From the editor
over the weekend, I drove through Marikana, where I spent quite a bit of time between 2012 and 2014. All week, I’ve been struggling to shake that feeling of utter despair I always leave the North West’s platinum fields with – so much natural wealth squandered; so little visible change since that fateful August day in 2012. Add to that the drought, the tanking rand, the water shortages, the steel industry under siege, Zuma’s jet...
It reminded me of another depressing Monday morning late in 2012, a few weeks after the killings at Marikana. Mineworkers across the country were on strike. Sad South Africa, The Economist splashed on its front cover, carefully dissecting all our shortcomings in a scathing lead article. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s had just kicked off their downgrades of SA’s debt.
I had to interview Bobby Godsell, who built his reputation as a visionary leader during the mining strikes of 1987 and, at the time of our interview, was just named the winner of the Sunday Times Lifetime Achiever Award. Times are tough, Godsell admitted. “But don’t talk about a problem if you’re not also going to talk about a solution. The problems are well known.”
Admittedly, most of us can’t do much to the tanking rand, the steel sector’s troubles or Zuma’s jet. But are we doing anything when it comes to those matters where we can actually have an impact? It’s easy to blame government and political leaders. Much harder is to be an active citizen who is, as the beautifully written vision statement of the National Development Plan states, sweeping and cleaning one’s own yard.
In the words of Godsell: “I think the real challenge is to love your country, demand your rights and the right to criticise everybody, but to work for solutions.”
Matter of fact
In our Fund in Focus in the 5 November issue, we quoted Amanda de Wet, fund manager of the Plexus Wealth BCI Property Fund, as saying they are optimistic about Redefine’s prospects. In fact, the quote should have read as follows: “We aren’t optimistic about the growth side of Redefine. We think there are a number of other growth opportunities.” We regret the error.