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What South Africa can learn from London

17 February 2014, 05:30

As a South African I worked in London for many years. It didn't take long for me to recognize the huge diversity of culture that exists in this city of over 7 million people. Black, white, or brown from every corner of the globe – in many ways a lot like South Africa, I thought.

But what is the real difference between London and South Africa, we might ask?

Then, one day it dawned on me. Walking down Oxford Street on my way to work one October morning I suddenly realized that I was just one of many bustling their way to work. Everyone had a purpose and a place to be in this vast city with an unemployment rate of less than 4%

What would South Africa be like if nearly everyone that could work was in a job?

Would we worry so much about the endless fruitless promises of ANC politics, or would we just get on with it?

In South Africa, just like London, we are all different, but we are also all the same.

We all want to put food on the table for our families, to have a safe place for our children to call home and something to look forward to in life. These things are as important to one South African as they are to the next.

With the London model in mind the next government of South Africa should have only one goal. A single minded objective to develop a structure that leads to sustainable employment for as many South Africans as is possible.

The nature of this 'structure' will of course be the subject of big debate. But I suspect it will need changes in the mind sets of many South Africans. I can see the necessity to change a lot of antiquated legislation and the need to diverge from many failed policies.

But perhaps the most important catalyst will be the need for inspired leadership from a government who are not in it for themselves but want to put the future and people of South Africa first.

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