Howard Feldman

10 reasons South Africa is not nearly as hopeless as you think

2019-01-30 19:15
Charlize Theron (PHOTO: Gallo/Getty)

Charlize Theron (PHOTO: Gallo/Getty)

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We have South Africans who refuse to give in to hopelessness and who believe that no matter what, things will get better, writes Howard Feldman.  

South Africans are punch-drunk. The revelations at the state capture inquiry have left little doubt as to the magnitude of the looting that has taken place over the last few years.

The industrial size corruption has placed immense strain on the economy. Add the lack of service delivery in vital sectors of society, and it is little wonder that we don’t have a spring in our step.

Worse, is that just when we think that we have heard it all, we are confronted information that makes us shake our head in wonderment.

This doesn’t mean that there is nothing to celebrate and to appreciate.

Consider the following:

1. Foreign direct investment in South Africa increased by 446% between 2017 and 2018, according to Business Insider South Africa. This figure increased from $1.38bn in 2017 to $7.81bn.

President Cyril Ramaphosa might have his hands full trying to marginalise corrupt elements of his unstable government, but this doesn’t mean that he has not been able to offer confidence to foreign investors. The rating agencies seem to be trying their best to work with him in order to assist the country to get back onto a firmer footing.

2. The state capture and other hearings might showcase the ugliest of our society, but the fact that we live in a country that is not trying to sweep this under a freshly stolen carpet, is something to celebrate. Naysayers will counter this with scepticism and suggest that little will come of it, but the fact that the cards are being turned to face upwards, is the first critical step towards reform.

3. Freedom of speech is valued and protected. The South African media, although often attacked, is independent and courageous. More than that, it has played a major role in exposing the dishonest practices of government and of those who took advantage of the moral frailty of leadership.

4. Charlize Theron is rumoured to be dating Brad Pitt! This is huge. Massive. The fact that this local actor from the East Rand (of all places) means something. Not clear what, but it has to be big.

5. We are still shocked by bad behaviour. The state capture inquiry revealed that former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi is a racist. He was seen on film using the vilest of racist language and because he had no choice, he conceded that indeed, he was one.

Whereas there is nothing positive in that, what is significant is that as South Africans we had the capacity to be shocked. The man spent weeks detailing his active participation in a level of corruption hardly ever seen, and yet in our naivety we are still appalled that he is a racist.

6. We seem to believe that there was one line that he would not cross. Our collective disappointment in him reveals more about our good nature than it does about his bad one.

7. The Cape Town drought is over. Gauteng has been having beautiful rains.

8. Helen Zille still has her phone. Imagine how horribly dull life would be if she lost her hand-held?

9. We don’t have Theresa May or Jeremy Corbin as our leaders. And Hillary Clinton will never be president of South Africa.

10. We have Table Mountain and the Kruger National Park and The Cradle of Humankind. We have vistas and valleys and high speed internet that is unlikely to be shut down.

Mostly, we have South Africans who are not afraid to laugh and to argue and to fight and to forgive. We have South Africans who refuse to give in to hopelessness and who believe that no matter what, things will get better.

- Howard Feldman is a keynote speaker and analyst. He is the author of two books and is the morning talk show host on ChaiFM.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    charlize theron  |  hillary clinton  |  state capture inquiry
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