More than cosmetics

03 March 2020 | Columns

Everywhere across the country in households, belts are being tightened. Whether that home is a five-bedroom villa in the hills of the capital, or a small, one-roomed shack in one of our many informal settlements across the country.

People are feeling the pinch of the current economic pressure. And they are feeling it hard.

Debt levels remain high for households and around 10% of monthly wages, for those lucky enough to have them, is available for spending. The rest, goes to service debts.

Property prices have come down, much to the relief of potential buyers, but people are not buying. The only movement is seen in the lower bracket where property is still affordable.

Retrenchments are rife and many smaller businesses have closed their doors.

Farmers of course, both commercial and communal, are crippled by several years of low rainfall and the prevailing drought, which some describe as the worst in their living memory, has them to their knees to such an extent that they will sell cattle, on the hoof, for next to nothing.

Private schools across the country are finding that school fees are not paid and grocery trolleys have become emptier, stocked only with the absolute essentials. Yes, everyone has to count their pennies. Except, so it seems, government

We are not seeing any kind of savings there; only pleas to the staff to work more with less. But in terms of perks, benefits, travel and the like, we are not seeing the effects of the economic climate at all. Government, and in particular its Cabinet ministers and other high officials, should certainly take the lead in this regard or are we wrong?

It is after all, the Swapo administration that has brought us here with years of inaction on failed and incomplete projects, lack of decentralisation and development, lack of planning and more. Yet, the citizenry is expected to bear the brunt of it. We hope that more than cosmetic changes are in store when it comes to the next administration.

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