Oh, the irony! Oh, the gumption and the chutzpah! Did you see that? Did you see what the president of the republic just did there? You have to give it to him. He is a pro. So the latest GDP numbers are released last week — amid the name-calling and the skulduggery in the ANC you may have missed it — and the president is swift to release a statement.
He does not take long to do it, either, unlike the time he waited a whole day to reprimand the useless mineral resources minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, about the non-existent judicial probe into the banks.
Anyway, the president said that the 3.3% quarterly growth of the economy "is very good news and gives hope to our people". He congratulated "government‚ business and labour on the good news". The latest figures, he enthused, "indicate that our economy is resilient and has the potential to grow even more, despite the challenging domestic and global headwinds it faces".
You have to give it to the man. After firing Nhlanhla Nene from the finance ministry and installing Des van Rooyen, driving the rand to record lows against major currencies and driving the markets wild, he has the sense of irony to talk to us about resilience. Resilience? Yes, this economy and our people are resilient. They are resilient against the hard work he has put into grinding the economy to a halt, I would say.
Yes, yes, I know the global situation is not great. But our man at the top isn’t helping the situation. We could be the exception to the global slump. Yet some people, like the president, aren’t going the extra mile.
You should have seen him on Chinese television last week. The interview he gave was as though the TV host had dragged someone in from the street. He did not know what the role of Africa in matching Chinese infrastructure efforts on the continent was. Duh?
Anyway, the point I wanted to make was: why is he allowing so much uncertainty over the future of the finance minister?
Worse, though, is the sheer enormity of the policy uncertainty under the president. Are we going to fund nuclear power? Are we going to have minimum wages? Are we going to allow some fiscal slippage? Are we going to fund free university education? Will the ANC try to out-do the EFF by going radical?
Don’t ask the president. He will confuse you even more than you are confused now.
Thankfully there are businesses out there that create jobs, grow the economy and — best of all — give great service. Just the other day my daughter dragged me off to a hair salon in the petite The Parks centre in Parkwood. After an hour and half at the hair salon she reminded me that she is very partial to a pizza, and to a Casalotti’s pizza in particular. This small chain of stores specialises in thin-crust pizza, which she and I love.
Casalotti’s in Parkwood is tiny, standing room only, and the staff is small. You order take-away and they deliver or you collect. We get my daughter’s margherita, no frills, and off we go to enjoy the public holiday. Hours later she realises that her iPad is missing.
The next day we go to the pizza store and there is the iPad, put aside by a staff member with a note about who will no doubt come back looking for it. What a joy! What service!
And the pizza? Well, it was excellent. Really, really excellent. I know. I had two slices of my daughter’s margherita, then on my visit back bought myself one too. Reader, I finished it.
**** Casalotti’s Pizza Rapido
The Parks Centre
Corner Jan Smuts and Wells Avenue
Tel: (011) 447 8002
***** Pravin Gordhan