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One man for himself, comrades

 Dear Cabinet and Congress members

 COMRADES, I bring you sad news this week.

There will be no bail-out for that Ponzi scheme called MKM.

I understand that amongst those who fell for that sham of an investment scheme are congress members, opposition zealots, judges, cabinet ministers and a lot of ordinary citizens but there is really nothing that my government can do about it.

To understand why my government has reached this position a little context is crucial.

Some years ago a man with very little education claimed to have found the answer to the poverty that had ravaged our people for years.

He said he could make money multiply spontaneously in a few months.

And so people flocked to his offices with their little savings.

Some gave him their pensions while others handed him their life’s savings.

Word spread fast that there was a messiah in town who could make money grow.

And so the people brought in more money.

Some borrowed from banks to invest in the semi-literate man’s scheme.

As some people came back from his office carrying bags of money their neighbours felt left out and they too sold their cattle and flocked to the man.

As the scam grew bigger even judges, cabinet ministers and politicians handed their monies to the magician.

When the authorities got wind of the magician’s purported miracles they paid him a visit.

“How do you make money grow so fast?” the authorities asked the magician.

Irritated, the magician retorted: “Why is it your business? How I make money grow is none of your business!”

So the authorities began a tussle with the magician to reveal his secret until he cracked and revealed it.

“You see, it’s a simple trick and I am shocked that you people who claim to be learned have not figured it out yet,” the magician said.

“Khotso gave me his money first and I used it to pay myself the interest on the money I had ‘invested’.

“I then told Khotso to encourage more people to bring their money. And soon enough Thabo came running with his thousands. I used Thabo’s money to pay Khotso’s money and then told Thabo to look for more people.

“More people joined and the scheme became prosperous. We just couldn’t stop. John’s money paid Libe and John got his from Lerato. And so on.”

The authorities were startled.

First they told him that his business was illegal, evil and unsustainable.

But the magician couldn’t understand how a bunch of men in suites could doubt his trick when more than 300 000 had bought into it.

When the authorities looked at the magician’s affairs they realised that the days of his enterprise were numbered.

They found that the magician could not sustain his trick for long.

For a start, there were now more people waiting for their money to multiply than those who brought their money for multiplication.

The pool of clients willing to bring their money for spontaneous growth was running dry.

Also the magician had not told the people who were bringing their money that part of it would be used to fund his obsession with cars.

In a few years he had accumulated hundreds of them.  He could drive a new car everyday of the year.

The magician was now in trouble but he refused change his modus operandi. There was no way he could change a trick that had worked so well for him.

The authorities decided to shutdown the magician’s enterprise.

Hell broke loose.

The rulers of the country were not there when the people were handing their money to the magician.

Nor were they present when some of them decided to empty their bank accounts so they could give their money to the magician.

Yet the people were up-in-arms demanding that the rulers pay the magician’s client on his behalf.

This is the predicament that we face on MKM, comrades.

My government is being asked to bail-out a dubious scheme when the perpetrator is alive.

My government is being asked to clean up the stinking mess of a man who is still alive.

But that will not happen.

Simon Thebe-ea-Khale must pay the people what he owes them. 

It is him who promised the people that he had the mystical powers to make money multiply.

Yet even if my government had the mind to pay, there is no way it can afford to raise that kind of money.

My government is broke comrades.

Sacu, our cash cow for years, has run dry.

Donors have become a bit stingy because they have to sort out their own problems first before they think about our plight.

Apart from that we have sick people to treat, children to educate and old people to feed.

Then we have hundreds of orphans that urgently need our support.

We have roads, schools and hospitals to build. 

We also have thousands of indolent public servants that want to get paid every month.

Now tell me comrades, where I can get M500 million to pay MKM’s 300 000 clients.

In any case bailing out MKM will set a wrong precedence.

Besides, it may create the impression that people can just open their pyramid schemes and my government will pick up the tab when things go wrong.

It rewards greed.

It rewards people for taking uncalculated risks in a rush to make a quick buck. 

It promotes indolence.

That is why, comrades, this government will not be spending a cent on bailing out MKM.

We can bail-out Chinese firms and proper banks but not pyramid schemes.

It is immoral and illegal for a government to help out an illegal firm.

I know not of any government that has made such a reckless move.

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