The need to Decentralize the South African Economy

RET or Radical Economical Transformation goes beyond what our current Government can truly deliver, and none of the current political parties seem to have any alternatives except following up on the mainstream trend set by the global trend setters such as the US, UK, Russia, China and Japan.

South Africa is sitting with all of her proverbial eggs in one basket; and this not only poses a great risk for South Africa as a whole, but is also provides unique avenues for RET to take place.

What I am talking about is the Metros and their rapid growth, not only in infrastructure, but also in People being born in these metros, and those who migrate to the metros for employment opportunities.

Government as it is, and society as it is structured can hardly keep up with this rapid growth as is evident in the rapid growing in townships and high density accommodation in the suburbs, and it will grow exponentially faster in the foreseeable future, driving up prices in rent and ownership as space and resources becomes less available.

This accompanied by the 4th Industrial Revolution which is on our doorstep makes it necessary for radical changes in the way we think about economic activities of the populace and how we keep an ever growing number of people without purpose occupied in a positive and constructive manner, and a way to give them hope to achieve or work towards a society worth while were all are treated equal and fair.

The number of unemployed will grow, and so will poverty and all the negative social issues such as violent crime which accompanies it;  unless the Government introduces Universal Basic Income or alternative avenues of growth such as infrastructure development to and in the smaller towns and rural areas.

Currently most manufacturing and processing activities take place in the metros, and the main reason for this is because of the infrastructure and markets which exist in these metros.

Little or no development is taking place in the smaller towns and the rural areas of South Africa because of the fact that it will be less profitable to build up infrastructure in these areas which can facilitate these economic activities, Government should not worry itself with being profitable.

In order to solve the man made South African issue of poverty, we need to look at decentralizing the economy and move away from the idea to see how many people we can fit in on the current and under strain metro infrastructure, and offload some of that pressure into the smaller towns and the rural areas, in which real growth can be seen and felt by the People from the ground up.

Key for the positive growth of South Africa, is development of the smaller towns and the rural areas, and key to developing the smaller towns and rural areas would be the infrastructure that leads to these towns, and this is the role of Government, creating jobs and a collective National Goal.

Local companies can be given incentives to relocate to smaller towns after the infrastructure  has been developed, and they will naturally grow the economies of the smaller towns from the bottom up by providing local job opportunities from local communities.

Foreign companies can be tasked, as part of their corporate social responsibility duties, to move their operations which is not dependable on fixed geographic resources, to these smaller towns and rural areas to give these communities a cash injection which will in turn grow new markets.

This is a very basic framework idea and by no means the full solution, but I believe that it is better to distribute risk than to concentrate it, and also I believe civil society such as Civic Movement of SA has a big roll to play in getting Government to act on projects such as decentralizing the economy and creating a united South Africa for all.

Government Function, Our Common Tongue

In the NP years under Apartheid I remember I was taught SeSotho from Std 2 until Std 5, and that suddenly stopped when I went to high school and I was made to choose between German and Latin.

This was always curious to me, and I thought why Latin and German?  I am in South Africa, not man colonies of ancient Romans around, nor did I see any German outposts in South Africa.

Much later it dawned on me that this was most likely be design, to keep the “races” separated.

I’ve called upon Government to make it mandatory for white kids in particular to take a 3rd language, one of the local South African languages, as a bonus subject in order to bring the kids closer, because once you can understand each other, it is easier to relate to each other and to carry each other’s struggles on your heart.

This got me thinking that Government should also extend such a program to it’s adult white citizens, and make it mandatory, if you want to vote, then you have to pass the local African language of your choice, and that Government should provide this as a free service.

This will not only serve in job creation for the bunch of teachers who are unemployed, but it will also build a common bridge between the different cultures in South Africa.

 

Preventative Maintenance or Damage Control … what will White South Africa choose?

equity
noun

the quality of being fair and impartial.
“equity of treatment”

synonyms: fairness, fair-mindedness, justness, justice, equitableness, fair play; impartiality, even-handedness, lack of discrimination/bias/prejudice/bigotry, egalitarianism; honesty, integrity, rightness, rightfulness, rectitude, uprightness, righteousness, properness, decency, goodness, honourableness, scrupulousness, conscientiousness; reasonableness, sensibleness; disinterest, disinterestedness, neutrality, objectivity, balance, open-mindedness

Fast forward 23 years into South Africa’s freedom after the 1994 elections and have a look around the country.

The Freedom to vote and to be associated with whom you want and to have your say is enjoyed by all, nobody knows this better than the now President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma.

The freedom the People are enjoying now also ensures them that they openly express their frustration, not only towards him as a party leader, but also towards political parties, unions and civil movement groups in general, as there is equity among South Africans in this regard.

Sadly however this new found freedom didn’t buy equity in all things, only in some things.

There is still no equity when it comes to the millions of poor, or as Marx would have called them, the Have Not’s who are predominantly black South Africans.

As the roaring young lion of South African politics eloquently stated
There can be no Freedom without Economic Freedom” – Julius Malema

For they are left to rot in the ever increasing lokasies without real hope to escape the generational poverty which was introduced with the formation of the Union and it’s need for and ever increasing cheap labor force which was then represented by the black populace of South Africa.

Very little has changed since the early 1900’s until now and this fact, is most arguably, the most important but also overlooked fact by millions in South Africa.

Many people, including a minority of white South Africans lately,  are falling around trying to remedy the symptoms which the Rainbow Nation are experiencing today but failing to identify the true cause.

The lack of equity experienced by our fellow black South Africans which in turn creates breeding grounds for desensitized beings, hardly human anymore,  who feel nothing for others because their value is estimated at very little or none by a system of control which values them as the cheap labor.

Because of this it is time that White South Africa must decided what their role will be in South Africa as a collective.

White South Africa has an obligation to their fellow black countrymen to hold Government accountable for the wastage of the tax money which was supposed to bring about equity in all things, not just in free speech and being able to vote.

Equity which was robbed of them when they encountered the colonialist capitalist which took South Africa by force.

White South Africa has an obligation to make sure that townships develop into safe neighborhoods with lively commerce which in turn would create sustainable income.

Some would argue otherwise, saying that they did what was expected of them, they gave up a percentage of their earnings to Government for this goal, they also paid VAT on items.

Others would say that they brought civilization to Africa with technological advancement and that bygones should be bygones and that we must just move forward, but how is that possible with such a massive weight which is embodied in the inequity of our fellow black South Africans holding us back?

Does white South Africa have enough common sense to take heed of the example Bouwer Bosch exhibited and get directly involved and acknowledging their contribution and gain and recognizing their privilege without trying to protect it, but to rather make sure that their privilege is not a privilege, but a norm for all?

Because now is the time that White South Africa must move in a consolidated effort to support their fellow black countrymen in achieving equity … or they must consider themselves casualties of war and try and do damage control.

I hope for the sake of our collective future as a Nation, that White South Africa wakes up and see that their part is not yet done.

The Pitchforks are Coming …

2014, Nick Hanauer, a filthy rich plutocrat was invited for a talk on TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) and he delivered a warning message for all the Have’s of the World.

The message was simple and in a nutshell boiled down to ‘Repent or pay the ultimate price’

A scary thought that one of the richest men in the World has come to that conclusion and has warned the World in general about their ways, yet to be ignored by the general populace.

All over the World the signs are there, the system as it is is failing. Since the collapse of the US Banking System and knock on effect it caused in World which could be seen in the rise of resistance to the system of control which is called Capitalism in the form of protests such as the #OccupyWallStreet movement to name but one of many such movement which arose after the crash.

You may wonder why I said that the capitalist system is a system of control?  Is it not just an economic and political system?

Yes, it is both those things, but it is something more, for you see, through capitalism, the Government can keep a tight grip on the populace and swing votes in their favor as long as the stay ahead of the wave.

The reason I am saying this is because there is no real freedom for any man, woman or child born into the system, unless you are part of the political and corporate elite, or if you by some good fortune, were at the right time, at the right place with the right materials to start up your own little enterprise.

Without money, things like taking your kids to a place like the National Kruger Park is out of the question, firstly, you need time off from work (if your Master allows it) then, you need money to finance your trip to the park, after this you need money to pay entrance to the park, and then accommodation etc.

The average Joe on street does not have the finances to take himself or his family anywhere.  So ask yourself, is this average Joe free to move where he wants, when he wants as enshrined in the Constitution of South Africa in Chapter 2, the Bill of Rights?

Money buys “Freedom” , or so people think … but even those who are, like Scrooge McDuck, filthy rich and swimming in the cash, have to build massive walls around themselves to protect them and their cash from the “evil” Have Not’s of society who wants to plunder and loot that which was acquired in their lifetime.

In effect, building their own prisons with 12 foot walls and state of the art security systems to protect them and their loot.

How narrow minded …

Here in South Africa, we are suffering the ills of our former Liberation Movement, which has turned self serving scavenging hyenas, the ANC Government.

They have, through their constant looting of the Nation’s Tax coffers leeched the life out of South Africa, and now they are standing back when the question regarding “Free Quality Education” as promised in Freedom Charter and in Chapter 2, the Bill of Rights are being asked and shunting the “problem” off to the Universities to figure out while the students are on a rampage.

It is time for the middle “class” to wake up and smell the manure … they have more in common with the Have Not’s and those who are still suffering under Economic Apartheid in South Africa, and they should stand up and fight the Government, and the system of control in order to buy some more time through initiatives such as raising the minimum wage to a fair living wage of R10 000 so that we can implement the changes which needs to happen to keep the country from falling into civil war.

Aluta Continua, amandla awethu …

Communities, Us vs Them … where do you draw the line?

We have all been part of this “phenomena”, and we continue to do so on a daily basis without realizing what our position is within the bigger organisim; and picture.

South Africa is a very diverse country, different folks and they all have their different strokes, and we can all recognise this regardless of our own position in life which forms part of a bigger picture.

I call it a phenomena because it just happens, with or without your concent when you as an individual or you as part of a family unit decide to take up habitation with other people in an established group or community.

This is also true for Valhalla

No, not the Nordic dwelling of the gods, but the Valhalla much closer to the heart of “Die Republiek van Suid Afrika”

The issue at hand is regarding the construction of a mosque in a very Afrikaans-Christian orientated neighborhood.

On the one side, you have 3000 residents of Valhalla saying that a mosque should not be errected because of various issues.  Some of the issues one might descibe as issues with a racist undertone.

Other issues are issues which clearly show the ignorance of people when it comes to other people, their culture and their believes.

On the other side you have 250 Muslim families who make up part of the Valhalla community as they are staying there who want a place for worship.

Clearly, if one works on the motto of Commander Spock which some of you might know is truly a logical approach, then one should accept the fact that “The needs of the many outweight the needs of the few, or the one

As much as I cherish the logic of Spock one has to make exceptions, and this has been true in many of the Star Trek episodes and movies where the Prime Directive was overlooked to ensure the well being of all, and for me, this is where we should meet each other as a group inside of a bigger group.

So, the question needs to be asked, when does it become an “Us vs Them” issue when both parties are staying within the same community?

As for me person opinion on the matter.

For me there is only an “us”, smaller communities which make up little bigger communities, which eventually falls under the community of mankind.

The Straw that broke the Camel’s back

The Straw that broke the Camel’s back

A lot can be said about South Africa, her history and her people, some of it good, some of it bad, depending on how you want to view life.

But what can be said about her people is the amount of patience they have and ability to pull together when times are rough.

In a sense, one has to explain the backdrop of what I am speaking about, and one must stare the realities of the past in the face, confront it, work around it, as not to be haunted by it in the future.

For years South Africa has suffered the biggest failure of Imperialism, and that is to build your empire on top of the ashes of bones of a broken communities of people.

Imperialism, driven by the human “Greed Gene” has been the cause of great conflicts, but also great advancement, and one should already remember it in such a way.  The problem lies in the fact that someone need to do the work, and not all is really willing to work for it.

This Empire wanted the minerals in the soil of South Africa, and this also brought about a South African Genocide which few really remember these days, home and abroad.

This Empire also imparted the gift of Segregation Laws on us through a man called Sir Milner, and he and fellow imperialistic figures like Rhodes made sure that they would have “slave labour” to do their bidding.

This brought about the Apartheid State of South Africa which should also not be forgotten, because forgetting about your past is a sure way to repeat the mistakes you suffered in the past.

It brought great advancements in technology, healthcare, civil order and structure, but, it was broken.

Because all of these advancements were achieved on the backs of millions who didn’t benefit from these advancements or the money they generated.

These Segregation Laws revamped into the form we called Apartheid created the gap, a rift, which made terms like “middle class” and “lower class” acceptable.  It also created the situation where we are now sitting in, even after a Government change.

Now this is not the blame game, this is realty, and we need to confront it and move on.

There are two simple facts that one should face and that is

  • Government is dividing the people successfully by polarizing the groups in opposition with each other.  Fueling racial tension causing rifts with good policies which got badly implemented like AA and BEE. Creating strive between the different income groups, as well as racial groups.

    This in turn left  them up to their own devices and extra time to line their own pockets while we were busy fighting each other.

  • That even though everyone has said it a million times before, and even though most might be tired of hearing it, but that Apartheid had a massive role to play in this tragedy, because of the legacy of “Greed” it left behind in Corporate companies like Lonmin, and crafty State sponsored entrepreneurs in Government like Zuma who enriched themselves at the cost of the many.

The reason one must face this, it to understand how patient the people of South Africa really are.  After all of these years, nobody is really free.  We are all still slaves on a tax making machine for Government, but just divided along “class” lines more than racial lines.

Taxes which are supposed to be used to uplift the people, but are now siphoned off into the pockets of Corporate elite, dirty politicians who pay lip service and Government “Officials” (at some stage they manged to change the title from Public Servant” to Government Official without us even noticing)

These taxes do not only affect the middle income group, they also affect the low income group, and the unemployed.  Taxes like E-Tolls, which is one of but many such little surprise packages we found out about.  Who knows what we are yet to learn?

The problem is, that Government dealings are not transparent and nobody is accountable,  and the political parties who make up Government are also not really transparent, as they don’t reveal their party funding so that one can sniff out the rot of corruption even before it starts.

But now, the patience of the people of South Africa is wearing thin, and the emergence of a Civil Social Movement is on the grow, small communities are linking up and standing in solidarity with each other, united against a common threat to national security like the blatant corruption of Government “Officials” and asking questions about where all the money has gone.

Dodgy dealings which have surfaced in the last couple of years have created a platforms for people of all different groups in South African where they can pull together.  Pressing issues like unemployment, poverty, inflation, service delivery protests (Andries Tatane), wage related issues like Marikana (with Government ties),  Nkandla, WC2010, Armsgate and other scandals like GuptaGate and their kickbacks to Government and failures like Eskom has for once done something amazing, it has created an environment for Civil Movement Groups to grow, because people have seen that Politics is just about that, politicking and not really doing something about the problems.

Groups now have a chance to stand together, against a common enemy, The Corruption and Decay in Government.  People like Steve, Vavi and Rob can sit around the table and talk the same language, but first, for that to happen, we must start caring about each other again.  We must find our humanity and our empathy for each other and each others plight.

The Struggle is far from over, it has only yet begun.  Because we need to struggle against our Greed gene, which would allow for situations like this to come about, we need to struggle against putting ourselves ahead of those around us, because if the community is prosperous, the individual is prosperous.

A luta continua

Xenophobia, Strikes, Protests and Oscar … what could happen if Eskom goes down

Not to sound like Siener van Rensburg, the South African version of Nostradamus, or a “Doomsday” Prepper in Hamerica,  but things are looking pretty bleak in South Africa at the moment.

The reasons?  Well, there is seemingly a plethora of reasons if you look at it from the outside, but if you take all of these things and you boil it down to the core it is about what the Have’s are getting out of the system, opposed to what the the Have Not’s are getting out of the system it is pretty easy to spot.  Opulence and wastage due to corruption and maladministration while millions suffer in squalor  is the problem.

Recently, one of South Africa’s brightest mistook his girlfriend for an intruder in the bathroom.  He fired a couple of shots and neutralized the threat behind the toilet door.

During the same time the whole Nkandla issue was in the news, people were asking questions about Marikna and the Gupta wedding guests at Waterkloof, Eksom was failing, service delivery strikes went mainstream, E-Tolls took it toll and Andries Tatane got killed for standing up against a Government for demanding that which they have promised, service and reform, and a couple of thousand people become the victims of violent crime

Over simplified statistics from 1994 – 2014 from CrimeStatsSA

Murders – 194 507Attempted Murders – 213 470
Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm – 2 331 897
Unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition – 161 332

Let that sink in for a moment …

While all this was going on our political elite rallied to defend the choices they have made, rather than admit the faults they have made.

Now I am now someone who dwell on the past in general, if you make a mistake, well, then there is nothing you can do from it but learn.

Sadly, it does not seem to be the case in South Africa today.

Frustration on the ground in South Africa is boiling over.  The reason why fanatical groups such as the EFF can capitalize and gain momentum for their cause.  They know that “freedom” without economic freedom means nothing, and that one is still a slave to the system in such a scenario.  One of the very few points I can agree with them, but their approach, much like Steve Hofmeyer’s “threat” in from on Paul Kruger’s statute with a clearly military undertone with the commando detail with him at the statue is crude, one sided and ultimately disruptive in the sense that it is not building, but rather breaking down.

Cecil John Rhodes was no hero in the bigger picture of the South African story, but regardless, he was part of it, for better or for worse.  Even though I do not like the man or his legacy, I can appreciate what he has done for Africa, and I can also acknowledge the fact that he is part of my history.  Not because he was white like I am, but because his policies and action had such a huge impact on the landscape of what we call the Republic of South Africa today.

Yet, the statue itself if not the problem, it never was.  The problem is the ever increasing divide between the Have’s and the Have Not’s.  The inequity and the blatant difference between the lifestyles the Have’s enjoy in the stark contras with what the Have Not’s must endure is widening the gap, creating a us and them scenario.

A gap where one of the brightest gets away with a little slap on the wrist for taking a life, where a foreign national gets away with the murder of his wife and his South African accomplices end up paying on their own paying for his crimes.  A gap where a President allow the State to build him a mansion of R250 million and dine and drink on the best South Africa has to offer while millions go to bed hungry every night, a country where two siblings died of hunger in Soweto.

What does the Suicidal Dewani, Oscar and Zuma have in common? Money … and it seems that in South Africa your money determine how far you make it in life, and which bullets you can dodge, Matrix Style.

All this in a country where a normal man like Andries Tatane died for holding Government accountable on their election promises.

While millions suffer there are a good number of people living like there is no tomorrow without having any thoughts about the mother with the child on her back who is pulling a full trolly of garbage through the suburbs back to the recycling agent which can be as far as 15km’s away for a mere R1000 per month pittance.

A country with thousands refugees who fled their countries to come to South Africa in hope of stability and peace, are now again victims of violence in South Africa because of failed Government policies.

A country on the very brink of social collapse …

Now take all of these factors and add one failing power utility company and let your mind wander for a moment on what would happen if you take all of these problems and add a month long power outage, which is a very real possibility with the electrical grid under so much strain already, sitting at Stage 3 Load Shedding.  How will we survive the coldest months if we are already at our peak now?

The impact on South Africa would be devastating.  The Have Not’s will come looking for resources, and they will take what they want, if you like it or not.