Ig­no­rance is the blight paralysing our coun­try

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

Aspe­cial­ist doc­tor at a pub­lic hos­pi­tal had been ask­ing for a bone drill for a while. A ten­der was is­sued af­ter snail­ing its way through the cor­ri­dors of bu­reau­cracy and, like a lotto ticket, some­one won it.

Fi­nally, an ex­cited pro­cure­ment of­fi­cer went to the doc­tor and said: “Doc­tor, here is your drill at last.”

The doc­tor was dis­ap­pointed be­cause a drill that bores holes into a wall doesn’t work well on hu­man bones.

The ten­der­preneur in ques­tion just went to the lo­cal hard­ware store and pro­cured a drill.

The hos­pi­tals, this doc­tor told me, are los­ing lots of money be­cause of peo­ple who get ten­ders even though they don’t know the work.

Learn­ing on the job is a good thing – in fact, it is the best way to learn, but when learn­ing on the job af­fects the lives of peo­ple, ex­pe­ri­ence be­comes vi­tal. It be­comes an as­set that must be recorded on the balance sheet.

Ig­no­rance is like death. The dead and the ig­no­rant do not know what is go­ing on in the real world. They don’t know the look and feel of progress and, worse still, they do not have the abil­ity to make it hap­pen.

Ig­no­rance has be­come the blight that is paralysing the coun­try, but, sadly, it is also cel­e­brated be­cause the ig­no­rant have as­cended to the pin­na­cle of power.

The re­sult is mak­ing the lives of or­di­nary South Africans un­nec­es­sar­ily harder to bear.

It ham­pers ser­vice de­liv­ery and ul­ti­mately af­fects eco­nomic growth.

Per­haps some of the peo­ple who’ve been wait­ing for their bones to be drilled are small busi­ness­peo­ple who pos­i­tively af­fect the lives of many other peo­ple in their sup­ply chain.

Per­haps they’re or­di­nary men and women who have the right to de­cent health­care be­cause they are cit­i­zens of this coun­try.

When cam­paign­ing for mayor of Ekurhu­leni, Mzwandile Masina aptly de­scribed his city as the scrap­yard of Jo­han­nes­burg.

The idea of the famed aerotropo­lis, he com­plained, didn’t seem to ben­e­fit the lo­cals.

Ekurhu­leni is sup­posed to be a fu­ture metropoli­tan sub­re­gion where the in­fra­struc­ture and econ­omy are cen­tred on the air­port as the core of the econ­omy.

It sounds like a great idea, con­sid­er­ing that the core con­trib­u­tor to the econ­omy in that area used to be min­ing.

But, he com­plained, try get­ting to the air­port from Duduza town­ship – you have to take the taxi to the Nigel sta­tion; take a train from Nigel to Springs. Wait. Then take a train to Jo­han­nes­burg. Change at the Ger­mis­ton sta­tion. Wait. Then take a train to Isando. Then walk to the air­port. By that time, the whole day is gone. Al­ter­na­tively, take a costly taxi ride all the way to Jo­han­nes­burg Park Sta­tion, and then take the Gau­train.

It’s poor plan­ning, and we now know that the trains that have been bought by the Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of SA will not help the peo­ple.

Of­ten, in­com­pe­tence is mis­taken for cor­rup­tion. And weed­ing out ig­no­rance re­quires money and time.

It re­quires a large in­vest­ment in ed­u­ca­tion, with as lit­tle bu­reau­cracy as pos­si­ble be­cause bu­reau­cracy is like a sponge – it ab­sorbs all the re­sources like wa­ter, with­out ben­e­fit­ing those around it.

There needs to be a whole new way of think­ing about how we fix our prob­lems.

BEE pro­pelled us to a new and bet­ter place; there can be no deny­ing that, as the black mid­dle class has dou­bled.

But it is like an aero­plane that is on the run­way – the wheels alone can­not take us to the next level. It’s time to change gear. It is time to go full throttle and give our young peo­ple a proper ed­u­ca­tion so that we can spread our wings and fly. Kuzwayo is the founder of Ig­ni­tive,

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