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How much is a billion rand?

02 October 2014, 21:00
How much is a billion rand? I got to thinking about this question after reading about how various government departments are spending a couple of billion here, or can't account for a couple of billion there. And then I saw an article about our national debt, which is over a trillion rand. How much is that, really?

Well, a million seconds is 12 days, a billion seconds is 32 years, and a trillion seconds is over 30,000 years. If a million rand were divided among the 52 million South Africans, we'd all get 2c. If we split a billion rand equally, we'd all get a little under R20. But a trillion rand is almost R20,000 each.

I read today that our national debt is R1,551 trillion, and state-owned enterprises owe another R0.47 trillion, giving a total national debt of over R2 trillion. That's over R40,000 for every man, woman and child in this country.

Considering that roughly half our population is children, and a good number of adults take money out of the government piggy bank, rather than putting it in, we're talking about roughly R100,000 that must be paid back by every economically productive person... with interest.

That's on top of our regular living costs, and the taxes which are used to pay all government salaries and running costs.

Oh, and they're talking about borrowing a LOT more to increase electricity generating capacity, and prop up SAA, and, and, and... So now you know what a billion and a trillion mean, would you like me to explain the word "unsustainable"?

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