Finweek English Edition - - Openers -

SOME­THING ELSE that wea­ries is the in­abil­ity of the black in­tel­lec­tual class to get its facts about race and the econ­omy cor­rect.

Latest in a long line of th­ese pur­vey­ors of inac­cu­racy is Pro­fes­sor Sipho Seepe of the Hen­ley Man­age­ment Col­lege. Seepe, usu­ally a fair and bal­anced com­men­ta­tor, writ­ing in Busi­ness Day, re­peats the old ca­nard that white South Africans own 95% of the econ­omy.

Now Gov­ern­ment spends al­most 30% of our gross na­tional in­come and it rep­re­sents the peo­ple and the peo­ple are 80% black (and more if you in­clude In­di­ans and Coloureds – Chi­nese do not ex­ist in our racial clas­si­fi­ca­tions).

In gross fixed cap­i­tal for­ma­tion more than 30% is un­der­taken by the State, and this ra­tio will move up as Gov­ern­ment em­barks – af­ter years of ne­glect – on a R400bn in­fra­struc­ture spree.

Per­haps Seepe was re­fer­ring to the stock ex­change. If so, he might bear in mind that at least 30% of our shares are held by for­eign in­vestors while in­sti­tu­tions such as in­sur­ance com­pa­nies, pen­sion funds, the Pub­lic In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion and so on dom­i­nate the 70% or less held in South Africa.

All th­ese own­ers act for oth­ers and those oth­ers in­clude a rapidly grow­ing pro­por­tion of blacks. To sug­gest, as Seepe does, that SA whites own 95% of the econ­omy is sim­ply mis­lead­ing and provoca­tive.

Lastly, I’m weary of be­ing ripped off. In a restau­rant re­cently I paid R180 for a bot­tle of wine that I later priced at just over R40 in a lo­cal bot­tle store. One can as­sume that the restau­rant bought its stock at lower than re­tail so the mark-up is quite ob­scene.

Then I had an ac­ci­dent in my car and was pro­vided by my in­sur­ers with a rental car. In con­ver­sa­tion with the rental com­pany’s staff I was told that there would be a R3 000 ex­cess in the case of dam­age to the ve­hi­cle.

I asked what the pre­mium would be to cover this ex­cess. I was told it was R300 for the month I would be us­ing the rental car. This is 10% of the amount be­ing in­sured. Ex­trap­o­lated over a year it would be R3 600 to cover an ex­cess of R3 000. South Africa: rip-off heaven.

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