Get ready for a supposed risky year!

Already, many New Year’s resolutions have been broken (let us just be honest), while many remain optimistic their ambitious plans will bear fruit.

Optimism, after all, is so important in life, with its many proverbial storms.

What will 2017 hold for us? Time will tell, especially for the matriculants (by the way, a huge congratulations to our local learners who excelled in the exams) who face an uncertain future of national and global economic upheavals.

And talking of time, have you heard about the analyst writing for Time magazine who declared that South Africa is likely to be one of the top 10 risks to the world this year?

No ordinary magazine, but a world-recognised publication that has now declared South Africa to be a risk to the world. Thank you, Mr Analyst for dampening our enthusiasm and optimism, branding us as a world risk!

US political scientist Ian Bremmer called SA “struggling” and laid the blame mostly at the feet of President Jacob Zuma, who was described as a “deeply unpopular president beset by corruption allegations” and “afraid to pass power to someone he doesn’t trust”.

He basically said that the resulting infighting over succession stalls any momentum toward crucial economic reform in the country and limits South Africa’s ability to offer leadership needed to stabilise conflicts inside neighbouring countries.

South Africa also continues to face being downgraded to junk status by major credit-ratings agencies.

To be honest, I don’t think you need to be a political scientist to figure out that 2017 is going to be another tough year for South Africa, judging by the ongoing political circus, and it will definitely be an even tougher year for consumers, no matter our optimism.

By the way, the risks the report named, in order of concern, were Unpredictable America; China Overreacting; A Power Vacuum in Europe; A Pause in Economic Progress; Technology Disrupting the Middle East; Politics Interfering with Central Banks; The White House vs Silicon Valley; Turkey’s Ongoing Crackdown; North Korea Rattling Its Saber; and A Struggling South Africa.

Over December, I travelled down to the Eastern Cape, passing through the Free State, and was again reminded that despite our president’s efforts to make SA a risk, the impact of the drought from last year has also done its share of damage and its devastating impact has spilled over into the new year.

This, along with our volatile economy and the uncertainty of Trump’s presidency in America, will most likely put increasing pressure on the cost of living.

Noticed how expensive food has become? The other day I was astounded that a bar of soap now costs around R14, and processed meat in a tin, almost R20.

This is evidence of the continuing spike in food prices that will haunt us in this year.

This is, therefore, not a good time to take on a lot of debt into 2017.

What else can we expect for this new year? Who really knows, but there will be plenty of drama, joy, tears, laughter, cheer and jeer.

At least you can know we as the Advertiser will be there as your publication to cover the moment that will make us smile or make us angry or make us cry, for we remain proudly Boksburg, which remains a city to be proud of.

Riaan Engelbrecht

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