pointless.

On the wall of a Franschhoek restaurant there’s a blow-up photo of actress Sophia Loren which proclaims that her shapely figure is due to pasta, not Banting.

A tribal wisdom of Dakota Indians is: “When you discover that your horse has died, dismount.”

In more advanced economies, closer to home, alternative strategies are often employed: Use a stronger whip. Change riders. Appoint a committee to study the horse. Send delegations abroad to find out how other societies ride dead horses. Reclassify the dead horse as living-impaired and provide additional funding to improve its performance. Rewrite the expected performance criteria.

Once all else has failed, promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.

Will the imminent conversion of the Financial Services Board to the Financial Sector Conduct Authority make much difference? A noted Indian jurist once compared the financial regulator of his own country to a dog on a leash, with the freedom to move as far as the leash permits. He proceeded to ask:

What if the dog is so lazy that it never uses the entire length of the leash to its advantage? What if the dog prefers torpor and the mice run away with pieces of cheese – the same cheese which the dog is supposed to protect – right under its nose? What if the dog can be tempted with a bone to the extent that it forgets, at least for the time being, of its primary duty?

What if the dog chases the mice with a lot of energy, making all sorts of noises, clenching its teeth as if it were going to tear apart the mice, but with no intention of ever touching them?

No use giving a long leash to such a dog because it will never show the alacrity and vigilance expected of it.

In New Zealand there’s a statue of St Dominic giving a loaf of bread to a young boy.

It’s now been covered over.

My girlfriend has left me. She says I’m only interested in football.

I’m gutted. We’d been together for only three seasons.