Despite the exuberance that accompanied the swearing in of our latest Parliament, our economic outlook remains bleak: the OECD now estimates our growth forecast for this year at 1.2%. Kganyago (the governor of the Reserve Bank) forecasts only 1% growth.
Heck, there is even talk of a global recession led by a US recession.
Interestingly, Schűssler is reportedly cautiously optimistic about our growth prospects, predicting a 3% growth rate by 2001/22.

A news article that drew my attention, was a challenge to the accepted method of calculating our 27.6% unemployment figure. Prof Mügge (University of Amsterdam) and another say that the gold standard for unemployment calculation is now some 100 years old and you count as unemployed if you —
don’t work for money;
are available for work; and
are actively looking for a job.
The difficulty with this template is that it ignores those in South Africa who cannot, by way of example, look for a job because of remoteness from employment; many who are not actively looking for a job are not voluntarily jobless. It is said that our politicians happily accept an unemployment figure which may be lower than reality.

A comment by Heystek that the South African stock markets were underperforming, compared to global markets, sets the scene for an interesting discussion. The problem with Heystek’s comment is that he sells overseas investments and that one might be tempted to consider him prejudiced. Much of the difficulty is that the weakening Rand skews the real return in overseas terms. Judge for yourself from the statistics on page 9 of the attached link: Reference



Stats SA’s figures suggest a 2.3% uptick in construction activity this year. Fitch suggests that construction growth in the sub-Sahara should escalate at 6.8%.

An interesting development reported by Engineering News is that a gravity energy storage patent has been filed by two University of Nottingham academics. Essentially you dig a huge hole, install shafts down which heavy soil-filled drums would roll and, when energy is available, pull these up the slope and release them when energy is required. The estimated cost of Gravity Soil Batteries is about $50 kWh compete to pumped storage hydro power which sits at US $200 kWh whilst battery storage is at $400 kWh. What would one do with our mine shafts… we could even fill up the containers with (illegal?) miners at night and pull them back up in the morning!

Employers must submit their annual reconciliation declarations and IRP5 certificates by the end of this month.

Whilst travelling this week past, I heard a bulletin on the re-use of ground-up tyre rubber in road surfacing. This sounds promising but still does not account for what would happen to the recycled rubber at the end of its lifespan. Van Dyck (our largest carpet manufacturer, I think) has similarly embarked on using such rubber instead of concrete paving, cement floors and decking for patios and the like.

The regulatory oversight body for BBBEE, has reported that most transactions, involving trusts, broad based ownership schemes and employee share ownership programs, had not been granted ownership points. Such schemes earn points for offering bursaries, housing and the like but do not meet the ownership requirements. Reference

I was, this week, again incensed by an offering by Business Entries (Pty) Ltd who offer you a Free Service search engine optimisation service with the fee of some R12k well and truly buried in the fine print. The return address is but is, reportedly a scam. I had fallen for this a year ago and, on refusing to pay, these worthies now threaten me with listing as a bad payer. Know any BIG enforcers? Reference



The code of conduct for estate agents may be found on the following page: Reference



Political grandstanding and reality: Mr Zuma’s so-called legal eagle, has pronounced on the use of English as a general court language. This has been taken up by the Pan African Language Board which is to approach the Constitutional Court regarding the use of African languages in our courts. Irrespective of one’s take on this matter, the reality is that very few judges speak all eleven official languages but are guaranteed to have been taught in English. The mere consideration of such nonsense ignores the immense cost and potential misunderstandings that will probably occur if this suggestion is accepted.

Stokvels in the Eastern Cape, reported the Sunday Times, are increasingly lending money to outsiders at high interest rates. Members are expected to find borrowers and if such a borrower does not repay, the borrower will be put under serious communal pressure.

Can you hold a holding company vicariously liable for the damages caused by its nominee directors on the board of its subsidiary? Dicey and, as yet, theory: ask me for an article on this matter by a South African professor at Stellenbosch.

Is a clause in an ANC valid where the lady accepts present donations in lieu of any future rights to maintenance on the dissolution of the marriage? Is this fair and, if not, possibly against public policy? I hold an article by the redoubtable Sonnekus (he of the hoge Afrikaans) which may interest you. Ask me.



“What is it you most dislike? Stupidity, especially in its nastiest forms of racism and superstition.”
Christopher Hitchens



Have you noticed that “Van” jokes have virtually disappeared? Likewise, you will not find any South African grouping selected for satire (except Boksburg and possibly Indians?). Yet England, a country riven by historical division, is awash with Welsh, Irish and Scottish caricatures? Could being PC have anything to do this? Neutral subjects like the economy, braais and so on, remain.

The College Board in the USA announced that it will include a new rating for the admission of students to colleges, which includes an adversity score. The thinking is that merit is about resourcefulness and not only resources. Old hat here, albeit less sophisticated. The jury is still out on such an approach.