We risk a slide to the Stone Age

CityPress - - Business - Muzi Kuzwayo busi­ness@city­press.co.za

Africa runs the risk of fall­ing back into the Stone Age when com­pared with our trad­ing part­ners and the rest of the world. We can­not be­gin to quan­tify the dam­age caused by poor ed­u­ca­tion and weak lead­er­ship.

The African disease of self-en­rich­ment at the ex­pense of the ma­jor­ity has af­flicted our coun­try tremen­dously.

Sadly, this trend is not re­vers­ing on the rest of the con­ti­nent. We con­sis­tently elect lead­ers who are too old or ill and whose eyes are too fee­ble to see and pre­pare for the com­ing world.

Those in the seats of power are more con­cerned with longevity than legacy, and are un­con­cerned with the well­be­ing of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

The 74-year old Nige­rian Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari dis­ap­peared from his coun­try, only to reap­pear in Eng­land, and sent a mes­sage to his coun­try’s Par­lia­ment ask­ing for a six-week med­i­cal leave.

The Malaw­ian pres­i­dent, Pe­ter Mutharika, also van­ished only to reap­pear in Amer­ica. Ap­par­ently he was sick, too.

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma did the same a few years ago. He dis­ap­peared and reap­peared in Rus­sia, and now we are spooked by a pos­si­ble nu­clear deal.

Be­hav­iour of this na­ture ex­poses many African coun­tries to great dan­ger of strife and dis­in­te­gra­tion, which is harm­ful to progress.

Gen­eral Valery Gerasi­mov, chief of the Gen­eral Staff of the Armed Forces of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion, wrote a poignant es­say, The Value of Sci­ence in Pre­dic­tion, in which he states: “[A] per­fectly thriv­ing state can, in a mat­ter of months and even days, be trans­formed into an arena of fierce armed con­flict, be­come a vic­tim of for­eign in­ter­ven­tion, and sink into a web of chaos, hu­man­i­tar­ian catas­tro­phe and civil war.” We saw this in north Africa. This re­quires the pres­i­dent and the gov­ern­ing elite to be su­per­vig­i­lant.

In our coun­try the chal­lenges fac­ing the ANC are par­tic­u­larly wor­ry­ing.

It is now time to ask un­set­tling ques­tions, such as: Is the ANC past the point of no re­turn? Is it slid­ing to the grave, like many other great par­ties be­fore it? No or­gan­i­sa­tion can sur­vive such an all­con­sum­ing in­ter­nal strife as well as the re­lent­less siege by out­side forces, who are rightly en­gaged in whole­sale snip­ing at cor­rupt of­fi­cials.

When a coun­try is be­set by so many prob­lems, the lines be­tween gen­uine op­po­si­tion and jus­ti­fied sedi­tion be­come eas­ily blurred.

Dur­ing the hon­ey­moon years of our lib­er­a­tion, we saw im­pres­sive eco­nomic growth that dou­bled the size of the black mid­dle class.

And now, like a hastily con­structed aero­plane that has been pushed to its limit, the cracks in the sys­tem are show­ing in mid-air.

It has be­come clear that the nec­es­sary skill for ser­vice de­liv­ery is glar­ingly lack­ing in the var­i­ous tiers of gov­ern­ment, lead­ing to ma­jor dis­con­tent among the com­mu­ni­ties.

The lack­lus­tre eco­nomic growth, both lo­cally and glob­ally, is lead­ing to se­vere com­pe­ti­tion over di­min­ish­ing re­sources.

Many mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in small min­ing towns rely on cor­po­ra­tions to fund their ser­vice-de­liv­ery goals.

This is a dan­ger­ous pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship be­cause cor­po­ra­tions do it only to keep the lid on ri­ots so they can trans­port their goods in and out of those com­mu­ni­ties.

All of this is done in the guise of sus­tain­abil­ity, but in re­al­ity it is un­sus­tain­able, be­cause as soon as the cost of do­ing busi­ness ex­ceeds prof­its, busi­nesses will shut down, lead­ing to dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences in those com­mu­ni­ties.

At the mo­ment there is no light at the end of the tun­nel.

The cur­rent lead­er­ship lacks the in­tel­lec­tual ca­pac­ity to turn on any light.

We will just have to learn to live in this era of great un­cer­tainty caused by stu­pid­ity, and make sure we thrive de­spite it. Kuzwayo is the founder of Ig­ni­tive,

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