25 04 2008

It has not been a great week. First the immersion steamer we use to sterilize seedling trays stopped working. This morning the slow puncture in my truck’s right rear tyre was in need of attention but my compressor was not working properly. And the day/date facility on my watch packed up just one month outside the warranty period. So like any good Zimbabwean farmer I set about fixing. The immersion heater pump control was by-passed with a simple switch. The compressor is up and running again but I have to admit I don’t know how I did it as I could not see anything obviously wrong in the pressure switch.. The tyre will have to wait as the place that repairs punctures  did not have any electricity to power the machine that gets the tyre off (the attendants were not impressed by my suggestion to do it the old-fashioned way).

We are resourceful largely because we have to be in order to keep going. Spares are often not available or are prohibitively expensive. This was the case a few years ago when the automatic seed sowing machine broke down. I phoned the manufacturer in Durban and asked how I could service the pneumatic valves that drove everything. No, apparently it could not be done. Watch me I thought. The machine eventually stopped some four years later and all it took was a bit of ingenuity and some rubber grease.

The spares situation is only going to get worse in the short-term. The Reserve Bank has plundered the FCA’s (foreign currency accounts) of exporters yet again and have no means of paying them back. Perhaps it went towards paying for a certain shipment of arms, who knows? Private FCA’s have not been touched, yet, but anything is possible, even the government can be resourceful. Their next gambit may well the Indigenisation Act which will enable them to acquire a controlling interest of any company they choose. It has been on the cards for some time now but is creeping closer to reality. They are probably after the big companies who may actually have something left to acquire. I have it on excellent authority that the  company that is franchised to supply Coca-Cola to the masses is taking it very seriously indeed and will close down if there is so much as a hint of intent their way.

I was chatting to a customer last Saturday and asked him what his business was and how it was going. Signage and terrible was the reply. It seems that there are just not many companies left interested in any form of advertising. Chatting to another customer this morning she mentioned that a South African economist had commented that Zimbabwe and the “situation” would continue as long as there is private money invested and people are just too resourceful at keeping it all together. Maybe this Indigenisation Act will be the final nail (not sure how many nails this coffin will take) but I wouldn’t bet on it. We are just too resourceful!






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