Zuma and Gigaba are destroying the lives of future generations
President has mismanaged finances so badly SA is at mercy of ‘mashonisas’
When a shallow and fashionable man makes a presentation in parliament, some people believe him, and get carried away by the pseudo-poetry with which he peppers his harangue.
That is what happened on Wednesday when Malusi Gigaba presented his first mid-term budget policy statement. His suit was as colourful as his language was dazzling.
It was all a clever trick to conceal a simple truth: that the Zuma government is broke, and that it will borrow more money at the expense of future generations.
Economists have invented jargon to confuse ordinary people. Phrases like “budget shortfall”, “deficit” and “debtto-GDP ratio” were used by Gigaba to hide the simple fact that the government has run out of money.
When he says that in 2017 there will be a budget shortfall of R50.8-billion, it simply means that the time might come when there will only be Panado in your nearest clinic, and nothing else.
If you are a worker, a budget shortfall simply means less money in your bank account at the end of the month when you are paid.
In such a situation, you must decide what not to pay. Do you skip paying for your bond, your car, or do you buy less food? This is what a budget shortfall means in practical terms. It means that our government is broke.
When Gigaba says he will sell government shares in Telkom to recapitalise SAA, he is essentially saying his government is so broke that the only thing it can do is to sell its assets to survive. It is like selling your spoons or bed to buy food for your family.
We must remember that the Telkom shares are not the first to be sold by the Zuma government. Previously when it was broke, it sold shares in Vodacom.
From now on, the government will have no further shares to sell. It is like selling all your clothes to pay debt until you are necked.
Gigaba also told us that by 2022, government’s debt-toGDP ratio will be more than 60%. This means that Zuma’s government has wasted so much money that the next government and future generations will have to pay for his financial recklessness.
When the ANC took over government in 1994, the apartheid government had sunk SA into unsustainable debt as a way of tying the feet of the new government.
Given his knowledge of economics, Thabo Mbeki came up with a plan – Gear – to dig South Africa out of the apartheid debt hole.
The central message that came from Gigaba’s speech is that Zuma has taken us back into the same apartheid hole. Our country will no longer survive without running, begging bowl in hand, to moneylenders for help.
What all this means is that to pay salaries of teachers, nurses and other public servants, our government will need to borrow money. If you work for government, you will receive a borrowed salary.
The people who lend money to government operate like mashonisas. When they think the government might not repay, they simply raise interest. When a mashonisa suspects you might not pay him back, what does he do? He takes your bank card and ID from you – not so?
That is exactly what Zuma has done to our government. He has mismanaged our country’s finances to the extent that we are now at the mercy of moneylenders.
There are serious implications for millions of South Africans. The students who are studying, and hoping to find employment in government, must forget it. There will be no jobs for them. The government is broke.
The millions of South Africans who are working for the state must also expect no salary increases in the next few years. Where will the money come from?
We must also expect the quality of services delivered by the state to decline. There might be shortages of fuel for ambulances to transport the sick. There might be shortages of textbooks for children in township and rural schools. In fact, we are getting closer to the day when the government might be forced to retrench its workers.
To add insult to injury, Zuma is pushing hard to conclude a nuclear deal with the Russians before December. That would literally collapse the finances of our government, and Zuma would possibly emigrate to Dubai – to enjoy with the Guptas.
South Africans beware: Gigaba and Zuma are busy destroying the future of your children. Don’t be fooled by the colourfulness of their suits.
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba during his medium-term budget policy statement used fancy jargon to conceal a simple truth that the government is broke, says the writer.