Fo­cus on the fu­ture: South Africa could learn a lot from Viet­nam

The Mercury - - NATION - MARTIN LEVY | Johannesburg

THERE is some­thing from Viet­nam that South Africa could learn from. While the pow­ers of the US, China and Rus­sia fought in Viet­nam for dif­fer­ent rea­sons in an all-out con­flict that in­volved the en­tire re­gion, the out­come could have been sim­i­lar in South Africa.

South Africa was al­ready on the cusp of a civil war with Man­dela ad­mit­ting that the ANC was be­ing trained and fi­nanced by the com­mu­nists.

Ev­ery­one agrees that apartheid was an abom­i­na­tion, but the out­come in South Africa could have been so much worse than it was.

For one, there could have been out­right civil war, with the en­tire fab­ric of so­ci­ety be­ing de­stroyed, deaths and de­struc­tion of the coun­try like in Viet­nam and Cam­bo­dia. In Viet­nam alone there were some­thing like 1 to 4mil­lion deaths (es­ti­mates dif­fer) over­all.

Then from 1975 to about 1995, Viet­nam im­ple­mented the com­mu­nist ideal un­til the coun­try re­alised it was not lift­ing its peo­ple out of poverty, and turned to­wards cap­i­tal­ist ideas.

Since then the coun­try has pros­pered and con­tin­ues to do so.

Sur­round­ing coun­tries like Thai­land were 20 years ahead of Viet­nam be­cause they had em­braced Cap­i­tal­ism right from the very be­gin­ning, and had ho­tels and a boom­ing tourism in­dus­try.

Viet­nam has ul­ti­mately fol­lowed the same model. Viet­nam is also a rel­a­tively small coun­try with a pop­u­la­tion of over 90 mil­lion peo­ple. There is lit­tle crime and it has a boom­ing econ­omy, where man­u­fac­tur­ers are pro­duc­ing many goods.

I feel South Africa could learn a lot from Viet­nam.

If they can leave the past in the past, then maybe South Africa could do the same: fo­cus on the fu­ture and make the coun­try safe, ef­fec­tive and com­pet­i­tive, like Viet­nam has.

In South Africa costs are still too high such as ac­com­mo­da­tion, cars and the ba­sic cost of liv­ing, which means ev­ery­one has to make the change to make the coun­try bet­ter.

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