News | Opinion
My late father believed in the expression “there is no time like the present”.
During Wednesday’s budget speech it dawned on me that things have changed for us South Africans. For us, there is no time like next year.
It’s easy to blame Covid-19 but, in reality, our economy has been in limp mode for more than a decade. And every year we hope for things to improve “next year”.
When Tito started to give us the numbers for 2021-22, we all forgot that there is still more than a month of the present financial year left.
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Of course, we have good reason to try and forget the past 11 months.
The virus made this the most difficult economic year in recent memory and given our history of corruption and state capture, that’s saying a lot.
I, for one, am extremely optimistic about the economy over the next year.
To quote Joe Biden, I choose truth over facts, mainly because the facts are somewhat unpleasant: unemployment is at record levels; the average Joe is dirt-poor; government has a monopoly on the distribution of vaccines, while most of us know the state shouldn’t be trusted with such a big project; fuel and electricity prices are set to skyrocket and the state’s finances are in a mess.
But the truth I cling to is that us South Africans are at our best when the odds are stacked against us.
We may not be very good at electing governments who won’t steal us blind, but when everyone is betting against us, we are the greatest nation on earth.
In February 2022, the finance minister’s budget will look as bad as ever.
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Far too many of us will be unemployed in the next year, but somehow we will manage to put food on the table most of the time. We will beat the pandemic.
The tourism industry will begin a long healing process.
Mining, agriculture and the manufacturing industry will punch far above their weight. We will survive, because we are South Africans.
And who knows, maybe government will even learn respect for citizens’ hard-earned income tax and VAT rands.
Our next financial year begins on 1 April (am I the only one who sees the irony in this fact?). It’s going to be a great one, because there’s no time like next year.
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