Recently I attended a work related conference in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Kowloon in China.

While South Africa are proud members of BRIC’S, I noticed that our currency is not reflected on the money exchangers boards. I did not know that banks in China did not exchange currency without a bank account in China and simply referred foreigners to the street vendor money exchange.

As a BRIC’S member I thought that we had strong bilateral relations, yet ask any foreign exchange in South Africa to get Hong Kong Dollars and they will tell you to wait 3 days. Thus everyone exchanges to USA Dollars locally and then re-exchanges to Hong Kong Dollars in Hong Kong suffering exchange loss as a result. Also, if we are friends of China and BRIC’s in general, why is our currency measured by the exchange rate determined by the USA Dollar?

If we are trading partners with BRIC’S, why is the USA Dollar the standard for money exchange and why is the South African Rand worth only about 40 Chinese cents at the street exchange in Hong Kong? Similarly, why is our currency so weak compared to any other 1st and 2nd world country?

Are South African not allowed to visit abroad because of a deliberate planned weak currency? Are we trapped down south, who is liable for the weakness of our Rand and thus our inability to travel?

Even pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina is expensive and ten times compared to 20 years ago, why?

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress