Zuam and Ramaphosa. South Africa.
Zuma: not the problem.
What amuses me is the way people think that if the Zuma goes the problem will be fixed… I am an old ex-factory worker who is looking at the frenzied hand wringing about whether Cyril Ramaphosa can save South Africa. I am a practical, non-academic man who was definitely not overqualified for the box-packing I did but at the same time have my feet on the ground.
I laugh at the wise men that focus narrowly on a particular aspect of South Africa’s woes and tell us, change the president, change the Minister of Finance, get rid of the ANC and everything will be fine.
Sorry for you if you think SA is going to improve.
We have a national IQ of 72 or 77 (depending on who you believe). This is on a par with the rest of Africa south of the Sahara.
IQ is directly related to income and a host of other critical criteria.
People with low IQ scores are more likely to drop out of school, have low educational qualifications, high rates of teenage pregnancies, single parent families, alcoholism, drug abuse, violent crime and incarceration rates.
Our IQ levels are not about to change overnight.
Stats SA informs us that upwards of 60% of families are headed by single females.
The absence of fathers ensures perpetuation of the ills as children from single parent families tend to fare worse financially and academically than those with both parents.
Hence, 17 million are on social grants. This figure is going to climb as a free ride becomes expected. Expectation of a handout, a pervasive sense of entitlement; out of step with our ability to provide is the norm. A wealthy country like the UK could not afford this burden.
There are more in our country on grants than there are employed. (I read the article incredulous.)
Now try this one: only 1,8% of private individuals are paying 80% of the tax bill, 3% are paying 99% of the tax, 36% are unemployed (67% of under 25 year olds) and 17% have Aids. This speaks of a rocky future.
South Africa has high birth rates; something like 1.7%, falling skilled numbers, (the highly skilled are emigrating faster than they are qualifying) falling educational standards and this makes the problem worse because now the population is not only unemployed but unemployable. Who needs an engineer that is an AA appointment building a bridge that you go under? Who wants a doctor that passed by push and shove, got 30% and is going to operate on your heart?
The teaching profession is in crisis with teachers teaching subjects that they themselves cannot pass. Truth is the DBE cannot produce accurate figures for teachers unqualified to teach specialist subjects like maths and science because they pay unqualified teachers the same as qualified ones if they have been in the system for more than three years. Grading teachers on their qualification and linking performance to pay for teachers is anathema to SADTU as they are not about to lose benefits.
A recent study of grade 4’s found that 80% could either not read or didn’t understand what they had read.
Zuma’s latest populist move of announcing free higher education is the act of someone detached from reality as even his finance minister told him… there is no money to pay for it.
Over 100 000 teenage pregnancies per year, the world’s highest rate, in our schools adds a burden to the country and stymies the next generation. Held hostage by a predatory trade union that sells jobs for favours the DBE is frightened of the statistics so does not produce them.
Prof Jansen calculated that the average teacher spends 42 days of the year in the classroom and recently the department admitted that OBE was not working at all. There is no incentive to actually teach a class and with the work ethic lacking the outcome is predictable. Teachers sit in the staffroom or in the sun and sleep.
Productivity and employment levels make sobering reading for the hopeful. truth is, we are a lazy people that lack work ethic.
The work ethic in our land is lacking; this makes us uncompetitive. Lethargy is pervasive and incurable as it is not taught but inherited. Africans from the rest of Africa have no trouble in displacing locals despite their refugee limitations. Along with work ethic there is the parallel lack of entrepreneurship. Pakistanis and Indians despite not speaking English and being totally uneducated soon establish thriving businesses. Starving Somalis are resented because they set up and run retail shops despite having just arrived with nothing from war torn countries. We south Africans stand dumbfounded asking, how can this be, why can’t we do it?
We have a handout mentality, shocking work ethic and are, to put it plainly, a bit thick.
We have a ballooning debt, both private and public, rapidly expanding public sector employment falling productivity and employment in the job creating private sector.
Add to this a decaying, shrinking manufacturing sector, strikes and constant service delivery protests, riots, burning; a police force that cannot cope with ‘normal’ much less lawlessness and you have a recipe for disaster.
The police service leadership has been hollowed out by corruption, dishonesty, gangsterism and constant changes at the top. Each change brings a slew of unqualified cadre deployed cronies worse than the previous lot and the result is good people leave discouraged. To add to this there is a small well-funded, determined section of the population who stoke the fires of racial hatred in a land that is always on the edge of the abyss.
The trend in SA is for property prices to fall in areas outside of the Western Cape. This is a problem for those collecting property tax and therefore delivering services as revenues decrease. Gauteng recently announced that their infrastructure is on the verge of collapse. they have a 170 billion shortfall. That is big money.
SARS revenues will continue to decline as citizens see the wastage and corruption and resolve to pay as little tax as is legally possible. This will exacerbate the problems caused by the recession and corruption.
As comrade Pravin says ‘connect the dots’. The damage done is not undone by firing a corrupt minister. When a cat has pissed in your lounge, removing the cat does not solve the problem. Every other tom in the district says, ‘is this where it is done? Is this how its done? I will follow the lead’. Africa.
We have a problem that is insoluble without courageous, bold, decisive, leadership. As this is entirely lacking in our opposition apart from those they fire for telling the truth; don’t expect miracles.
As for the government … the great white hope ‘Squirrel’ is without nuts. In parliament they have proved themselves lockstep lackeys.
The vital areas of governance are occupied by appointees that are at best under qualified and at worst totally unfit and corrupt. Courage, qualification, ability, suitability is lacking and despite this being blatantly obvious no remedial action is taken. The result is the blind are leading the blind and both are falling in the ditch at every turn.
Big business is a eunuch: dispensing loans that it knows will never be repaid as strategic investments. (Protection money) As one Old Mutual (Nedbank) castrate said to me, ‘do you expect me to be the conscience for a company? They won’t thank me, they will bury me. We write the loan off and nobody is the wiser. I will retire and nobody gets hurt.’
Don’t expect it to get better as time goes by. People learn fast, this is the way that business is done in Africa. The big arms dealers all work on this basis.
Change? Mountains don’t fall upwards. Entropy takes over. Fact is, SA is diseased and will devolve to the state of the rest of Africa.
If you have nowhere to go. If this is your land, your only country, this is what I suggest: get used to Africa.
Sorry to pop your bubble; South Africa is heading further down a long dark tunnel and the light you see at the end is actually the train from Venezuela via Zimbabwe.
Although this essay might be a bit depressing it is also a spur.
If you are not an entrepreneur; now is your chance to spread your wings. Tourism and exports will boom with the plunge in the Rand.
If you’re not too particular about a bit of bribery there will be great opportunities for importation as the manufacturing sector contracts.
Although RW Johnson suggests that the violent revolution and upending of society might be a likely scenario the more likely outcome will be a Erdoğan Tayyip pseudo coup to sort out the opposition, chase the whites off the land and embed the Zuma dynasty before he has to face the courts.
What I see is not a bang but a Zimezuela whimper. A running sore, begging bowl end that the world will put down as the legacy of apartheid… what did you expect?
If you have a faith and hope outside of this materialistic world, you are going to get ample opportunity to exercise it. Tell yourself that it is God testing your mettle. It is more about how we react to this country’s woes that will define us as people. As my Father used to say, you only see if the toothpaste actually has stripes when the tube is squeezed.
You have heard of Radical Economic Transformation? It is coming and it is not the ANC that will implement it from on high. RET is a consequence of ineptitude, poor education, corruption and big chief government that results in the pie shrinking and the pieces getting smaller with more and more starving folk fighting for crumbs.
You know what I am telling you is true but it gives us hope to think that if only the Guptas are arrested and Zuma is ousted everything will be A ok; now you know the truth; Zuma is not the problem and Ramaphosa is not the solution.