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Hi All

Last week world markets gave up some of their previous gains, perhaps as a result of the Brussels bombings and the fact it was the Easter period where trading floors would normally be a little quiet. Almost everything is still down year to date and one will have to see what develops in the lackluster economic environment around the globe. 

Many pundits have for some time been wondering whether and how political tensions may affect markets. One suspects the real effects have yet to be felt, but in saying that, one also wonders if things aren’t starting to “come to a head”. The activities of religious fundamentalists in various quarters of the world speak for themselves, becoming more prevalent and malicious all the while. The responding political rhetoric is now familiar to us all, as are the public gatherings and outpouring of grief and support.  Almost everywhere, right-leaning parties are using the opportunity to gain ground, in some parts starting to dominate proceedings. That has never been good news before and I would wager will not be this time either. Certainly things cannot carry on the way they are going. One wonders what the solution is to these age-old ideological differences. 

In the meantime tourism, commuting and therefore everyday commerce are being increasingly affected by terrorist activity and something will inevitably “give” as a result. Time will tell. 

Locally politics are very interesting right now. Forces inside the ruling party have gathered on either side of a widening divide. This has been the case for a long while, but is now approaching breaking point. There is so much incriminating evidence in the public domain demanding Parliamentary attention to various issues involving the President, but his carefully-assembled cabinet continues to run interference in protecting him, both fuelling the ire of his opponents and adding to their ammunition at the same time. What is clear is that the country is burning while parliament fiddles. Perhaps RSA will follow the path of Brazil where their President’s coalition partners voted to leave the government, raising hopes she would be impeached for her part in corruption scandals. We can only hope!

I previously mentioned this year’s proposed local elections. The situation is very dire and all indications are that the upcoming constitutional court case involving inconsistencies at the Tlokwe (Potchefstroom) council may well indicate that it is not possible to hold free and fair elections anywhere in the country at this point of time. Another sad indictment of an organism (Independent Electoral Commission), founded to guard the country from fraud and corruption, possibly compromised because the Head is appointed by the President and who may have a particular agenda.  

More next time

Kind regards,

Ricky Williams

 


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