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An observer
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The Feeding Frenzy

20 January 2012, 08:01

It seems that our coffers have been subjected to a feeding frenzy.

First you had the upper class, and connected ANC cadres being treated to a feast of "frenzied feeding" in the early years of 1994. "Non-compliant" companies agreed amongst themselves, that they should be BEE "compliant", for obvious reasons, and offered shares to to "others", to become BEE compliant. Then there were the more astute international shareholders who decided that the "writing was on the wall", because such a corrupt and unconstitutional piece of legislation was "the beginning of the end", and left them in a "wait and see" position.

Let me explain how these deals were struck. The Public Investment Commission ("PIC") had appointed "independent intermediaries" who identified individuals and NGO organisations that were eligible for these deals, to say the least.

They identified individuals who could, through their connections, influence how these individuals could influence key acquisitions, economic and buying decisions in the future. These "independent intermediaries" approached certain individuals, and to a lesser extent NGO's, and upon getting their agreement would "include" them in these deals. The NGO's were included as a kind of "tokenism". However, the NGO's had a strong ANC bias. It all had ANC connection written all over it. Some individuals, not believing their luck, would suggest others, like friends and people they wanted to obtain commercial favours from. It was a frenzy of feeding of note. Many, many deals were struck on this basis. I witnessed some of them.

The "new shareholders" simply had to sign a piece of paper (an agreement whereby the PIC would put up the funds, and take a pledge of the shares that were being funded) and "viola", instant millionaire.

It all seemed all well and good at the time as the "previously disadvantaged" were being given a push up the wall as South Africa celebrated its march from apartheid to democracy.

Unbeknown to the majority of us South Africans, a critical disease was manifesting in our society. It is called entitlement. Perhaps it is an African disease, of which we were not aware, but unfortunately, it first afflicted the ANC.

These were dizzy times for a few unfortunate, or fortunate, depending on your point of view, but nevertheless, it saw a frenzy of feeding. All I had to do was sign my signature, and in 5 years time, I would be wealthy beyond my dreams, or my expectations. Favours were repaid with extravagance.

In the meantime the "not so favoured" had observed the lavish favours poured onto the favoured and they became afflicted by the same disease.

So what these individuals did was see their positions of "power" become a means of raiding the coffers.

At the lower end, petty thieves, controlled by syndicates, raided our homes to see what "scraps" could be obtained.

No PIC deals were struck, but the principle remained the same, "Just put your signature on this piece of paper" and your problems are over.

Our current society is seeing rampant entitlement and it is no surprise to me.

A little bribery here, a little "overspending" there, but if the majority are afflicted, how do you stem the tide?

I can tell you with a great deal of certainty, it is not going to be the ANC who have no any interest in stemming this affliction. "Entitlement" is not included in their rhetoric.

Just take what is happening in Limpopo. The ANC have admitted they are bankrupt there. The feeding frenzy there has given rise to master petty feeders like Malema. Do you understand what this means? It means that they have hugely overspent. They cannot account for their spending. The Minister of Finance is flummoxed by their spending behaviour.

Do you know what this means? This means that the rest of us in South Africa have to make up the deficit. Why? Because we have bred a nation of people who believe they are entitled.

In sociological terms this is a "disaster waiting to happen". How many other provinces are in the same position? How many municipalities are in the same position (bankrupt - take the City of Johannesburg for example). All because the lucky few indulged themselves at the expense of the poor.

What should happen is to undo those "deals" whereby the politically connected (entitled) were enriched at the expense of the poor. Only the PIC can unravel that mystery.

In any frenzied feeding, the bigger sharks go in first, then the medium sharks go in, and then the smaller sharks pick up the scraps.

The frenzy continues, and in my view this is because the ANC have lost their moral compass. They lost it when they passed legislation that was discriminatory, Just as the National Party did.

At the end of a feeding frenzy there are a lot of indigestion problems. Perhaps we are witnessing it now.

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