TONY LEON: Facing economic disaster, we’re still in the dark about Cyril’s ‘reform’
Only a tough reckoning, and an honest vision of the limits on current expenditure, can edge SA away from this cliff face — but how likely is this before an election?
Are some countries simply unreformable? This bleak, pre-festive season thought occurs just as Eskom, in the guise of the movie villain The Grinch who Stole Christmas, plunges the country once again into December darkness. Before interrogating some of the known facts hobbling Megawatt Park, it is quite unknown if Cyril Ramaphosa is a serious reformer, ready to sweep away the massive constraints, vested interests and sclerotic practices which have plunged us again into darkness and which could see the entire economy fall over the proverbial cliff.
Veteran Johannesburg stockbroker (and jogger) David Shapiro does not think he is. Over the weekend he noted, acidly: “It’s bad enough the JSE has fallen off a cliff, but having to spend the weekend in darkness only adds to my stress levels. Don’t worry, business leaders, the press and the Clifton Beach crew tell me, Cyril (and the New Dawn ANC) will rescue us. I have more chance of running to the moon.” Last Sunday evening I witnessed certain business leaders and the media (and perhaps some members of the “Clifton Beach crew”, whoever they might be) pay homage to Ramaphosa and some key lieutenants. The event, organised by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, was more a love-fest than an evening of critical engagement. I suppose if the balls you are bowled are delivered underarm then it is easy to bat them beyond the boundary line. This Ramaphosa did with charm and ease, in response to questions posed to him by Investec supremo Stephen Kosseff. Anyway, it was a case of messenger trumping...