Leaders without a dream are merely facilitators
SOUTH Africa is blessed with the most accessible coal for electricity generation and the world’s secondrichest mineral hoard, as well as an excellent climate, plentiful water and good soils. It is a land with a glittering future, as bright as the gold rings on the hands of newly-weds, but only as substantial as the whisper of gas passing through a platinum catalytic converter – because there is this problem with facilitation and leadership.
Facilitation is about easing the process (say, reconciliation, redistribution of wealth, corruption, troughing, etc), whilst leadership is about going somewhere.
At a recent public education gathering, the facilitation-versus-leadership issue was starkly evident. There were brilliant people present, unable to lead because of the absence of a “dream”, and reduced to hopeful facil- itation going nowhere. Even some well-practised oratory could not inspire optimism because of the lack of substance. There were no signs that general education in this country will rise from the pits any time soon.
Which returns me to “our glittering future”: Is it real gold or only fool’s gold that will be shining? And the answer lies fair and square with our leadership, or what must presently be termed our “facilitatorship”.
Continue with the current facilitation of troughing and corruption, continue with facilitating Mugabe and illegal immigration, continue with facilitating the emigration of skilled people and continue with misguided education policies, and we will continue to not come close to fulfilling our potential.
Or start with for mulating an “African dream”, in which South Africa’s unique advantages are utilised: Strong encouragement of organic farming methods (more jobs); money poured into sports, arts and culture (better quality of life, less emphasis on materialism, less inequality); schools with 11-and 13year diplomas, the latter available to potential university entrants (similar to most other countries, more effective resource use, vastly better results); more local manufacturing with import controls (more jobs); more open labour legislation (more jobs); probably no BEE (apparently actually counter-productive); and much more.
And there is every chance of at least matching pace with our peers Brazil and India.
But realistically, that is only likely to happen if a second political party were to challenge strongly at the polls. That would greatly improve the outlook for getting a leader able to release the genie from the South African bottle.