The South African surprise

A miracle nation.




Picking up litter on Mandela Day I was reflecting on the day the great man was released. I remember it well as it was the day I was flying down to start my degree at UCT. The riot police were in full force at Jan Smuts Airport and as a result I missed my flight. Yet despite all our paranoia, nothing happened.

There have been so many of those moments since we feared the end was nigh (not without just cause); Chris Hani’s assassination; the first elections; the nomination of Tito Mboweni and Trevor Manuel as our financial leaders; the collapse of the rand in 1998. We can even add Eskom to that list. Many of us are pretty surprised our lights still work. Yet somehow we are still standing.

On that day 19 years ago imagine if someone had told us that in the midst of a global meltdown our banks would be ranked amongst the most stable in the world, Moody’s had just upgraded our foreign sovereign debt to A3, we were about to hold the World Cup Soccer, we would have a Zulu leader and that Mandela was voted the most likely person to be World President?

But maybe we are starting to feel more confident about our country. When the rand tumbled last year we didn’t panic; when Cope rose as opposition to the ANC we did not fear civil war; and many South Africans believe now, after the success of the IPL and Confed Cup that we may just pull off one of best World Cup’s ever. Our history shows us that we are more likely than not to be pleasantly surprised.

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Yep, let’s not discuss the actual cost of hosting the SWC and the subsequent maintenance costs, the nationwide strikes, declining food production, a decaying healthcare system, endemic corruption, faltering parastatals etc.

Or SA’s demographic profile, burgeoning social spending and declining educational standards – the rating agencies also didn’t spot the impending collapse in the American financial system.

As for the stability of the domestic banking sector – ever heard of exchange control? How many SA banks collapsed in 2002, when Trevor’s decision not to allow Investec to bail out Saambou, collapsed allmost the entire small banking sector, never to recover again?

When you jump out of an aeroplane without a parachute, things are also going according to plan….initially…. for Pollyanna…..but the surprise may still be coming.

Get out now. Right now, before it’s too late. If you can’t see the storm gathering you’re going to be the one of the first to go down. And please don’t say no-one ever told you…

Does that mean that most of ABSA profit comes from prop trading? That ABSA has an international investment bank culture with an emphasis on opportunity, innovation and greed? That ABSA is stocked full of mathematics and finance PhD’s pushing the envelope with innovative trading and derivative products, that ABSA’s spend a massive amount of it capital on in-house R&D and high-performance systems for risk taking … I think not. That ABSA may have political leverage and influence does not turn it into a GS, jjust look at SAA – then ABSA has to pay homage to Barclays anyway… what a silly article.

Hi Alset

I bet you’ve been predicting this for decades! And where do you suggest we go?

Exactly, Where do we go????? South Africa is my home and even being white, pale male I’ll not go anywhere.

Exactly, Where do we go????? South Africa is my home and even being white, pale and male I’ll not go anywhere.

Alset — you and many others have warned me, but I guess I’m just stupid. Because after living in the US for 6 years, I can’t take it any more, and will be coming home next year.

Can you imagine where we would be without our corrupt and inept Politicians

I agree with this article, their is enough good people in this country to make it work, We are not without our problems, but we have a beautiful country and the resources to do well.

Yes,yes,yes, we have cirrupt politicians and decaying govmunt services and winter is cold, yada,yada,yada,yada. Oh how whe like to whine and see the dark cloud instead of the silver lining.
Corrupt politicians are everywhere. America’s medicare and social security system is 70 Trillion dollars in debt and is going to collapse within 5 to 10 years. People in Britain and Australia must work 2 jobs to stay ahead of the curve. My fellow Saffas, FOCUS ON WHAT YOU DO HAVE, NOT ON WHAT YOU DON’T. HOU OP MOAN!!!!!!

End of comments.

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