Finweek English Edition - - EDITOR’S NOTE - PEET KRUGER

ARE THERE still lead­ers in Gov­ern­ment with enough back­bone to with­stand the loud calls for in­stant so­lu­tions from the left and the right and who can lead the coun­try to prac­ti­cal, work­able so­lu­tions? If there are, now’s the time for them to come for­ward and cool the pas­sions be­fore those shout­ing the odds cause South Africa’s econ­omy ir­repara­ble harm.

The cur­rent weak ANC lead­er­ship – plus the heat of the ap­proach­ing 2012 lead­er­ship elec­tion in the or­gan­i­sa­tion – is a fer­tile breed­ing ground for ex­treme viewpoints to dom­i­nate the na­tional agenda. Ev­ery­one claims to be speak­ing on be­half of the poor while they are clearly only try­ing to pro­mote their own group’s in­ter­ests at the ex­pense of the poor and to the detri­ment of the econ­omy as a whole.

The ANC Youth League is call­ing for na­tion­al­i­sa­tion in or­der to change the colour of money from white to black. You only have to look at the life­style of its lead­ers to see it isn’t a ques­tion of concern for their im­pov­er­ished sup­port­ers in SA’s squat­ter camps but just a small elite group covet­ing a glit­ter­ing Hol­ly­wood life­style. That this kind of life­style is un­sus­tain­able and sucks the econ­omy dry, with­out adding any value, is of lit­tle concern to them. They throw fist­fuls of money around, money of ques­tion­able ori­gin.

On the other hand, there are the trades unions, whose be­hav­iour causes as much dam­age through vi­o­lent strikes and the in­sis­tence on such rigid labour prac­tices that only those who al­ready have jobs are pro­tected at the ex­pense of the mil­lions whose op­por­tu­ni­ties are de­stroyed.

While the one group is blindly chas­ing in­stant wealth, the other wants po­lit­i­cal power. As for the trades unions, you could at least be­lieve they’re re­ally con­cerned about ne­go­ti­at­ing a bet­ter life and “de­cent jobs” for their mem­bers – though they’re se­ri­ously mis­in­formed about how that can be sus­tain­ably achieved.

The hot­ter the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate be­comes, the less we hear from the ANC’s lead­ers who un­der­stand how the econ­omy works. Voices of rea­son are dif­fi­cult to hear when bricks are be­ing hurled.

It’s time for po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to state clearly that there are no in­stant so­lu­tions. The so­lu­tion is hard work and sac­ri­fice over a long pe­riod.

Talk about “eco­nomic lib­er­a­tion” fol­low­ing po­lit­i­cal lib­er­a­tion cre­ates un­re­al­is­tic and unattain­able ex­pec­ta­tions. Eco­nomic lib­er­a­tion will only be achieved when all of­fi­cials, teach­ers, po­lice and nurses work hard and hon­estly ev­ery day in the ser­vice of their fel­low cit­i­zens.


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