“It’s no coincidence that [Stalingrad Defence] comes a day after Zuma also unveiled his new legal defence against the investigation by outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsella. After initially agreeing to answer all questions to be put to him by Madonsella seven months ago, he did a legal flip-flop on Monday, demanding access to any documents in her possession as well as the right for him or his legal advisors to question the whistle-blowers in person. This is clearly an attempt to intimidate any actual or potential whistle-blower and flies in the face of the spirit of the role and function of the Public Protector”.
This is now the ‘nuclear option’ by President Jacob Zuma, as has been speculated in various financial media outlets: it is seemingly the last-resort by him and his cronies to seize control of the National Treasury, a move which was denied him in December during the Nenegate-saga in December last year.
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The Stalingrad-defence, dear readers, is generally made in reference to the stalling tactics used by the Russian troops defending Stalingrad during the Second World War. They dug in, disregarding their heavy losses (2 million Russian troops died during the battle which lasted about five months) and simply wore out the attacking Germans who expected a quick victory.
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Ordinary South Africans with their traditional savings in residential property, pension funds and stock market portfolios, are now starting to the feel the wealth-destruction effects as a result of the ANC-economic policies in general and Zuma’s utter disregard for the economic impact of his decisions.
I have written about it before, but a great wave of poverty is descending over the middle-class. The poor have always been under that wave – they remain poor, but are now joined by more people.
It’s the middle-class wealth that is now under increasing pressure, of which the #feesmustfall – campaign is just the most obvious end-result.
The student uprising is but a symptom of this immense financial pressure under which the lower-to middle classes are finding themselves. Medical aid rates are soaring at 10-14% per annum, food, petrol and property taxes too are rising at almost double the inflation rate.
The signs of the middle-class breaking down are everywhere, most publicly in car sales (down 15% year-on-year) and declining membership of medical aids. Golf courses are empty on a Saturday morning, while retail sales have come to a grinding halt as the middle-class simply runs out of more easy-to-get loans from short-term funders.
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What is the end game?
How will this all pan out? I don’t know, but I have a strong suspicion that we are not going to see wise and forceful leadership by Zuma.
My personal financial defence for many years now has not been a secret. My advice usually leads to the ‘If you don’t like it here why don’t you leave’ kind of response in some sectors. It’s pointless even responding to such infantile drivel.
“Will we see the back of Zuma soon?” I’m asked by the same foreign friend. “Could Zuma stage a state of national unrest, suspend the Constitution and run the country with the support of the armed forces, perhaps for an indefinite period of time?”
I truly don’t think so, but with this man at the helm, anything is possible. Even the unthinkable.