Instead of positive virus side-effects, we get more madness
In a country where the unthinkable is so readily elevated into law, inheritance seizures may be a logical next step for government to get hold of money.
Inheritance. Picture: iStock
Inheritance. Picture: iStock
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One might justifiably have hoped that the Covid-19 pandemic wouldn’t be all bad. That there would inadvertently be a few good side-effects.
For example, it might galvanise President Cyril Ramaphosa’s languorous style of government. This seems predicated on the belief that he has ahead of him a 20-year presidency and that the ANC will be in power until – as his predecessor phrased it – Jesus returns.
Unfortunately, nothing doing. Those outcomes were always in the realm of fairies.
Nevertheless, the pandemic’s disastrous economic effects meant some hard realities.
The national airline, SAA, would have to fold. It had a crushing debt of R28 billion and had been run and plundered into the ground.
Add the pandemic-induced additional burden of a global turndown in tourism, SAA was surely dead? But no, while the ANC waits for Jesus, it is going to pull off a modern-day Lazarus: Minister Pravin Gordhan has decreed that SAA will rise from the dead and fly again.
Such strength of political faith on the part of the governing tripartite alliance would be inspiring, were it not so scary. Our future is in the hands of ideological true believers, colloquially known as fanatics, who skrik vir niks.
As with any group that thinks of itself as the Chosen, it never feels that it has to justify its privilege. The unionised workforce, already a minority within the working aristocracy, has emerged from the Covid-19 lockdown feeling mightily hard done by.
Hundreds of thousands of private sector workers lost jobs and, if lucky enough to remain employed, forfeited leave and had salaries cut. Public sector workers did virtually zero work during lockdown but remained fully paid, lost no benefits and face no imminent threat of job cuts.
Yet, far from being enervated by Covid-19, the unions appear invigorated. They want more, wrangling for the 8% salary increases agreed upon in a different economic era.
The teacher union has been trying every trick in the malingerer book to avoid going back to work. The health worker unions have been actively sabotaging clinics and hospitals.
Fortunately, the ANC and Ramaphosa have in hand some clever dodges to avoid the economic pain brought by Covid-19. They’re seriously considering printing more money to solve our budgetary woes and/or forcing asset managers to invest in state enterprises and government bonds.
If these strategies don’t work, constitutional expert Pierre de Vos punts another solution: doing away with inheritances or, at the very least, imposing swinging death duties. Inheritance has made it possible for whites to transfer “intergenerational wealth”. This must be stopped.
De Vos is vague on the detail, saying “I am not a tax expert”. He also concedes other obstacles: “For the state just to take your property is probably going to be difficult to justify in terms of our constitution…”
It’s difficult to know what to make of De Vos’ startling proposal. He may just have had a rush of blood to the head, what with being able to buy booze again. Or he may be angling for that spot on the Constitutional Court reserved for white men able to demonstrate true redistribution.
Either way, in a country where the unthinkable is so readily elevated into law, his is a suggestion that might well find traction. After all, if the expropriation of land without compensation is so readily justified, inheritance seizures may be a logical next step.
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