Home » Opinion » From the Bee in my Bonnet column – Fred Karno’s Circus?

From the Bee in my Bonnet column – Fred Karno’s Circus?

FRED Karno was the stage name of Frederick John Westcott (b 1866 – d 1941) – a theatre impresario and developer of sketch comedy without dialogue to circumvent stage censorship in the UK in the late 1890’s.

When Westcott joined a touring circus, he was required to work with other acts, including clowns and is largely credited with originating the custard-pie-in-the-face routine. His cheeky, authority defying skits on stage was hugely popular, and his fame and name became associated with any chaotic situation including the disorganised volunteer soldiers of the Great War – 1914 – 1918 which were labelled ‘Fred Karno’s Army’.

If the cap fits…

It is then an entirely appropriate moniker to ascribe the label to our current Government, Fred Karno’s Circus –disorganised, chaotic and almost funny if it weren’t so serious.

The state of our collapsing economy, yes, collapsing, is entirely man-made (person-made?) and readers probably don’t need reminding of the insolvent SOE’s, such as the Post Office, SAA, Road Accident Fund, Denel, and of course, the elephant in the room – Eskom. The list is exhaustive and complimented by the disastrous state of Health, Education, Water & Sanitation and Municipalities, amongst others.

Expropriation without Compensation, crime, corruption, cronyism and the NHI hang over our heads like the Sword of Damocles.

It’s the consequences – the knock-on effects that our ministers don’t seem to grasp or discuss between themselves, that leads one to the logical conclusion; that of incompetence – ‘if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then in all likelihood, it’s a duck’.

The Agro economy

Various players in the agro sector have expressed concerns to the future of food security and the damaging effects of incomprehensible Government policy on the sector.

These include in no order of priority:

  • The serious decline of the Rand/Dollar/Euro/Pound exchange rates – effecting amongst other things, the price of diesel and imported capital equipment required by farmers.
  • The long term effect of the Government’s 75% BBBEE policies with respect to water licencing.
  • The effect of loadshedding on production processes, supply chains and food prices.
  • The collapsing state of Transnet – its inability to maintain an efficient rail service in order to get goods to market, and inefficient ports to handle vital exports.
  • The threat of the USA rescinding the AGOA Act, and knock-on effect of the EU following suit on our agricultural exports, because of our tacit support of Russia in the Ukraine conflict. 

Fiddling while Rome burns

All these issues are within our control. They are a consequence of continuing to pursue flawed ideology, supported by a failed administration in the hope of a different outcome. Einstein is often credited with that scenario as being the definition of insanity.

All the above continues to support a World Bank/IMF prediction of a 0,3% annual growth rate, which is no growth rate at all for a developing economy.

How long must the fire burn before consuming the fiddler?


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