All Georgians should really hold thumbs that Treasury grants George Municipality the R1-billion (R1 000 000 000) it so urgently needs to address infrastructure demands in our lovely hometown.
And why should George not be given the money? In the bigger scheme of things, it's petty cash... at least in a South African context.
Government estimates that R500-billion rand was stolen during the Zuma years and this figure could in fact be much higher. Marianne Merten wrote in an article in Daily Maverick that if all the accompanying negative economic snowball effects of state capture are factored into the equation, state capture cost the country around R1,5-trillion.
And if you are naive or sceptical enough - take your pick - to believe the rants of former politician turned businessman, Tokyo Sexwale, who alleges mountains of rand and gold were pilfered from some white boy fund, notwithstanding that the white boy was spiritual, then the money George is asking for is a mere pittance.
Do we even have a name for the number of zeros that Sexwale is throwing around? Indeed. The Hawks is officially investigating two cases of alleged theft totalling over R41-quadrillion - a quadrillion is followed by 15 zeros. Never even knew such a figure existed, except when maybe referring to the number of grains of sand on land and ocean combined. But, it seems that it's a case of simply deleting the R41, as 15 zeros standing on their own still amount to zero.
Sexwale fell for a scam that he eagerly embraced to cast (further) aspersions on the integrity and honesty of our beleaguered president, Cyril Ramaphosa, and the top brass of National Treasury and the SA Reserve Bank. A guy amazingly called Fanie FONDSE, supported Sexwale's far-fetched claims, saying he had information as he was a shareholder of the reserve bank. Anyone can buy reserve bank shares, it's mostly to gain access to its annual meetings and very much to hob-knob with important role players. Sorry Fondse, you were never going to get rich investing in reserve bank shares.
In a series of tweets last Thursday, award-winning economist Mike Schussler put Sexwale's claims in perspective.
Read it and weep, or laugh: @mikeschussler
Did some research for you. 100 000 tons of mined gold in 1966 did not exist! The amount in dollars is near 2 000 times SA GDP so if it did get and was spent SA GDP would have increased 200 000%!
It is more money than the 500 richest people on earth combined!
As of 2019, there were 197 000 tons of gold.
34 000 tons are in central bank vaults and 43 000 in verifiable investment holdings.
93 000 tons in jewellery, so the gold even if deposited now would have been noticeable. All the world's jewellery cannot make up the 100 000 deposit.
$600 trillion in the SA banking system would be more than the total value of SA banks - in fact, the whole stock exchange. It would have been far more than the World economy, the total amount in the world banking system or the total value of all the world's stock markets
Just the interest earned at 1% would have added 7,5% to the world GDP every year. I am pretty sure we would have noticed.
Even at $620 billion (1/1000th of claimed amount) in 2015, it would have been more money than any company on earth but for Google and Apple.
$620 billion would have earned $42 billion (@ repo rates) of interest per year, or 13% of SA GDP then. I think someone would have noticed either when buying other currencies or shares with that. Now times that with 1 000.
If you think that what Tokyo says is possible and someone just gives that type of money away then... I have 95% proof vodka to sell you at $1 million a bottle from Engen in a coke bottle - collector's item...promise.
When the sub-editors and I decided to put the George application for R1-billion on the front page, we were happy to discover that although we are constantly exposed to officials and politicians throwing astronomical figures about, we have not been completely inured to the value of money. (Malusi Gigaba's wedding cost R4- or R5-million - his estranged wife is unsure. After all, what is a mere million?!)
Please, Treasury, to date George has been run relatively well and we really need the money if our municipality is to continue doing so. Spare us the nine zeros, and please don't forget the R1 in front.