We’re in trouble, there’s no doubt about it.

While Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech was most welcome, behind the scenes there’s an unexploded bomb. You will probably have heard that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan threatened to resign over a clash with SARS commissioner Tom Moyane but what is worse is the ongoing “proxy war” that he has with President Jacob Zuma which can only mean trouble.

An article that I read last week claimed that Gordhan is wasting his time in trying to grow an economy in what is effectively a gangster state, so called because it is captured by criminal elements. Whilst this sounds like political rhetoric, the journalist Songezo Zibi quoted facts which certainly seem plausible (could this be something to do with his resignation as editor of Business Day perhaps?)

Whether his article is factual or otherwise, there has to be some form of clandestine reason for the latest attack on Gordhan by the Hawks which the investment world is looking at with alarm. Such adverse publicity at this time could certainly bring about a ‘Junk’ rating in June.

“Hope for the best, plan for the worst”, is an English proverb from the 18th century which is today condemned by business psychologists because apparently it makes a person too cautious and less entrepreneurial. I don’t agree. I’ve seen too many businesses fail because management continued hoping for the best with no real plan for broken promises and other unexpected disasters which can, and often do, occur in business. Moreover our politicians’ have lied too frequently to be believed – so there’s very little hope for our economic future there.

So how do we ‘plan for the worst’ and protect our income from what can only be seen as a dark future?

In respect of business owners, this is relatively easy but it does require courage and additional work. My company specializes in taking businesses to a new pool of buyers in the UK, but of course, having led them to that pool I can’t make them drink from it. This they have to do for themselves. Drop me a mail if you’re a business owner and would like to know more: pete@vealglobal.com

As employees, protecting our income is not so easy. The main problem is that often we do not realise the extent of our own skills and knowledge. Harnessing our skills and knowledge is the key to increased or at least preserved income. For example, even a data capturer, who might think he/she only has computer skills has an immense knowledge relating to the actual data involved. This is gold. Or alternatively, it is possible that we have some hidden skills, a hobby maybe which can generate an additional income.

People overseas are quite happy to pay US$10 (that’s more than R150) for a simple sketch. Take a look at https://www.fiverr.com/ it provides an idea as to what can be earned by any one of us in our spare time.

The Rand has such little value on world markets that we South Africans are very price competitive. Perhaps we should be thanking Mr Zuma for forcing us to look at ourselves through different eyes?

Talk soon

Peter Veal

Peter is the Managing Director of Veal Global Limited and an Executive Director of Associated Compliance (Pty) Ltd