Consider the plight of the unemployed and the poor as a result of the current wave of strikes. Within the next six months the price of everything they need to survive, such as food, clothing, and so on, will go up by probably 15 percent to 20 percent. They are stuck with their present income, which cannot increase by going on strike like everyone else.
Are workers aware of the fact that in most overseas countries, a worker is only granted an increase as a result of increased productivity or a promotion with more responsibility? This is often coupled with an increase in qualifications, in other words a worker is given an increase for something. If he demands an increase more than that caused by yearly strike action there will be job losses and even higher inflation.
Smart people, those with financial means and those with the ability to organise their personal finances, can ride out this inflation. It is the very workers and the unemployed that are the losers every time.
The vicious circle of the mindless strike action we are experiencing will only destroy our economy and our currency.
Unfortunately, many of these workers are not well educated and do not understand the basics of our country’s economy. There was recently a cartoon in the press showing a miner arriving home and his wife asking him if he had received his increase. He replied: “Yes, but the mine closed down!” Yes, we are heading for massive unemployment.
If I, as an individual, was to do something deliberate to damage the country’s economy, I would be had up for treason, yet time and time again we see union officials, publicly announcing that they will call a strike action, such as closing harbours and railways and bragging that it will damage the economy and force the employers to give in to their demands. This is blackmail and should be a treasonable offence.
N J Passet
Stoppages impoverish strikers, and all suffer
So, we have yet another strike, this time in the motor industry. It seems that 10 percent on the table is not enough. In my career, if I had been offered twice the rate of inflation, I would have said, “Yes please, that’s fine by me.” It seems that trade union membership here is a hostage to the lack of vision and wisdom of their leaders. All we have are a load of overpaid, puffed up union bosses squabbling for power.
Nobody, it seems to me, appears to have the brains to realise that if they strike for just one week they will never make up the extra cash they are asking for over the course of a year.
What the unions are doing, whether it is in mining or manufacturing, is ultimately to make their members poorer. We live in a global economy now and international investors are increasingly likely to decide South Africa is uncompetitive and not a place they want to put their money. They will simply take their money off the table with the consequence that our currency will sink in value, thus making all South Africans pay more and be worse off in the end.
Peter Hill St Lucia, Kwazulu-Natal
Taking from the rich won’t uplift the poor
The article by Professor Sampie Terreblanche (Business Report, August 14) and response by Ron McGregor (Business Report, August 19) refers.
I am amazed at the simplistic views expressed by the professor. There is not a country in the world where taking from a “wealthy” minority has uplifted the “poor” majority. It is simply not possible. It is an approach by people who cannot think clearly. And I must applaud McGregor, who has offered some clear and positive suggestions to improving the lot of the poor. Allow me to add some more.
The ANC has responded right from the outset with a policy of “redistribution” and a replacement of competent white public officials by largely incompetent “cadres”. This has led to many well-publicised breakdowns in essential services to the public.
The transfer of skills should have been allowed to happen more slowly. This would have been beneficial for the country as a whole. Instead of “re-distributing” a smallish cake to the large poor section of the country, the ANC should have grown the cake, and many more people would have benefited.
Many restrictive and complex laws creating a burden for business should be done away with, or at least should be simplified. A positive climate needs to be created that will encourage people to expand their businesses and to start new ones. In short, the country needs an enabling environment rather than a complicated, negative one.
Rather than thinking about increased taxes for “the rich”, these same people should have a tax credit for every job they create. Encouragement is the name of the game. The extremely complex tax system, straight from the Middle Ages, is costing the country some R200 billion-plus to administer. It should be phased out and replaced by an automatic system that could be administered by the banks at no cost to the state. There would be an avalanche of foreign investment creating thousands of jobs in the country.
Unfortunately, the focus is not on what’s good for the country but what’s good for the pocket of the ruling elite. And to hell with the poor. “We’ll give them a food parcel or two before the next elections and they will vote for us.” Don’t bank on it.
Richard Gruning Edenvale
Majority’s failure fuels affirmative action
The quote of the week in the London Times some time ago stated an interesting point on affirmative action: “South Africa is the only country in the world where affirmative action is in favour of the majority who has complete political control. The fact that the political majority requires affirmative action to protect them against a 9 percent minority group is testament to a complete failure on their part to build their own wealth-making structures, such that their only solution is to take it from others.”
Then it gives a definition of “ineptocracy” as “a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers”.
A school teacher made a demonstration of equality to his class where pupils had A, B, C, D, E marks for their exams. He gave them an exam and the results showed that their marks varied from A to E, depending of the level of intelligence or the hard-working ability of the various students.
Then he gave them a second exam and marked all the papers with a C. Those who would normally get A and B got a C and those who usually get D and E also got a C.
The next exam showed an even more remarkable result. The first group decided that it was not worth wasting their time since their effort will be rewarded by a C in any case, while the second lot did not study at all as the C result was guaranteed. In any class room, whatever the system of education, there will be some on top and others at the bottom.
Those at the bottom are not entitled to good marks because of their lack of brain or lack of drive, will or intelligence or for alleged discrimination. The mere fact that they are at the bottom means that they are incapable of being any other place. That is what South Africa is all about.
And Professor Sampie Terreblanche wants the few at the top to sacrifice for the bottomless pit which will never be able to compete and which is already sucking the wealth of this country without producing any. Whatever whites will do, will never be enough as the pit is too deep.
On top of it, those whites and their children are subject to racial discrimination and are second-rate citizens in their own country. And they are constantly insulted as well by a phoney elite which stole its money from the people and pretend that it is superior…
Maybe that majority should be blaming God for their inability to create wealth instead of the white man. We tried our best and are rejected, so why should we care?
C M Mathey Eversdal, Bellville
SA is not fit to feature in emerging markets
I read the Financial Times from cover to cover, or should I say from screen to screen, and am always particularly interested in items about the emerging markets.
In the week to August 23 there was plenty of coverage: the Turkish lira and the Indian rupee hit, costs of borrowing rising, Indonesia bringing forward structural changes to the economy with tax incentives, Brazil doing a massive currency intervention, and a big story on the party ending for the Bric countries (defined as Brazil, Russia, India and China) and how they must wind down the role of the state.
South Africa is not mentioned. It’s apparent belonging to the Brics is ignored; the rand’s pummelling not even listed with the other emerging currencies.
Why is it that South Africa is not even considered serious enough to comment on, except in the context of Marikana-type goings-on and the odd corruption story when it is big enough?
Is it because nothing better is expected from our inept communist economic affairs ministers, and that their non-action is not news, in that it is expected, or is it because the policies that come out of South Africa (heavy greenhouse gas tax, regressive labour law, and racist anti-fit-for-purpose legislation) is so counterproductive that they are embarrassing? But Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies is probably as pleased that South Africa does not exist in the outside world as he is that the rand is collapsing.
Sydney Kaye Cape Town