Break the rules to feed poor

We're all in this inflation mess together but for the 40percent of South Africans living below the breadline constantly rising prices are a matter of life and death.

We're all in this inflation mess together but for the 40percent of South Africans living below the breadline constantly rising prices are a matter of life and death.

The government does little to alleviate their plight beyond convening yet another talk shop or contriving yet another policy directive.

Rocketing food prices mean the rich might sacrifice eating out once or twice a week. But two of every five South Africans must forgo one more of the morsels that sustain their increasingly tenuous grip on life.

Food is not the only victim of inflation: throw in fuel, transport, healthcare, education and everything else we pay for with our steadily depreciating currency and life looks bleak all round.

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni might be the darlings of the middle class, but the poor have little to cheer in their performances.

We need action now and if the government cannot find immediate solutions the time has come to look elsewhere for answers.

Even the National Party came up with solutions that now look attractive.

Sasol produces petrol for about $16 a barrel, producing windfall profits of millions for its shareholders.

Maybe its time to re-nationalise the company, which can produce 40percent of South Africa's requirements. Imported fuel means imported inflation and nothing our bureaucrats do can manage that. And rising fuel prices hammer every last sector of our battered economy

Same thing with Eskom. Its sky-rocketing prices are dimming the lights in one sector after another.

The Nats set up marketing boards that kept a lid on food prices. So what if re-establishing them means we have to change trade policy.

We import most of our inflation and might do well to decamp from the global village until hunger no longer stalks this hungry land.

Sowetan knows well that these ideas break every rule in the economics book, but it has manifestly failed to transform the life of our poor.

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