Let's have a quick look at the main goings-on in South Africa. I haven't done that for a while, because it was too depressing. I guess I was right to avoid it.

The enfant terrible of South African politics, Julius Malema (a regular in these posts and known for his many dodgy dealings with government tenders) has thought of something new. After trying to revive the struggle against Apartheid, attempts to copy Robert Mugabe's way of handled the Zimbabwean economy, and an ongoing campaign to nationalize all assets that contribute to the South African economy, he now claims that the oppressed masses of South Africa are being looted by banks, "which are all owned by white males". He also believes that nationalization of the mines could pay for university education. Riiiighhtt... Ehm... Which planet did you say you're from, Julius?

A new batch of proposed changes to the Immigration Act will soon force me to jump through even more difficult hoops. Foreigners will now personally have to visit offices of the department of home affairs or a foreign embassy to apply for permits to enter the country. Read: you will no longer be allowed to go through an intermediary such as an immigration service company or an attorney or lawyer. Needless to say, this is an unmitigated disaster. Most Home Affairs offices are in a terrible state, and one can expect to stand (not sit) in queues for literally days on end - I once spent a total of four whole days standing in the Home Affairs office in Germiston just to get a three month extension on a three month tourist visum. Also, it will make "no difference whether the applicant is the chief executive of a multi-million rand company or a student wanting to study in South Africa". In other words, if Bill Gates or Richard Branson wants to come and work in South Africa, he must stand in line with several hundred hopefuls (none of which have had a shower recently) from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Mozambique, Cote d'Ivoire, Somalia and who knows where else. Well... if that doesn't encourage them to invest in the South African economy, I don't know what will... :-(

With the Soccer World Cup over it's now time to pay the piper - as we all knew (or should have known) was going to happen. The Green Point stadium in Cape Town, built to the tune of 4.4 billion Rand because FIFA didn't consider the existing stadiums fancy enough, will cost R46.5 million Rand a year in maintenance, management and operational costs. Because the stadium is "underutilized" (read: it's just been sitting there since the soccer final a few months ago) there's no way that the stadium will generate enough income to cover even a fraction of that, and there are no commercial parties interested in leasing it - the last one just pulled out. So it will be up to the tax payer to finance the ownership of these white elephants - because the Cape Town stadium isn't the only one. The stadium in Nelspruit, for example, hasn't seen more than a few soccer matches and (if memory serves) one minor sports game in the week following the final, and the lights haven't been on ever since. In fact some stadiums have already started to fall somewhat into disrepair.

As usual, South Africa is a circus... and the biggest clowns are in charge.


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