Saturday, November 12, 2011

Paradise for the rich - City that gives money away

Dear Financiers everywhere,
         Don’t all rush in at once because I don’t think there will be room for all of you.
I doubt if you will ever come across a better place for the rich, the very rich and the stinking rich than this. This is especially so as your main aim in life is to find somewhere where you can get something for nothing.
         And apart from anything else it’s a great place to live. It’s just had its mountain listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature by spending a fortune on advertisements to get people to vote for it.
         The campaign showed Archbishop Desmond Tutu on top of Table Mountain proclaiming that when God created the world he said, I’ve got to do something special here.
Of course you have to be an Arch to know what God was thinking at the time.
        Anyway the City of Cape Town told us in these adverts that if the Mountain got this honour it would boost the South African economy by R1.4-billion a year and create 11 000 new jobs. That sounded about as believable as Tutu’s ability to read God’s thoughts.
         A report I saw indicated that the only people who will be making money out of this 7 Wonders of Nature caper are the Swiss promoters of the idea.
        The mountain has been around forever so are people suddenly going to flock there now that it's suddenly been given a title?
         Sorry I’ve got off the point I’m trying to make. The same City that spent so much on this high flying idea has an even better claim to fame. This is guaranteed (no airy, fairy thumb suck) to put money in your pocket if you choose to live in the shadow of that mountain and you will no doubt bring billions with you.
But can you believe it the City is ever so coy about this.
         So I thought I better tell you the secret. It makes Cape Town a paradise, particularly for the rich. You know why?
         Because this City gives money away and the richer you are the more you are able to get.
         How about this for a mind boggling concession?  In Cape Town, which has the slogan The City Works for you, property owners can forget about paying their property taxes and their water and their electricity bills for months. Then when the authorities get round to cutting off, say the electricity, all the owner has to do is to pay the small reconnection fee and make one of their golden lined arrangements.
        An arrangement is the popular money making word that everybody is cottoning onto fast. As an example I asked a City official, Does this mean if I owe R100 000 and I arrange to pay off say R4 000 a month can I do it without any interest being charged?
The answer incredulous was, This is correct.
        They just have to keep paying the instalments as well as their current monthly bill and everything will be fine.
        Everybody who owns property in Cape Town can use the Council as a bank for these interest free loans. Where else can you get this kind of public service? And of course the people who benefit the most are the rich because they are able to run up the highest debts before the Council gets round to cutting off the electricity.
         This is suppose to be done after 60 days of non-payment. But one case I heard of must have been going on for a lot longer than that before the Council woke up, because the amount was so huge. This indicated that there were probably a lot of other fat cats watching what they owe mount up and up, safe in the knowledge that they could actually use it as an interest free loan.
         I understand that Greece is in such financial mire because so many people dodged paying income tax and they didn’t even have a property tax system at all.
        So how long can Cape Town last if it continues to give away money and reward non-payers with a scheme that encourages defaulters on a grand scale?
         No wonder Moody’s, that international organisation that rates the financial status of countries, has downgraded South Africa’s prospects to negative.
        News Flash: Cape Town has just been awarded another title; the Number 1 Free Money City of the World.
         Perhaps Tutu can tell us if that was another of God's ideas to keep Cape Town in the public eye.
         Jon, the Consumer Watchdog with a strong sense of Smell. 

P.S. I’m thinking of buying a R10-million house on the slopes of that mountain overlooking the sea, and using the City Council to finance the deposit.

Buy my book 'Where have all the children gone' on Amazon. com It's a thriller with an underlying love story that defied generations of prejudice. 

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