Did SA Lockdown too Early?

Sweden uses science and evidence to implement a different strategy, a lone voice in fighting COVID-19. However, Austria, Denmark and Norway and amongst others are also now lifting the lockdown… No not us… we let others think for us. Look at the protest in Michigan, US, the people are not having it – “We will not comply!” – they realise their civil liberties are at sake – wake up South Africa!

We all watched, read and some tasted the beatings of those enforcing the public to “STAY AT HOME”.  A truly unprecedented time facing us all – warning us that those who disobey the lockdown “place everyone at risk” with objective to “flattened the curve”.  We the people like herd-minded individuals must obey the authorities. 

To those well-off this was a good time to recharge and reflect, however to those living “hand-to-mouth” this could not have come in a worse time ever, for not to work means not to eat and question how they will survive.

Now much of the world has been in “lockdown” unable to go outside apart for the purchase of essential items. What is considered “essential” are defined by the subjective priorities of the government’s interests. Stock Exchange, Banks and major corporations are willing to go as the “sacrificial lambs” to keep the country above water – but your livelihoods are not as “essential”.

In addition, religious institutions, despite adhering to the policies, are not considered essential despite the much benevolent givings to society, physically and spiritually. The sad reality is that the institutions had not challenged the directives of their authorities depicting as a vital service to society. Currently with much of the population locked indoors, with limited capabilities of engaging with family, neighbours and friends – we will soon reap the aftermath of psychotic behaviours created by these actions taken. 

There are plenty of studies to show of how isolation affects people and the mental disorders it creates. Have our authorities considered the response to the aftermath? As some governments have already begun to get itchy feet and now prepping its people to do a U-turn by sending them back to live as normal… for calls to stay at home echo no long-term strategy.  

what did we stay at home for? To see the economy plummet, or to see our jobs lost?  The virus has not run its course yet – so why let us go out now or “phase” us back as they say? Why, is it because this may not have been a wise strategy? It’s also a shame that religious institutions will be secondary priorities for industries will take a precedent to return to become to “normal” – this is good! I really hope this becomes a wakeup call for churches as I watched them bury their heads in the sand.

So, to be clear, it is eminent that the governments cannot carry on with a lockdown or face the consequences of becoming bankrupt and so could its citizens. This was a stupid idea and they swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker – now what?  Wasted effort of a suicidal attempt.  

Sweden uses science and evidence to implement a different strategy, a lone voice in fighting COVID-19. However, Austria, Denmark, Norway and amongst others are also now lifting the lockdown… No not us!… We let others think for us.  Look at the protests in Michigan, US, the people are not having it – “We will not comply!” – they realised their civil liberties are at stake – wake up South Africa!

The Poor Households have not shared in the benefits of Economic Growth in SA

The connection between state economic policy and the perpetuation of poverty and inequality is no accident, but a direct and foreseeable consequence of particular policy choices that have privileged the more ‘advanced’ components of the economy at the expense of the mass of the poor.

The poverty gap has grown faster than the economy indicating that poor households have not shared in the benefits of economic growth. In 1996 the total poverty gap [the required annual income transfer to bring all households out of poverty] was equivalent to 6.7% of gross domestic product (GDP); by 2001 it had risen to 8.3%.

This rise in inequality is captured in South Africa’s Gini coefficient for income, which rose from 0.69 in 1996 to 0.77 in 2001, with the greatest degree of inequality being found within the black (African) population group: ‘the overall driver of income inequality in post-Apartheid South Africa continues to be the rising inequality amongst African households’ (HSRC 2004).

Poverty is closely correlated with race and gender and is concentrated in rural areas. Limpopo and the Eastern Cape provinces have the highest proportion of poor people, with 77% and 72% of their populations living below the poverty income line, respectively, in 2001. The Western Cape has the lowest proportion in poverty, at 32% of the population, followed by Gauteng, at 42% (HSRC 2004). Bhorat and Kanbur (2006: 4) point out, however, that while there are higher rates of poverty in rural than in urban areas, the proportion of the total poor who reside in rural areas is declining, from 62% in 1996 to 56% in 2001: “This suggests a rapid process of urban migration that could in the future reshape the spatial nature of poverty in South Africa’.

Female-headed households also tend to be disproportionately poor, which Woolard and Leibbrandt (1999) attribute to a combination of factors: ‘female-headed households are more likely to be in the rural areas where poverty is concentrated, female-headed households tend to have fewer adults of working age, female unemployment rates are higher and the wage gap between male and female earnings persists’. Aliber (2001: 29) reports that, in 1999, 42% of all African households (i.e. 2.7 million) were female-headed, and that roughly 28% of these households were ‘chronically poor’.

While South Africa is often praised for its economic turnaround in the years since apartheid, and positive macroeconomic performance – as indicated by growth in GDP5, modest inflation, a falling proportion of GDP in taxation, falling budget deficit etc. – poverty, inequality and unemployment remain stubbornly impervious to policy prescriptions.

The connection between state economic policy and the perpetuation of poverty and inequality is no accident, but a direct and foreseeable consequence of particular policy choices that have privileged the more ‘advanced’ components of the economy at the expense of the mass of the poor. Terreblanche (2003: 422) describes this duality as ‘enclave capitalism’, a relatively new politico economic order that differs from the colonial and apartheid era in that it is no longer based on systematic exploitation of the black population, but rather on ‘systematic exclusion and systematic neglect’.

 

 
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 source:
 Terreblanche, S. 2003. A History of Inequality in South Africa 1652-2002. Scottsville: University of Natal Press.2)HSRC (Human Sciences Research Council), 2003. Land redistribution for agricultural Development: Case studies in three provinces. Unpublished report. Integrated Rural and Regional Development division, HSRC, Pretoria. October 2003.3)Aliber, M. and Mokoena, R. 2003. ‘The Land Question in contemporary South Africa’ in John Daniel, Adam Habib and Roger Southall (eds) State of the Nation. South Africa 2003 – 2004. Cape Town: HSRC Press.4)Woolard, I. and Leibbrandt, M. 1999. Measuring Poverty in South Africa. Development Policy Research Unit University of Cape Town. DPRU Working Papers No 99/33.5)http://r4d.dfid.gov.uk/PDF/Outputs/ESRC_DFID/60332_Lahiff_Redistributive.pdf

“South Africans should brace themselves for tougher economic times”

An economist warns that South Africans should brace themselves for tougher economic times as the government waivers on the implementation of its National Development Plan (NDP).

An economist warns that South Africans should brace themselves for tougher economic times as the government waivers on the implementation of its National Development Plan. Cees Bruggemans of Bruggemans & Associates, Consulting Economists said in a note on Tuesday, that to suggest 0.9% growth ‘appears unrealistic, though perhaps still politically useful as we approach local elections’.”Recession is such an ugly word, yet it rules the roost practically everywhere now,” the economist said. The economist said that confidence is needed to support risk-taking, fixed investment and job creation in the country.

“Under these challenging circumstances to steadily raise interest rates and impose R18 billion of tax increases while constraining government spending – cutting the budget deficit from 4% last year to 3.2% of GDP this year – is to hammer yet more nails into the collective coffin.” So what could hold us up? Bruggemans said that confidence would fire private businesses to do more.

He called for sustainable breakout policies, as intended by the National Development Plan, but so far cynically abandoned ‘while hailed with wild abandon’. “If it is still to be a while, expect further sinking a la Brazil,” the economist said.

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source:http://businesstech.co.za/news/business/117638/on-south-africas-economy-worse-is-coming-says-economist/accessed 23/03/2016

Don’t Trust your Bank!

What if all the money in your current account was frozen and the maximum withdrawal was limited to €60?

There was a time when your local bank manager was a respected member of the community and was trusted by everyone.  Has this reputation now been tarnished beyond repair and can you trust your bank manager (if you actually have one or actually know who they are) or even your bank anymore?

For years the banks have been charging people for going over the overdraft limits, even when in many situations it was these very charges that was making people go over their overdraft limits.  Then came the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), which was mis-sold to millions of people and has meant the banks putting billions of pounds to one side to cover the refunds due to people.

Now the banks have been found to have been mis-selling loan insurance to businesses and have put even more money to one side to compensate the businesses that have been affected.  So what could be possibly be next?  What did come was even more amazing than anyone could have ever predicted, one of the major banks has been found to have been fixing interest rates on the amounts they borrow and lend to make their own profits higher.  It is highly expected that this bank was not alone in this action and it will probably be found that many, if not all, of the other banks were involved in fixing interest rates and making even more profit when they should not have been.

Take for example the plight of Greece. Share prices slumped across Europe on Monday as Greece shuttered its banks for a week following a fateful weekend that has shaken Europe’s single currency.

The Greek government decided on Sunday night it had no option but to close the nation’s banks the following day after the European Central Bank (ECB) raised the stakes by freezing the liquidity lifeline that has kept them afloat during a six-month run on deposits. The banks were closed for several days and frantic customers were left to withdraw the maximum daily balances from ATM machines in an attempt to salvage what they could.

Think it can’t happen here?  I wonder if the people of Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Hungary, Argentina, Spain, and Portugal thought that too.