Jeal­ousies de­rail am­bi­tion

CityPress - - Voices -

Talvin Schultz via email

In dif­fer­ent ways, the ar­ti­cles “You can’t cre­ate in­dus­tri­al­ists like magic” and “A duty to speak” (City Press, Septem­ber 28 2014) point to facets chal­leng­ing Pix­ley ka Isaka Seme’s pas­sion­ate rea­son­ing at the ANC’s found­ing congress against petty jeal­ousies in the pol­i­tics of civil so­ci­ety.

While there are many in­ter­pre­ta­tions of his rea­son­ing, the most lib­eral would be that pre­sump­tions about the other pre­cludes even mu­tu­ally de­sired op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Her­man Mashaba takes is­sue with the state’s pre­sump­tions that in­dus­tri­al­ists could be cre­ated like magic.

Based on his per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences and ob­ser­va­tions, the in­dus­trial en­trepreneur­ship ethic is the ded­i­cated cre­ative ex­plo­ration at and beyond the bound­aries of what are pre­sumed to be lim­i­ta­tions. It is a nur­tured ethic and not a magic cre­ation. T.O. Molefe presents a dif­fer­ent ver­sion. He ar­gues against his per­sonal ef­fi­ciency pre­sump­tion not to waste his time and en­ergy with those clas­si­fied as other, in­clud­ing those who now claim con­ver­sion.

He now en­ter­tains doubts whether this pre­sump­tion is not pre­clud­ing him from growth op­por­tu­ni­ties.

But why do we en­ter­tain con­tem­po­rary cur­rency to th­ese and other flawed pre­sump­tions, es­pe­cially when the ev­i­dence and rea­son sug­gest oth­er­wise? The short an­swer is that we pre­sume the cred­i­bil­ity of stereo­types and are ad­dicted to this pre­sump­tion be­cause it jus­ti­fies our petty jeal­ousies with­out rea­son.

De­spite this predilec­tion, we made re­mark­able progress when we sub­or­di­nated our jeal­ousies for no­bler causes. We did so by adopt­ing the Free­dom Char­ter and in adopt­ing a Con­sti­tu­tion with pro­tected in­di­vid­ual hu­man rights. But noble in­ten­tions are blunt in­stru­ments to turn the surg­ing tide of mu­tual mis­trust cre­ated and sus­tained by stereo­typ­i­cal petty jeal­ousies.

Only a state and or­gans of state are cred­i­ble stereo­types de­serv­ing of civil mis­trust, and the onus is on them to es­tab­lish and main­tain tol­er­a­ble lev­els of trust. It is an en­dur­ing les­son built as the “sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers” into our Con­sti­tu­tion and it would be chal­lenged, es­pe­cially dur­ing this most try­ing phase of our re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

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