Since the election of Jacob Zuma as President of the ANC, one has heard many negative comments from ‘international observers’ and investors into
When Thabo Mbeki took over from Nelson Mandela, what we first heard was that there would be many reprisals on the white community, this never took place. We also heard that Thabo Mbeki is stealing white business with his Black Empowerment policy, it seems the ‘business’ community has accepted this. The same people who accused Thabo Mbeki of stealing white mines and business say that Thabo Mbeki was actually business friendly.
Jacob Zuma now is supposed to drive investment out of
Jacob Zuma would be foolhardy to even try to undo the work of Mbeki, he himself admits that Mbeki is doing well, the problem of course being the high unemployment accompanied by increasing poverty.
Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki must both realize that in terms of Southern Africa, the failure of South Africa will be catastrophic, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia as economic entities are not important, merely important in a hazy ideological sense. If
What is meant by a little humility, a leader must learn to beg for their people, one can only do this by accepting reality, in terms of economics,
Secondly it means the President of South Africa must be willing to invite these international corporations and make deals with them, for example he personally picks up a phone and calls the Chairman of Renault, Tata, Caterpillar, Sony, JVC and say, look we know you can invest anywhere you like, but try South Africa, try a small project first, see how stable the society is, so many people exist on less than a dollar a day, reality says they will accept a job that will improve their living standards, with guaranteed safety standards, pick up the phone and beg them, I promise they will not come.
More important than FDI is to allow South Africans to build. Remove hindrances that are in the way of entrepreneurs. Get rid of government businesses to South Africans not to foreign based corporations, these business where built by the South African tax payer. It is bizarre that when Margaret Thatcher sold British Assets she sold them to the British, they got first choice, by the IMF talks about selling assets first to foreign investors. Sell first to South Africans then the shareholders can sell to whomever they choose. These entities need to be sold of and be accountable to the people by forcing them to face competition. Who morally has the right to choose who competes, take the telecommunications industry, the South African government has decided who will compete with TELEKOM, these blacks will become extremely wealthy, yet it is forgotten that before 1994, no black could compete, what makes these blacks better blacks, a government connection, freedom is to let everybody enjoy that freedom, let them build telecommunication companies no matter how small they are, who is the government to say something will not be viable, let a man waste his money, let him try.
Without introducing competition, by deciding who will compete the enormous potential of the people will never be realized, they will be booing Zuma in ten years time because poverty will continue to increase if people have to beg the government to start a business. Let there be 100 mobile phone companies, the useless ones will fail.
The key thing is that knowledge can fully be realized in a free market situation. There are those who will say, look, Sweden, Canada, they have no competition as such, but it is a wholly different situation, America was once very competitive, but with time, they could afford to introduce regulation, industries where established, how can Africa regulate what does not yet exist, let it blossom then regulate it. True
It must be remembered that no society will talk of upbringing knowledge of another society, that you must do by yourself, Canadians do not want more global competition, they want to sell you their technology, they no matter what they say would want you to have better technology, remember the outcry when
Unfortunately if Jacob Zuma wants to be remembered as a success, the work ahead of him is a lot. Mbeki is a success, he has transformed the face of South African industry, that was his mandate, like it or not. For the next President, knowledge has to be respected. Gearing universities to produce research that will create industry, one can look at the works of the
There are key industries that will be important in the future, alternative energy, come on Zuma, South Africa could be a leader, at least a contender in these industries, South African engineers can build wind turbines to generate electricity, they can build solar panels and research, they can create tidal powered stations do not look down on them like what other African countries did, Mugabe for example, he never believed blacks could do it, but he was knighted by the British establishment as having done a job well done.
Do not get this article wrong, it has nothing against COSATU, a very important organization that continues to fight dictators and dictatorial tendencies in Africa, but all I am saying is a society must look into the long run, what harm is there in a factory creating new business, unemployment is at above 35%, would it be a crime in the long run if the next president picks up the phone and say people are leaving on a US$1 a day, pay them US$3 – US$5 a day for work. When unemployment is at 5- 10% then labor can make greater demands. Otherwise they are not coming, but that is not as crucial as getting
I leave you with this quote, “in a highly competitive global economy will be those that can compete on high technology and intellectual strength –attracting the highest-skilled people and the companies which have the potential to innovate and to turn innovation into commercial opportunity. These are the sources of the new prosperity.” (Sir Brain Fender,