Dirk Lotriet
2 minute read
20 Jul 2018
8:15 am

When a lost chance turns into a huge mistake

Dirk Lotriet

I still rue lost chances I had in 1980, but I think the Reserve Bank has made an even bigger mistake.

File image.

Regret is one of the most underrated pleasures in life.

When I was in Standard 6 – the ancient equivalent of Grade 8 – Lady Luck plunged me into a memorable love affair.

Where most of my female classmates had skinny, somewhat awkward bodies and short dark hair, most of the blokes in my rugby team made no secret of the fact that my girl had a very special place in their most feverish teenage dreams.

Don’t tell the lovely Snapdragon, but I still often think about her.

She was unlike all the other girls in class. She had a sun-tanned surfer body with luscious curves, wild blonde curls and an aura which teachers called “a reputation” in whispers in the staff room.

If someone gives me a snowboard today, I will probably have the same feelings about it as I had about that girl – I knew this presented the opportunity for endless pleasures, but I didn’t quite understand how to use it to my advantage.

Instead, I reacted in a way which was unheard of and possibly a bit un-PC for 1980: once or twice I kissed her, but most of the time I respected her as a person and had long discussions about her dreams and ambitions. I played tennis with her and went for long walks. And I returned her calls.

Until she eventually left me for a hormone-driven jock in Standard 9. I sulked for most of 1981 while thinking of all those lost opportunities.

Which reminds me of the Reserve Bank. They had a wonderful chance to kick-start our slumbering economy this week.

I believe it is possible to cut the repo rate by 100 basis points. Which will be a huge relief for us, the punch-drunk consumers. It would not only have done a lot to counter the recent 1% increase in the VAT rate and the rocketing fuel price, but it would have also put thousands of rands into the middle-class’ pocket over the next year.

Just imagine an injection of billions of rands in disposable income into trade and industry. It could have had a huge effect on the public’s willingness to pay taxes … Lesetja Kganyago, I still rue those lost chances in 1980.

But if I consider the opportunities which you have declined, I suspect you have made an even bigger mistake.

Dirk Lotriet. Picture: Alaister Russell

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