What’s positive about SA?

2010-05-11 00:00

THERE are two fellows called Haw and Inglis to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. In a nutshell, they showed me that there are actually a lot of positive things going on in this country.

I have no idea whether there actually is a bloke called Haw who has a partner called Inglis, but I do know that they are a construction company specialising in civil and road construction.

And they recently gave South Africa in general, and Cape Town in particular, a lesson in how to get things done.

This was the company that was given the job of sorting out that freeway nightmare called Hospital Bend in Cape Town. It was a real spaghetti junction that involved cars and taxis having to criss-cross all over the place and was subsequently responsible for all manner of absolutely horrendous accidents.

When it was announced that a massive new interchange would be built, the whole of Cape Town threw its hands in the air and said: “Here we go again: months, if not years, of traffic snarl-ups, filthy construction sites and typical Third World over-expenditure and delays.” It was a horrible prospect.

But, now it’s finished. It’s brilliant. It works. It was finished on time and on budget. And the disruption to traffic, even at the height of rush hour, was minimal. And everywhere they worked, the construction sites were impeccably clean and tidy.

With the result that messrs Haw and Inglis are the toast of Cape Town. But, most of all they proved that some South Africans can get something right and produce world-class standards.

The same goes for all those construction companies that proved all the critics wrong about not being able to finish the World Cup stadia in time.

And talking about the World Cup, I reckon this is the time for all of us to be positive.

For instance, here some are some facts I dug up from the Internet recently.

• “South Africa is probably the leading economy in the world.” (Dr Martyn Davies).

• South Africa’s rand is the second best-performing emerging market currency of the 26 monitored by Bloom­berg in 2009.

• South Africa sold $1,8 billion worth of cars to the United States last year, putting us ahead of Sweden and Italy as suppliers to the U.S. market.

• The International Monetary Forum’s World Economic Outlook ranks us in the top 10% of countries in respect of Real GDP Growth Projections for 2010.

• In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Survey of Democratic Freedom, we rank 31st of 184 countries.

• South Africa ranks second worldwide in terms of the transparency surrounding its budgets — just behind the United Kingdom, tie with France, and ahead of New Zealand and the United States — according to the Open Budget Index.

• Johannesburg ranks second among countries from Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa in dealing with urbanisation and environmental challenges, in the MasterCard Insights Report on Urbanisation and Environmental Challenges.

• Three South African cities were voted among the world’s top 100 Most Liveable Cities in a study conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Cape Town was ranked in 85th place, Johannesburg 90th and Port Elizabeth 97th.

• The black middle class grew by 30% in 2005, adding another 421 000 black adults to South Africa’s middle-income layer and ramping up the black population’s share of South Africa’s total middle class to almost a third, according to the Financial Mail. Between 2001 and 2004, there were 300 000 new black entrants to the middle class.

• Home ownership in South Africa has increased from 64% (5,12 million households) in 1994 to 78% (7,9 million households) in 2006, according to a South African Advertising Research Foundation development index.

• South Africa accounts for almost 45% of the GDP of the African continent, with an economy three times the size of the second biggest (Egypt).

The list goes on and on.

If you want more, go to a website run by a friend of mine called Steuart Pennington.

It’s called http://www.sagood news.co.za It’s worth a visit, especially if you are an Afro-pessimist who can’t see anything good about this country. — News24.com

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