Let's destroy what still works

David Bullard on Jacob Zuma (and Songezo Zibi's) desire to detonate the EWC-bomb on SA


Last Thursday I took some friends to a spectacular dinner at a wine farm in Stellenbosch to celebrate the release of their 2017 vintage wines. The evening started at six PM with a generous tasting of the wines among the rows of fermentation tanks in the cellar with a stunning view of the surrounding mountains just as the evening sun was casting a red glow over the slopes.

With a generously poured glass of Shiraz it would be hard to imagine a more perfect setting among delightful like minded people. The estate in question is about 120 hectares of which 57 hectares are under vine. The surrounding vineyards are immaculately set out with perfectly maintained roads between them climbing the mountains and giving good access to those who tend the vines and make sure the grape harvest is the best it can possibly be. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

At 7 PM we moved into the restaurant for a three course dinner accompanied by the wines we had just tasted. The restaurant is well known in Stellenbosch and is approached through a magnificently maintained garden. If you book for lunch during the warmer months you would probably sit on the terrace and soak up the stunning view while sunbirds flit past doing whatever it is sunbirds do. Since this was an evening event we were inside but none of the atmosphere was lost. The staff were wonderfully attentive and professional and we eventually emerged for our lift back home four hours later, well oiled and very happy indeed.

The estate in question is called Glenelly and it produces some of the most stunning wines in the area. Originally a plum farm it was purchased in 2003 by May de Lencquesaing at the age of 78 (Madame will celebrate her 99th birthday on May 17th and is still active in the running of the estate), who was the previous owner of the famous Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, a highly revered estate in Pauillac, Bordeaux. The fruit trees were removed and vines were selectively planted to make the most of the soils and

microclimate of the valley and to support economic development within the local community.

The flagship wine is the Lady May which is a Bordeaux blend and will set you back around R950 a bottle for the 2017 vintage. That’s about £40 in real world money. By way of comparison a bottle of the 2019 Ch Pichon will set you back R9995 if bought from a local wine importer. The estate also sells the Estate Reserve red for around R360 a bottle and the Glass collection Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for an almost derisory R195 a bottle. Opinions may differ but a bottle of the locally produced Lady May is probably the nearest you will get in quality to a far more expensive bottle of Bordeaux.

I mention this sybaritic experience not only to demonstrate that we still know how to live well in the Western Cape but mainly to highlight a comment made by MK party leader Jacob Zuma in a speech he made at a funeral in Alice in the Eastern Cape last Saturday.

"We have not yet attained freedom. We will only attain freedom when the land is in our possession and when we have changed the economic outlook of our country,".

So what I wonder would Comrade Jacob or any of the other politicians who are talking about land expropriation without compensation do with large tracts of expensively purchased and developed land when they come to power and seize it? And will the foreign owners who have ploughed tens of millions of rands into developing said land and created much needed jobs just sit back and let the land invaders take over? I somehow doubt it.

Zuma talks about changing the economic outlook of our country. He did a pretty good job of that during his nine years as President as he hollowed out state institutions, allowed his corrupt cronies to steal billions from the country and sent the Rand into a tailspin from which it has never recovered. The reality is that none of the political parties who drone on about giving the land back to the people have the slightest clue about running an economy.

But it certainly sounds an attractive proposition to gullible, poorly educated voters as an election approaches.

The grim reality is that a coalition of crazed political parties bent on land expropriation and radical economic transformation post election will be the final nail in the coffin for SA Inc. The pollsters have been coming up with interesting predictions for the ANC recently but the bad news is that a substantially reduced vote for the ANC doesn’t translate to a vote for a political party that would run the country any better. All it does is demonstrate that voters may be finally fed up with the ruling gangster party and be prepared to switch their votes to a different bunch of gangsters.

For example, how the EFF can lay claim to any credibility as a political party with well founded accusations of criminality hanging over the heads of the party leaders is beyond my comprehension. But, as with the ANC gangsters, the rule is ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and if the National Procrastinating Authority continue to sit on their hands and refuse to drag the miscreants to court then obviously nobody will be found guilty.

If you were investing in a business you would ask certain questions before parting with your hard earned cash. Questions such as what does the company do? Do they have competitors? Are they substantially better than their competitors? Is the business model sustainable or just a flash in the pan? Are the people running the business trustworthy and do they have a record of success in running a business? Is the business adequately funded? What plans for future growth does it have?

All these questions should also be asked of a political party aspiring to lead South Africa. When I read that ‘Honest’ Floyd Shivambu could be the new Minister of Finance should the ANC and the EFF be forced into a coalition after May 29th it doesn’t exactly fill me with hope for the future. So who will be in charge of education, healthcare, transport infrastructure and trade and industry? Having already set the scene with Floyd I rather doubt if any of the potential candidates for other important ministerial positions would inspire much confidence.

Having just read ‘Who will rule South Africa’ by Adriaan Basson and Qaanitah Hunter I am pessimistic about our future. Even the rats and mice parties that make up the ‘also rans’ don’t seem to have much to offer by way of talent. At least the Democratic Alliance has proved beyond reasonable doubt that it can run the Western Cape efficiently but that doesn’t seem to impress voters throughout the country.

Only last week ‘Rise Mzansi’ party leader Songezo Zibi attacked the DA during an address to the Cape Town Press Club accusing them of promoting ‘swart gevaar and racism’ and saying the party had failed black and coloured voters over the past fifteen years. The facts would suggest otherwise, particularly if one looks at both job creation and clean audits in the Western Cape, but why let facts trump feelings?

If aspirant politicians such as Zibi already have to stoop so low then we should read the warning signs. I am no pollster or futurist but I think I can safely predict two things that will happen after May29th. One will be the further collapse of the currency and the other will be the re-introduction of severe exchange controls. As for civil unrest….well, we’re already there aren’t we?