Heraldic Law

6 07 2007

It’s been a crazy week. Exchange rates on the black market have crashed by about 50%, price controls have been implemented by the “Price Police” and other hoods who have marched into retail and wholesale outlets, demanded that prices be reduced by an arbitary amount and distributed goods to their mates and others waiting outside. Rumours have flooded all aspects of the economy – “Prices have to be reduced by half”, “Prices have to go back to the level of June 18th”. Even restaurants have reduced prices. The price police have dictated prices of fresh produce arriving from the farms. And where have all these “guidelines” and “laws” emanated? None other than The Herald, that daily mouthpiece (but it more closely represents a sewer outlet) of the government. How much of this has been gazetted (written into law)? With the exception of the commodities that are already price controlled (bread, milk, maize meal etc.) – none. And has anyone challenged it? No. Fear rules.

My business has not yet had a visitation but I expect we will get one. Sooooo, we have joined the ranks of the spineless and reduced our prices somewhat, just to show we are “patriotic”. How long is this all going to last? Estimates vary from a couple of weeks to the end of the year but I really doubt the latter figure. Already supermarket shelves are empty of produce that is not going to be replenished at less than the cost price.  Already the government is getting belligerent and threatening companies that don’t toe the line and sell whatever they have at the dictated price level with takeover (takeover what exactly?). Bread is scarce, cooking oil non-existent, fuel can only be purchased with hard currency (so it is rumoured), butcheries are closed and empty and those that can afford to have stopped trading. Those who can afford to have been stocking up on the cut-price essentials, fearing the shortages that must surely happen. I have stocked up on dog food for Jenni (I wonder if I can eat it?) and other essentials when I see them. It cannot last of course, they have only tied a tourniquet around the leg – the cause of the bleeding has not been addressed and if the tourniquet is not loosened soon the leg will fall off.



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