Business Maverick


After the Bell: Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on those dastardly banks and why BRICS is our only saviour

After the Bell: Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on those dastardly banks and why BRICS is our only saviour
Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

We have heard this bunkum so many times before that most people in business and government just smile and wave. What got me was the heart of the speech, where she spoke about the desperate need to fight with all our might against the ‘unipolar' world, and how the BRICS grouping is our best shot at achieving this noble aim.

If I had to choose the South African minister who has been the most destructive force in government in the post-liberation era, it may seem obvious that the winner would be, hands down, former president Jacob Zuma. He, after all, presided over State Capture, a mushroom cloud of corruption, cadre deployment and a lost economic decade in which SA’s national debt exploded, SOEs went bankrupt and unemployment increased. Pretty crappy list.

But, you know, he had help. You don’t achieve this level of economic disaster all by yourself. Next in the queue, I would place his former wife Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. 

Dlamini Zuma, famous for such grand spectacles as Sarafina 2, Virodene and banning tobacco during Covid, has now issued a diatribe against SA’s banks (again).

Speaking at the BRICS Youth Summit in Durban, Dlamini Zuma said SA was “forced to kneel before five banks”.

Actually, 63 banks operate in SA – 17 of which are local.

“This represents some of the most concentrated banking systems in the world,” she said. I mean – do I need to write this? SA isn’t close to being the most concentrated banking country in the world. The UK has five banks that represent around 90% of deposits. Switzerland has five banks that represent 95% of deposits. For a country the size of SA to have five major banks operating intensely competitively is routinely mentioned in international reports as one of the country’s most valuable assets!

She goes on: “The greater concentration of banking to the big five has clearly undermined accountability, hindered development, stifled competition and passed on the cost burden to citizens.” 

This is simply horse manure. 

SA’s big five operate on margins that are absolutely within the ballpark of countries with the same risk profile. 

SA’s bank price-to-book ratios are richer than those of developed country banks: they have to be, because – and this is something you hope Dlamini Zuma would have noticed after 25 years in government – SA’s government is so dysfunctional that our country risk has been rising and economic growth is stagnant, forcing banks to make larger provisions for bad debts.

But, you know, this is not what really bugged me most about this speech. 

We have heard this bunkum so many times before that most people in business and government just smile and wave. What got me was the heart of the speech, where she spoke about the desperate need to fight with all our might against the “unipolar” world, and how the BRICS grouping is our best shot at achieving this noble aim.

Well, you know, there is a global rebalancing taking place; it’s inevitable and welcome because it rests on the mass enrichment of some of the poorest people in the world. 

But what Dlamini Zuma sees coming out of this is not global solidarity, but “multipolarity”. Multipolarity, she says, is a departure from the dominant reality of a unipolar world order in which there is only one dominant power. (You have to ask, what world does she think she is living in?)

“In a multipolar world, power is dispersed, and no one country has the ability to dictate the international agenda. The rationale behind multipolarity is that it promotes stability and reduces the likelihood of conflicts.  

“When there is no single dominant power, each great power must negotiate and cooperate with others to achieve its national interests. The presence of multiple centres of power also means that no single power has the ability to impose its will on others, which can help prevent conflicts and promote peaceful resolution of disputes,” she says.

Oddly enough, we have seen how a multipolar world works. It was pretty horrible. 

Because if your philosophy is rooted in the notion of national power dynamics only, rather than, say, global cooperation, powers are going to coalesce and all of a sudden you have two opposing power blocs with guns pointed at each other.

What follows are all the joys of nuclear standoffs, proxy wars and third-world despots clinging to authority by playing one power off another, as we had during the Soviet era. 

“Multipolarity” would only work if there were, say, five equally balanced powers competing with each other. Odd, that.

But that is not what BRICS is about. BRICS, in the world-view of Dlamini Zuma, is about uniting to create a bipolar world of them – “the West” – against us, the glorious rest. 

And what BRICS will do is fight the dastardly symbols of oppression and neocolonialism, the horrors of this terrible new world order, the World Bank and the IMF (in which, by the way, all BRICS members including SA are currently represented. Apparently the inherent evilness of an organisation is not a sufficient reason to, you know, leave).

I hope the Bretton Woods institutions forget this speech when SA finally ends up with no choice but to try to hit them up for a much-needed bailout, which is the direction we are seemingly inexorably headed. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    Dlamini-Zuma is a busted flush, and not of the card variety.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Brazil, Russia, India and China are bastions of freedom that NOBODY would strive for.

  • Mark Cowell says:

    She doesn’t need a bank….only deals in cash

  • Pet Bug says:

    Right on the button again Tim.
    My jaw dropped (yes, still can happen with this lot) reading what NDZ had presented.
    I thought she was put out to pasture in some Shady Pines home; but no! … she’s still a minister…!?!
    Good lord!

  • Gerrit Marais says:

    How this cretin is still around is testimony to the absurdity called the ANC.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    In the land of the blind the ANC is the most blind,they even show the world how blind they are

  • Karl Nepgen says:

    And we, SA taxpayers, are funding her salary! What foolishness. I don’t really want to smile and wave.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    Someone organising BRICS Youth summit thought they need to hear her; bunkum or neigh. Such a wasted opportunity for youth to engage with reality by an antiqued politician. Perhaps no youth attended so she rolled out the same old same old that the ANC is famous now for.

  • Ken Randell says:

    A case of the uninformed minister in control proselytizing to the uneducated masses who vote.

  • Johan Herholdt says:

    There you have it! The ANC philosophy in a nutshell. Just add Virodene P058, a toxic industrial solvent that Dlamini-Zuma (then Minister of Health) promoted as a cure for Aids (along with Manto Tshabalala-Msimang’s beetroot and garlic solution), that she has a recorded net worth of R1,6 billion (Opera News 2020) as well as the disaster of Covid regulations. Don’t forget the ANC’s plunder of our economy and the destruction of SA’s infrastructure, policing, primary health care and education to round things out.

  • R IA says:

    I hope the youth at the BRICS Youth Summit had enough sense to know what rubbish she is talking.

  • betsy Kee says:

    So sad, Tim Cohen, that we still have Nkosazana DZ spouting her vile rhetoric. So sad that despite So many people, despite seeing her for what she is and what she represents, still vote for a defunct ANC. Keep those opeds coming. We need to continually be reminded about who we can trust. Or can’t trust!

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    One has to wonder how much she was paid ( and how) for her speech which is actually in support of all the nefarious action going on behind the scenes between the ANC and the BRICS countries ( other than Brazil) It sounds like she should be joining her ex in Moscow for a brain scan!

  • Greg Deegan says:

    Spot on! And “bipolar” completely sums up the ANC (mis) government!

  • Steve Davidson says:

    What I’d really like to know is how the reasonably good Bristol University in England could give this thick-as-ten-short-planks idiot a medical degree! It’d have to have been a huge case of Affirmative Action.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    The banks cutting off the Guptas Credit fascilities has well and truly riled the Zuma family who were possibly the biggest beneficiaries!

  • Jon Quirk says:

    NDZ has always been a mouthpiece for other people; the interesting question therefore, is why is she saying this and why now? She is flying someone else’s kite – Mashatile, perhaps? Certainly someone who supports the RET/EFF idiots ….

  • Gavin Brown says:

    And she came within a whisker of becoming President ! The monotronic drone that carries her madness to the world may just have saved us. Would love to know the mortality rate of the patients she treated while impersonating a real doctor ?

  • Tim Price says:

    Brain dead but sadly not unable to sprout nonsense. The story of most of the ANC leadership and their sycophants.

  • Gazeley Walker says:

    Is this the same medical doctor Dlamini Zuma who told the world the African potato can cure or help eradicate aids? Is this the same Dlamini Zuma who banned cigarettes during Covid, but did nothing to stop the illegal manufacture and trade, which have, I understand, been linked to one of the Zuma sons. What in heavens name does she know about finance and banking, when did the oracle die and appoint her as the all knowing guru? She is way past her sell by date – by about 50 years!!

  • Steve Stevens says:

    Nothing new here…conflating economics and politics as usual. And demonstrating she is illiterate in both.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    “Unwilling to rest on the foot of conscience, my Russia/South Africa took a few big leaps, pushing everyone around, but then slipped and collapsed with a crash, destroying everything around it. And now it is floundering in a pool of either mud or blood, with broken bones and the poor, robbed population, surrounded by the tens of thousands of victims of the most stupid and senseless war/government.”

    Profound and tragic words by Navalny adapted for the South African context.

    Doesn’t take much.

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