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MarkH
 
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South Africa - make or break time

30 May 2012, 14:10

Okay people, enough of the marching, sneering, looting, freeloading and violence. We can now play this a number of ways and either create a new country or tear this one apart. It’s our choice.

Our current strategy – if one can call it that – isn’t working and hasn’t a hope in hell of ever doing so as it’s obviously half-cocked, unsustainable and akin to putting a band aid on a broken limb.

We’re giving government between 15 and 35% of our salaries, monthly, and they’re giving it to people to sit at home, watch soapies, march when the need arises and every couple of years turn out en mass and vote them back into parliament to do the same for another couples of years.

Not only unsustainable but plainly stupid, unworkable socialism with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

We have, depending on whom you listen to or get your stats from, probably about 25-30% of the population who are able to work being unemployed. If we have a population of say 50 million, and of those a good couple of million are either retired or scholars and pre-school children we can safely assume that the unemployed number is about 10-12 million. I could be wrong but let’s look at the ideas firstly, not necessarily the figures.

If there are say 10-15 million taxpayers, this being those in formal employment – not hawkers, taxi drivers, piece workers etc - and we had to each employ just 1 person, each of us - as a gardener, maid, secretary, valet, housekeeper or whatever - then we could probably wipe out unemployment in an instant.

We wouldn’t be providing real jobs, not even sustainable ones, but we would be addressing the problem and surely that ought to be both admired and encouraged.

Now for the rub. Would the government then be willing to subsidise us for part of the wages of those we’ve now employed?  Would their response be, “Well done South Africans, we’re proud of you and instead of wasting billions on fancy motor cars, overseas fact-finding trips and the like, we’re going to reduce our own frivolous spending, cut our salaries and reward you for helping us out” or would they say, “Mission accomplished, we can now continue looting, spending and doing as we please with their money.”  This is a question only they can answer.

Think about it for a moment. 10 million unemployed people each being “given” R 1,000 per month by their employers – us – who would in turn be subsidised by government to the tune of say R 500 per month. That’s about the same amount a pensioner receives and whilst precious little, it’s a start.

I haven’t done the figures but surely this would be money better spent than on marches, rallies, grants, free chicken and t-shirts and generating a population explosion amongst kids with no jobs, no futures and loose morals.

R 5 billion a month/ R 60 billion a year, cost to government, the same amount basically subsidised by us.

The figures being bandied about for the cost of the e-tolling system – R 80 billion, the cost of motor cars, housing and expenses for ministers and other superior beings – millions each, turning into billions if you count wastage, accidents, corruption, maladministration and hands in tills.

Would R 5 billion a month break the country or would it wipe out crime, create employment and give us some kind of respite until a real plan could be made?

There are numerous ways in which the cost could be balanced between taxpayers – the employers – and government in terms of tax deductions etc and when we are talking of millions of people participating, in every which way, solutions are possible.

How much money is sitting in the lotto war chest, couldn’t this be used as a kick off? Would not people like Tokyo, Patrice, Cyril and others jump on such a bandwagon and throw their weight behind it.

It may be socialistic in its presentation but it would give us all a chance and that’s what we need right now, a chance to turn things around.

Unworkable you say? Maybe so, but then what about this?

What would happen if we each now ditched 1 employee – our maids, gardeners, car-washers? How many unemployed would that create and at what cost to both the country and ourselves? Could the government afford that? Would it help anybody?

What now if the government were to start a Marshall-type plan as the yanks did during the great depression?

Turn the unemployed into construction and maintenance people – repainting, refurbishing and maintaining buildings, plants, roads and parks, building houses, hospitals, schools, clinics and community centres.

The cost would be high from a financial point of view but the long-term benefits huge and in the short-term you would create the best possible crime-fighting strategy possible.

With most people working, less crime would be committed, less law enforcement would be necessary and these savings could be re-directed into more worthwhile avenues.

Simultaneously growth and public spending would be massively stimulated, the Rand would rally and the economy would boom.

How do you think Germany and Japan turned their bombed out countries into economic giants in 40 years? By marching, by looting, by demonstrating, by sitting at home watching TV? These things came afterwards, when they were successful.

Obviously this last strategy would require massive co-ordination, government to bankroll it – with our money as they’re doing now - the active participation of all and skilled and competent management but it would succeed, no doubt about it. All it needs is commitment, government backing and the willingness of all to build a better country. Maybe Tokyo, Patrice, Cyril, Nicky and the rest of the boys, and girls, would think this a better investment.

We desperately need to get our youth working for a number of obvious reasons and retiring senior experienced people, executives, managers etc  and replacing them with unskilled and untrained youth is not the answer. Getting rid of anybody is in fact not the answer.

We need to create more jobs, millions more, to ensure the viability of the economy and the sustainability of the country, to ensure future creativity, productivity and output. The youth are our collective future and if we don’t succeed now then we will all fail in the long-term.

Three plans, all with flaws and all with possibly redeeming features, but at least I’m looking ahead, are you?

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