By Yamkela Spengane
I am on a self-imposed sabbatical as far as public commentary on current affairs and politics is concerned. What time I would have spent on these matters I spend in things that give me much more peace, like working on cosmological problems in a cyclic universe, and conceptualising hypercars and autonomous vehicle features.
I have been a commentator on political and social issues for as long as I can remember, as I have always maintained that it is not wise to not be politically informed as it is a giveaway of the power that comes with knowledge of issues that affect all our lives on a day to day basis (and by informed, I mean an intricate understanding of what is going on both the global scale and the intra-boarder scale and how they marry into each other). However we live in times where people just don’t want to be informed, they want to read the newspaper, watch TV, read social media updates and then declare themselves distinguished professors in ensuing current affairs on social media platforms without any real understanding of the underlying issues at hand. Thus when these are the apparent material conditions, one realises that speaking on issues that fly over most people’s heads is a fruitless exercise that wastes an irrecoverable resource that is time; and opts for employing this time in other things instead – hence my indefinite sabbatical from commentary.
I have also come to note that writing, speaking, and other forms of commentary are an important aspect of spreading information through the shared ideas of the commentators, however what we have lacked in is the organisational aspect around the problems identified. And perhaps the shortcoming is there, in that we speak and stop at speaking, caring not to act on these identified problems. I feel that perhaps more time spent bickering helplessly should be invested better, and more time spent fighting incumbent ways should be spent devising alternative ways, only then will we see visible strides forward.
Anyway, moving onto the reason why I write today: The latest issue on everyone’s lips and fingertips, Jacob Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle in which Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas were ousted from the ministry of finance and the downgrading by Standard & Poor’s (with a review for downgrade by Moody’s as of Monday evening, with Finch also downgrading South Africa as of 13:00 Friday, 7 April 2017) following the sacking of the two. I recieved a few messages seeking my commentary on the matter, even an ambush interview; and after consideration and although still reluctant, I decided I am going to make an exception and prematurely come out of my reclusive sanctuary to shed a few words on this matter. My reluctance comes from the fact that this Gordhan issue is old news, I have already written extensively on it in a few articles in from the time of Nenegate at the end of 2015 right through to 2016 in a few articles; and the storyline is still the same, nothing has changed to it.
It has been coming for months that either Zuma’s head was going to roll, as the business world with opposition parties has been mobilising for without success, or more likely Gordhan’s, as the prerogative to fire Gordhan rested on Zuma, while getting rid of Zuma rests on an impeachment by a vote of no confidence, something whose outcome is controlled by the party that is led by Zuma. As for junk status, well it was always going to happen once Zuma didn’t comply with the prescriptions, it happens every so often in the world… but oh well, let’s delve more elaborately into these matters.
Visiting Zuma’s appointment and firing of Gordhan
We will probably all remember quite well that for Gordhan to become Finance Minister a second time under Zuma’s presidency, Nenegate happened. Nenegate was a time, from 10 December 2015, when Zuma removed then incumbent Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, and replaced him with someone who was relatively unknown at the time, in the person of Des van Rooyen. This decision caused uproar in the business community and opposition parties, to which capital made its voice heard on the matter, and went to consult the leaders of the ANC to remove van Rooyen and replace him with Gordhan specifically.
Gordhan himself confirmed that he was handpicked in an interview on Friday 31 March 2017, wherein he said that when Zuma called him in to tell him that he would resume as Minister of Finance, Gordhan recommended two other names, to which Zuma’s response was “They want you, they say you are the one who can stabilise the markets”. Now the elephant in the room here is who is “they”? Who are these people who wield so much influence that they can go to the president of the republic and tell him that his right to appoint whomsoever he wishes to his cabinet and into any ministry should take a backseat where the ministry of finance is concerned, and then handpick their own preferred candidate to assume the position of minister of finance?
Well on the 13th of December 2015, a peculiar meeting took place between the ANC top six and a delegation of white capital, of which among the attendees were:
1. Barclays Africa Group Chief Executive Officer, Maria Ramos;
2. Goldman Sachs’ South Africa head, Colin Coleman;
3. Investec Bank’s global CEO, Stephen Koseff;
4. Imperial Holdings’ CEO, Mark Lamberti;
5. Sanlam CEO, Ian Kirk;
6. Business Leadership South Africa chairperson Bobby Godsell;
7. Toyota Europe CEO, Johan van Zyl and
8. First Rand CEO, Johan Burger.
The outcome of that meeting was, of course, the removal of van Rooyen from his position and swift replacement with Gordhan. The interesting part however is that this meeting was contravening Section 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Activities Act of 2004 on the part of the business leaders, as theirs was to actively seek to influence the appointment/removal of cabinet ministers to the national executive, which is the constitutional prerogative given solely to the president of the republic by chapter 5, section 91 (2) of the constitution.
Even more interesting is the fact that the active influencing of the appointment of cabinet ministers is something that the Guptas have been accused of many a time, yet no one cared to flag this contravention on the part of the business leaders that went to meet the ANC top 6 to push for the appointment of Gordhan as minister of finance. But that’s not our issue at hand for today.
The matter of discussion here is that Jacob Zuma never intended to appoint Gordhan as his minister of finance, Gordhan was a choice forced on him as outlined above; and after tolerating having Gordhan in this position for 15 months, he decided to exercise his presidential powers, bestowed upon him by chapter 5, section 91 (2) of the constitution, to dismiss Gordhan and replace him with a person of his choosing.
Until such time there is an amendment to this part of the constitution, Jacob Zuma as the president of the republic owes no one an explanation of who he appoints or dismisses from his cabinet, and why he does so – and this goes for any cabinet position too. Politically, as a deployee of the African National Congress (ANC), he may consult them and hear their views, but as the president of the republic need not consult the ANC because the presidential powers outlined in the constitution do not mention a need for the president to consult his political party for executive decisions. The truth of the matter is that the moment the ANC MPs vote for one to assume the presidency, they bestow upon him access to the presidential powers that come with the office as they are, and hence they feel that his use of these powers is no longer in line with party mandates and policies, they reserve the right to remove the president by the options that are available – one being getting him to resign as was done with Thabo Mbeki, and with that failing, voting in a motion of no confidence to oust the president as provided by chapter 5, section 102 of the constitution.
This is to say that everything Zuma has done with regards to his latest cabinet reshuffle is constitutionally above board, no piece of legislation exists to say otherwise.
The political reasons may be debatable, but as far as the constitution is concerned it was Zuma’s call and his alone to fire Gordhan, the same way Mbeki exercised this right when he dismissed Zuma in 2005 as Deputy President, and on the other side of the coin protected Manto Tshabalala-Msimang despite calls for her head, as Zuma has also done now with the likes of Bathabile Dlamini whose head has been called for louder than ever in the past month.
Now that that part is clear, let us delve into why Zuma would fire Gordhan in the first place.
As mentioned above already, Zuma never wanted Gordhan as his minister of finance from the onset and never made it a secret. Gordhan was forced onto Zuma in an embarrassing affair where he was forced to revoke his preferred candidate, van Rooyen, within four days of appointment. What followed afterwards was a circus of going all out to humiliate Zuma publicly for months by the media and business, while at the same time Gordhan was being lauded as the modern-day Atlas, upon whose shoulder the country’s economy rests. Needless to say, this created a rather awkward relationship between Jacob Zuma as the president and his employee who is Gordhan.
The backing Gordhan had from business, and the fact that he was an imposed candidate created what can somewhat be seen as a sense of invincibility, in that he was not mainly accountable to the president as his employer but to the “markets” that had put him into the ministry of finance to begin with; meaning he could get away with a lot more as far as not agreeing with the president as their relationship was put under the microscope, with him as the superhero and the president the villain.
It was from the onset not going to end well, one of them would have had to go sooner or later. What white capital had hoped for was to find a way to push Zuma out of the presidency – of which an impeachment failed last April – and Gordhan was always one authority-defying stance away from being fired.
Insiders have said that there are a few issues of contention, a major one being the BRICS bank on which Zuma and Gordhan don’t agree on logistical issues like staffing, and as a result its date of commencing operations is way behind schedule. Another one that has made rounds is the nuclear deal, expected to cost around R1 trillion, and of course the licensing of the Gupta bank, then you can throw in the bailing out and expenditure of some public enterprises in there too.
The crux of the matter here however, is that you had a CEO who couldn’t get his CFO to comply on certain issues and their relationship was clearly unhealthy for a relationship between employer and employee for several reasons: how the employee assumed office, the lobby of business world using the employee as a rallying point against the employer, and the disagreements on expenditure issues; and since the lobby has not managed to successfully remove the employer, the employer was going to dismiss the employee at one point and he did it.
I think as an incumbent president of the republic, I wouldn’t want a minister of finance with whom I don’t agree with, and whose occupation of that post is used as an undermining factor of my fitness to occupy office, when I have – constitutionally bestowed upon me – the powers to appoint and dismiss whomever I want with no one I need to convince. That is exactly what Jacob Zuma must have thought (although to be fair, Jesse Duarte did say that Zuma spoke to the top 6 as far back as November 2016 that the working relationship between himself and Gordhan had reached intolerable levels. This displeasure is what led to the move to bring Brian Molefe to parliament. So in actual fact, Zuma’s appointment of Malusi Gigaba was a compromise candidate to his preferred man in Brian Molefe).
Junk Status and the aftermath of Gordhan’s sacking
Upon receipt of the news that Gordhan had been removed by the president, Standard & Poor’s, the credit ratings agency, downgraded our foreign debt to sub-investment grade or junk status, while keeping our local debt at investment grade with a negative outlook (our foreign debt is about 10-15%); Moody’s also jumped in and put us on review for downgrade. The rand also weakened considerably from before Gordhan was called back from the UK to date, moving from the R12.35 mark right to just over R13.80 against the dollar.
First thing’s first, what the hell is junk status and what does it mean to Jimmy and Jane on the street?
The long and the short of it is that our interest rates on the foreign debt we have as a nation is going up because we are perceived to be unlikely to repay the debt. It is a bit like when you have a credit record at Experian and TransUnion, those with the means get prime rate for their loans and access to big credit, while the not so well off get prime +5 because they are perceived a higher risk of default and thus given higher interest and lower credit access.
So the “credit bureaus” that assess credit worthiness of governments are known as credit ratings agencies, and they are all from the United States, New York (no surprises there); and one of them in Standard & Poor’s has deemed our credit rating to be sub-investment grade. This will mean that we have lower access to credit as the pool from which we can lend from and the risk they are willing to take with us diminishes as many investment funds and banks are not allowed to invest in places that have junk status. Automatically in this situation, those that will lend you money will charge a higher interest rate because it’s riskier to lend you; thus these expenses on interest have to be covered by either cutting back on money allocated to various portfolios or an increase in taxes, or both.
Higher interest rates for government weakens the rand and shoots up inflation; which means the Reserve Bank is likely to hike interest rates, ultimately all loan repayments will suffer then. Inflation also has adverse effects on the general cost of everything. Not that it makes much difference for most of the population that is already downtrodden, with over 54% of the populace solidly below the poverty line; one could say they are used to having it very tough. The ones who have much more to lose are the minority whose foreign investments will be affected, and the middle class whose holidays overseas will have gotten more expensive and eating out at expensive restaurants has to be cut down on.
This is where we roughly are, but the truth of the matter is that we have a question that is begging to be asked: how did it happen that one man holds so much power to himself that the fate of an entire ministry depends on him and solely him? That his exit from the position triggers a ratings downgrade? Surely there is something fundamentally wrong here.
Any sovereign jurisdiction that is a country or a state, worth the name of being called that, has policies in place that allow for the efficient running of its various organs – primarily for the benefit of its citizens, at least in their majority if not all, before anyone else. Now the ministry of finance is one such organ of a state that should have the policies that are as such that the collection of revenue for the public purse is efficient and impartial, and that this money is allocated as best as possible to the various other organs of state for optimal function. Further the ministry of finance oversees the expenditure of all departments and approves policies on how spending and accountability should be carried through. It should also have policies that marshal the economic growth of a country in accordance to the economic and development policies that the country subscribes to. When these policies are as infallible as they should be, a minister of finance should be anyone who is capability to be a custodian of these policies and ensure that those in the various organs under his or her jurisdiction (i.e. Revenue Services for revenue collection, Reserve Bank for the Banking industry and monetary policy, and the Treasury for all government expenditure) run in line with their mandates.
However here in South Africa, we seem to have found ourselves in a unique position where there seems to be one man who can be minister of finance without any valid explanation as to why this is so, at least to the general public. In my humble opinion, there is nothing specialised about being a minister – of anything – and as a result it is very normal to deploy people to portfolios where they are not necessarily specialists; if running ministries required specialist skills we would have stringent criteria for each portfolio and that is not the case, it is merely the prerogative of where the president wants to deploy you. This holds water very much where our ministry of finance is concerned as no minister has had a master’s level qualification (even by recognition of prior learning) in finance, economics, and economic policy. And yes the argument will be that both Pravin Gordhan and Nhlanhla Nene went into the ministry after a lengthy time serving in substructures of the ministry of finance, with Gordhan notably having been SARS commissioner for 10 years. However, what is so specialised that a minister from another portfolio would not be able to take over? Or anyone for that matter who has understanding of fiscal policy, economic policy, monetary policy and public finance? Why is one person being out of government supposedly going to weaken the standards of governance and public finance if we really have sound policies in place to chaperone how the fiscus is administrated? Is it the policies of government that drive governance and public finance or individuals assigned to certain positions because of unique superpower abilities?
We need to get answers to these questions so it never happens again that there exists a super minister who is irreplaceable.
What was the importance of Gordhan as Finance Minister?
Well when we want to be absolutely truthful, the real reasons for the outcry on Gordhan’s sacking are not that he is irreplaceable, it’s that to who is his successor’s loyalties aligned to. If there are alignments, it simply means that there are two camps at war and the national treasury is one of the organs of state whose control is being fought over. It is from this lens that we should analyse this matter, why is there a fight to control national treasury? And if Malusi Gigaba is batting for Zuma and the Guptas, who is Gordhan batting for? The ordinary people inhabiting this country? I would disagree with that because for ordinary people there’s nothing special they have benefited from Gordhan being finance minister, however, there’s a small group of people who are an economic majority, who stand to feel the effects of the falling rand and treasury siphoning business away from them to other allegiances in a big manner on their pockets.
So again, what is the real motive behind the protest action Gordhan called South Africans to mobilise for?
There is an old boys club of mass economic control in South Africa (and foreign investors), an elite group that managed to win CODESA and retain control of a large portion of our economy as part of the negotiated settlement. Monopolies that exist today in various industries, more often than not, consist of businesses that belong to this clique. The Zuma presidency brought with it a new player in the block, all of a blue moon there were Guptas who gradually began breaking in to play in every industry that was a closed ring. They were getting contracts that would normally be the food of the big boys, and their influence seemed to be increasing.
Make no mistake, the Guptas have benefited unduly because of their relationship with incumbent power, but that is not something unique to them. This clique of capital has had a decades-long relationship with the powers that be, and one could argue that they controlled the powers that be; hence all economic activity went through them or those whom they approve of.
Take ESKOM as an example. For most of its existence it has had 5 big companies supplying 80% of its coal. In 2013 Glencore bought out another big player in the form of Xstrata – to which ESKOM vehemently objected to the Competition Commission because this move rendered Glencore a power unto itself as far as coal supply and pricing was concerned, especially with the increased demand of the same grade of coal ESKOM uses coming from China – and after this move, we had loadshedding in 2014. Former ESKOM CEO Brian Molefe figured he would find a way to stop this runaway monopoly and throw the Guptas in the mix, helping them secure the finance for Optimum Coal and getting to supply some 4% of the total coal demand at very competitive prices. The processes were dubious of course and circumvented protocols, however it saved loadshedding and being spitefully supplied with wet coal to power stations in the middle of winter when there is peak, which would have all been Molefe’s yoke to carry.
So anyone who speaks at ESKOM should care to take historical consideration of the longstanding old boys club that has had contracts running for 30, 40 years and supplying coal at twice the median rate per ton to some power stations, and see that corruption was the order of the day on both sides.
Another example? The banks. While the banks of South Africa took a “moral stance” last year and closed the Gupta accounts, they forgot all about morality when they were fixing the price of the rand for the last 10 years, as the Competition Commission said that this goes back to 2007. So for 10 years, we have been ripped off in corrupt collusion by a cartel of banks whose heads are not afraid to go to the president and demand an appoint of their finance minister of choice, or close bank accounts of other corrupt parties in the name of civil responsibility; and we are supposed to think that anything they do is in our interest?
We can go on to SAA, that has also been under fire, but no one wants to be truthful as to why 90% of the business of SAA still goes to white companies, and is willing to admit that SAA has never been profitable ever since American Coleman Andrews’s tenure as CEO from 1998 to 2001 where he sold SAA aircraft and then leased them from his buddies and companies linked to him; and he gave Bain & Company (of which Coleman Andrews is a founder of Bain Capital) and McKinsey huge roles that consultants were paid R310 million in 12 months, preceding his exit in April 2001 against SAA net profits of R350 million, he then got a golden hankshake of R200 million – effectively bankrupting the airline.
By the way, as of November last year, Bain was being called back to consult at SAA by Treasury to “turn it around” again by developing a corporate plan to merge SAA, SA Express and Mango for about R12.1 million in costs, which means that two companies were concurrently consulting at SAA in January 2017 since Seabury was also there to advise the board on its restructuring.
As you remove more and more layers into this thing, you realise that the so-called safeguarding of the national purse by Gordhan is not really for public interest in the sincerest form of what public interest would be. It would then beg the question, if this nuclear deal was bound to benefit the incumbent old boys club of capital, would there be such uproar about it? It is really one question that really needs asking.
We are marred with problems that are on the doorstep of the ministry of finance, that if solved would increase the revenue available for government’s fiscal expenditure by a considerable sum, yet no one seems to care about them.
We have illicit financial flows that are running at R300 billion per annum (about 25% of our total revenue collection), the medical aid rebate system that throws away about R60 billion (4% of revenue collection) that could go into healthcare, the scandalous taxation of corporates to a point where corporate income tax accounts for far less than individual tax accounts for, and the mining and banking industries that I’d rather not talk about today. However in all of these problems that the ministry of finance and its functional organs are supposed to look into, they seem to be selectively championing certain “causes”, of which when these causes are threatened it is “Black Monday” and “Black Friday”. Can it be black something for all other problems? Like free education, record high unemployment, being the most unequal society in the world, the majority landless at the expense of a few? Yes? No? Maybe?
Analysing the downgrading of the credit rating of a country and other tools in the economic warfare arsenal
Something makes me very curious about the onslaught that has been on Zuma over the past few years, especially from the beginning of his second term. While the official storyline is that Zuma is incompetent and what not, capital all over the world has been very happy to let not only incompetent, but outright monstrous heads of state to have their way with the citizenry as long as it didn’t affect profiteering on its part. In fact, capital gladly funds political unrest and installs leaders siding with their agenda, and leaves them alone as long as they play to the given tune – Blaise Compaore, Mobutu Sese Seko, Teodoro Nguema Mbasogo, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, and the list continues. Some of the people I mention here have turned the presidency into a monarchy, have run some of the cruelest regimes in recent times, and yet continue receiving international awards. Robert Mugabe would have made the list prior to 2000 when the land reform policy began to be actioned, up until then he was a darling of the West, lauded with honorary doctorates from everywhere. It beckons then, there is something Jacob Zuma is doing that is not making the cartel of monopoly capital happy, and what exactly should be our main focus as we can only vaguely say right now.
It is quite obvious by now that ratings agencies work as part of the well-oiled Bretton Woods hit squad. They will be employed as a subduing technique to a country facing an economic hit – so eloquently described by John Perkins in his seminal book, Confessions of an Economic Hitman – or disciplinary technique to a control that is already under control but is attempting to wiggle its way out. History is littered with economic hits, and CODESA itself was a negotiated economic hit where we pledged to pay inherited debt in the billions of dollars that we didn’t even know anything about as it was loaned to the apartheid government and even took more debt from the IMF in December 1993 in the form of $850 million rand that came with the following conditions:
>Lower import tariffs,
>Cuts in state spending,
>Large cuts in public sector wages,
>Free trade routes,
>Excessive capital flight out of the borders of South Africa,
>Fiscal controlled economy; and
>Lastly but very importantly, the ANC must move away from its radical position of nationalisation of mines, banks, other strategic industries of the economy and to abort its policy of expropriation of land; things that were documented even in the Freedom Charter, it being the fallible document it is.
Signatories to this were members of the TECs Subcommittee of Finance that was led by Thabo Mbeki, and comprised of Gordhan, Maria Ramos, Trevor Manuel and Tito Mboweni among others. I have written about this before and it is common knowledge. But the fact here is that the ANC agreed to outright economic sabotage in the name of peaceful transition to democracy. The problem with democracy in a Western outlook is countries that are sycophantic to them, follow their ways and have opened their state coffers for them to loot in the name of free trade. A deviation from this sycophancy and you are labelled a dictatorship, the sovereignty of your country undermined and downgrades in ratings, followed by sanctions, and ultimately threats of military invasion by NATO forces.
Again, this is not unique, Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek finance minister, narrates the economic hit that Greece suffered where it was placed under austerity by its lenders after its bonds were downgraded to junk status, then given money at high interest that the lenders knew it would not pay. So when the payment deadlines arrived, they negotiated austerity measures where Greece was stripped off everything, including pension funds of ordinary Greeks, state owned enterprises and public works. What Varoufakis did show, was that this was not some accidental occurrence of bad fortune, but a carefully planned series of events by the global financial elite, he called out Bretton Woods institutions and how they have run an economic cartel of a valueless dollar ever since 1971 when Richard Nixon cancelled the direct international convertibility of the US dollar to gold – in simple terms we began having fiat current where the federal reserve can print as much or as little money as it deems necessary without pegging it to anything as opposed to gold standard, where every dollar was pegged to the amount of gold available in the federal reserve.
We can be certain that Zuma is a threat to a lot of things judging by how capital (and its media proxies) has mobilised against him; I mean when companies give their employees a day off to protest and organise transport then you know there is a nerve that is being hit because capital is forever aloof to critical issues in this country that will not affect them directly. At no point was the #feesmustfall campaign receiving such support, neither is it the case when land, unemployment, or living wages are put on the table. Then, it is okay for police to assault hooligans, but alas the rand falls and we are all in it together – problem is the rand is hitting 70% of South Africans no matter how it trades against the dollar because the economic status quo is fundamentally skewed. And we also know that historically, the status quo has been okay with corruption as long as it benefits certain people – hence you find cartels in construction, banking, insurance, mining and just about every sector you can think of; and they are very happy to cheat the public purse too in sorts of manners. So what has changed now, what is it that has gotten people who usually never have a care about protests to fund protests and civil disobedience?
The task now befalls all ordinary South Africans, to acquaint themselves with the knowledge of what is really going on and not find themselves being proxies and pawns to battles that will not yield anything for them. We need to start asking the right questions. Should Zuma fall, who is the replacement and what does this replacement bring that is fundamentally different and beneficial to all ordinary citizenry? Is this so-called democracy really working for us as ordinary people or is there a lack of any tangible measures of holding the elected public officials accountable in this style of democracy? If this is the case, then what style of governance would allow us the ordinary people to have stronger oversight and participation in all decisions and policy making?
When you get back where you live tonight, whether you are from the protests or not, ask yourself if you really know enough to question what is going on in our country, and how much of a capacity do you have to ask the critical question that go beyond headlines and actually deal with the knit grit of the matter; because, as Neely Fuller once said, if you fail to understand white supremacy and how it works, everything else that you understand will only confuse you. At the end of today, 27 million South Africans will go to bread hungry as they live below the breadline, similarly, there will sleep a group of people who are 10% of the population but have more wealth among them than the remaining 90%. These disparities will not be merged by Jacob Zuma’s departure as they precede his term of office (corruption similarly preceded Zuma and will likely outlive his tenure) – but they are an indication that there is something fundamentally wrong about our so-called democracy, yet the party in governance today has refused to take responsibility. How are we going to solve the problems that are going to outlive Jacob Zuma if nothing is done to take them on? Because we must rest assured that removing Zuma is not a cul-de-sac if it were to happen, because life must go on after that – and we must know what status quo we want after that and if just removing Zuma alone will materialise that status quo…and on the other side of the coin, we must also know that behind the media headlines, which 99% of the time exist for propaganda and not the truth as Mark Twain and Malcolm X taught about the media (keep in mind that the truth is always the first casualty of war). There could be an instance in which Zuma is doing something unprecedented, championing a cause that will awe many should they find out, and we cannot discount it until we know. This is thinking along the lines of what BRICS countries could be attempting. As farfetched as it could sound, our thinking approach should cover all bases and explore all options – like Frantz Fanon, we must make of ourselves people who always question, critically so…
I pause here, allow me to then retreat back to my sanctuary of silence and equations.