GRAVY: Editorials: Edition: July / September 2019

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The quick way for government to turn the national mood is merely a sample of arrests and extraditions for people against whom the evidence of corruption has been revealed. From the public inquiries, there’s already more than sufficient.

It’s unnecessary to await the inquiries’ findings and recommendations. This can take months. Trial courts make the decisions on guilt or innocence.

The urgency is that, for so long as the Zuma faction can regroup (as with the appointments by extra-parliamentary influences of chairs to parliamentary committees), the anti-corruption intents of President Ramaphosa will weaken and the confidence injection required for a debilitated economy will stall.

If the problem is a lack of capacity at the National Prosecuting Authority, then pass the hat around private-sector donors for engagement of competent counsel in private practice to assist the state officials. Such is the horror at what’s going on – or not going on – that it will probably take less than a week to fund a war chest.

It’s time for action, not words, as Ramaphosa has said.

 

There seems a sudden hysteria about an imminent introduction of prescribed-asset requirements for pension funds. Social media have been awash with warnings that savings will be exported to avoid it. Relax.

As TT has frequently pointed out, prescribeds have been up for investigation in ANC-speak for as long as anybody.

They’re no closer now than they were then. It’s a bit of popularist garbage more suited to the EFF.

Years ago, a leading proponent of prescribeds was trade unionist Ebrahim Patel. Now the minister of trade and industry, Patel delivered the keynote address to the recent Batseta winter conference.

Prescribeds didn’t get a mention, directly or implicitly. Neither was there even a remote suggestion that pension funds might be forced to invest in such blighted state-owned enterprises as Eskom, SAA or the SABC.

In fact, so reasoned was Patel’s call for greater attention to alternative-asset classes such as infrastructure, and his focus on good governance, that his address was met with enthusiastic applause from the pension-fund representatives who filled the auditorium.

 

Perhaps ‘expropriation without compensation’ has an upside.

Apparently there are many owners of holiday homes, fearing they’re the most vulnerable, looking to dump their properties. A contrarian will see never-to-be repeated buying opportunities.

A gamble worth taking? And better still with all the KZN stands released by Tongaat that, left unpaid, can be coming up for resale?

 

Now that there’s a new and uncorruptible head of SARS, a little reminder to explore the R50m-plus in fringe benefits that a certain taxpayer ostensibly owes on Nkandla.

 

Great moves at Old Mutual on interest conflicts, first with the investment division’s vote against the group’s investment policy and then with the firing by the board of group chief executive Peter Moyo. Chairman Trevor Manuel would surely have no problem with the former and himself instigated the latter, both exhibiting consistency with principle.

They set fine examples, and high time too. The levels of remuneration, from which Moyo benefited handsomely, enjoyed fillips when Mutual’s relocation to the UK put them on a par with UK levels. It was a distortion that impacted on SA’s whole financial sector, not necessarily to the benefit of clients.

 

The ravings of the EFF are immensely dangerous.

They’re news, sure, but undeserving of the airtime quantities generously provided by media lacking the resources otherwise to fill empty space.

Why else play into their hands?

 

I too used to believe in freedom of expression. But then I started listening to the phone-ins on radio talk shows. ν