To my mind
VOICES ARE quietly and gradually being raised which show that common sense is starting to prevail in several areas. It’s all the more heartening that those voices are emanating from the ranks of staunch ANC supporters. When somebody like Allan Boesak says in a radio talk show that Government is starting to notice through “damage and disgrace” that it’s made a “fundamental mistake” in driving skilled people out of the country through the injudicious implementation of affirmative action it naturally has far more impact than if the same statement had come from the ranks of the opposition.
Although that statement can’t have an immediate effect in reversing the dangerous staff decline at SAA Technical it can help prevent the unbridled erosion of vital skills. In the case of an airline, a lack of skills and a lowering of standards could lead to the disturbing possibility of an aircraft crashing as a result of poor maintenance.
Though less spectacular, the effects of a lack of judgment on the part of Government can be equally destructive. Education is one of the areas where Government has failed dismally – another reason for the considerable lack of skills in this country.
It’s heartening that highly regarded women such as Mamphela Ramphele and Wendy Luhabe not only criticised SA’s flawed education system but went as far as to declare the hated Bantu education of the apartheid regime meant more to them than what was currently being dished up to children in township schools.
Even though the open discussions this past weekend in the old women’s prison on Constitution Hill, in which eight prominent South Africans touched on various contentious issues, possibly had a lot to do with the power struggle within the ANC they can’t be dismissed as mere politicking. No – far too many unpopular yet sobering pronouncements were made.
A week or so ago it also seemed that voices from civil society were taken seriously: the dreaded expropriation Bill, which would give the relevant minister the power to expropriate any property if it served the “public interest”, was halted. Common sense also triumphed in Parliament last week when the health committee scrapped the controversial Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Bill, which would have given the Health Minister the power to decide on the registration of new substances, again on the basis of the delightfully vague formulation of “public interest”.
It’s heartening that ill-conceived legislation has been stifled and that Government listens to the well-founded complaints of concerned South Africans. It’s a healthy development when Government’s loyal supporters start tackling issues such as the dire state of education and reckless affirmative action.
Without it the country – and not just SA Airways – would be heading for disaster. Price increase INFLATION HAS also affected Finweek. The price increase from R14 to R14,95 – effective from September – is, at 6,79%, a mere fraction of rising costs we have to battle with. However, we hope our readers will find the increase is dwarfed by the extensive financial, economic and investment insight the magazine offers.