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South Africa's recipe for success

21 August 2012, 14:43

The common denominator of failure.

Failure seems to grow abundantly and unabatedly in our political and business landscape.

Non service delivery from the public sector is a given with almost no exception. 

Within the parastatals the 5.5 million private taxpayers are forced to become the unwilling shareholders bearing the brunt of its liabilities and losses. 

I am not even talking about the most important sector of our future.  The education of the leaders of tomorrow!!!  It has nosedived to a level way beyond the decried Bantu education system!!! A total failure of our future? 

Everybody knows what I am talking about.

This phenomenon is fast seeping through to large companies and even multi nationals.

One has to make provision for the social engineered policy of the ANC since 1994 to temper the frustrations.

Affirmative action and the various BBBEEE policies which were necessary are here to stay.  It is a given.

Luckily there seems to be an exception to this established rule.

One sector of our country which improved tremendously from the previous regime is our Department of Finance.

Everything financially improved.  Our fiscus is in good shape.  Political expediencies are kept at bay by a highly disciplined macro-economic policy and execution thereof.  We are the most socialistic country when it comes to social grants and handouts!.

However of late there are indications that on the execution level thing seems to be sliding.  Our deficit is relentlessly creeping towards the undesirable.  Political pressure, which seems to be beyond financial apprehension are trying to force our financial management to ignore gravity. 

Remember the ongoing tollgate saga?

You have to earn before you can spend!!.  That seems to be a concept for which a large section of government has no idea about!.  Are we moving towards the unsustainable financial mess some commentators are predicting? The unsustainability of too many hunger recipients and too few feeders?

The National Development Plan that was presented to cabinet is a positive enigma amongst the plethora of failures.  Unfortunately at the moment it is just a plan.  Let’s see whether it would be successfully implemented by the power that is.  But, have they reached the level of development to be able to understand and implement it?

Is the Financial Department and the Planning Commission in isolation or what is the secret recipe?

Let’s try and discover the common denominator for these failures and successes. 

Is it culture, is it intelligence, is it character, or is it a lack of something?  Are there a number of individual factors or a combination of factors? 

Could the common denominator be that a person, a team, a company, a government department, a municipality failed to reach the level of development, which is necessary to perform the required task successfully when they are appointed to perform such a task?

So without reaching such a level of development, what are the chances of success?

So can it be expected of a 10 year old scholar, after completing very successfully grade 4, to perform the tasks of a grade 7 or 8 level?  The answer is obvious, the scholar need to grow and develop through the interim grades in order to achieve the required level of development in order to also be successful in the subsequent grades.

Is it mischievous to make such a comment?  Is that the remark of a megalomaniac?

Well, Minister Pravin Gordhan had to use such an analogy, using the necessity of a haircut to explain to certain members of parliament the basic principle of budgeting.  He tried to convey the intricacies of a modern budget through a medium, applicable to the level of development reached by some of his audience so that they could understand what he was talking about.

So where does the answer lay?  What are the underlying reasons for failure or success?

It seems that in the departments, businesses and institutions where people are deployed in positions which are beyond their level of development, the failure rate is high.   Remember the cadre deployment policy that we are subject to?

It seems that the department of Finance had for some or other reason employed staff and managers that has achieve the required level of development required to perform the required tasks.  THE RESULT IS SUCCESS.

Failing to follow that recipe may explain why the political leaders in the ANC regard the constitution and the constitutional court as their enemy.  They haven’t, after 18 years of rule and supposedly training, reached the level of political development to grasp the basic principles of democracy, such as a free press and the concept of the separation of power.

Is it because their level of political development is still based on a one dimensional thought process?.  Such one dimensional level of development or understanding dictate that when you are the ruler by virtue of a popular vote, then your power is paramount and should not be hampered or challenged by checks and balances. 

Is that why the ANC supports the democratically deposed leaders in Ivory Coast, Ghana and Libya whilst the other nations of the world disagree?.  Is it because they are at a ‘previous/preceding’ level of political development and understanding as the other nations? 

The ANC leaders are correct that the western form of democracy is not applicable to Africa.  Take the British constitution, which today is almost the only unwritten constitution in the world.  Their constitution grew with the people and out of the people.  The African constitutions were ‘suggested/forced’ on them by the Colonial masters.  That is why it is not applicable and is not working. 

Now there is nothing wrong with a ‘different’ level of development if the rest of society in which you operate is also on the same level.  That was the situation in the middle ages in Europe, Africa and other continents. 

I recently visited Zanzibar and immediately fell in love with the people.  They are a happy people.  They are all active in a vibrant economy.  They have respect for the law and moral principles and adhere to it.  They do not have aggression.  Each village has a functional school.  They are happy.  Are they successful? 

From a perspective of personal fulfillment of your basic needs I would say they are very successful.  If we want to compare them with more robust and ‘successful’ economies, they are down the scale.  However they are operating at a level of development which is functional and successful as far as happiness and fulfillment of its people are concern.

The irony is that that island was the mecca of the slave trade.  At the moment the descendants of the slave masters, the colonizers and the slaves are living side by side in harmony.   They are all on the same level of development!

Unfortunately, due to the vortex that sucks you into the Global village, your neighbors are now looking through your windows and into your back yard.  They can be nasty and don’t like the sight of your dirty linen!  So Africa has to wake up and take note!

The other continents however seems to have moved towards a higher level of development; politically, economically and technologically than Africa.  In entering the twentieth century, we were more or less on par. 

Other southern hemisphere countries that were colonized by the north followed the trends of their colonizers.  The South Americas went through their Banana republic stages of development and today are on par with the rest of the world.  China, Korea and India, also colonized by horrible masters are the leaders today on many fronts.

So is Africa out of sync with the world that moved on?

Are we a micro cosmic version of that?  Are we torn between the remnants of the western influence with ugly names like colonialists and apartheid and the nostalgia of our African roots? 

We have to be proud of our Thabo who is trying to kick start the African Renaissance to catch up!!  Let’s hope he would be more successful than Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere before him.

Why do we have the Marikanas and the political murders in KwaZulu Natal?  Is it because the workers in the platinum industry haven’t reached the level of development to understand the intricacies of a bargaining process in an industry which is under severe stress?  Are they still at a level where the rivalry between two trade unions with tribal undertones overshadows the logic that is required to operate at that level? 

Are the inhabitants in KwaZulu Natal still stuck in the faction fights of the days gone by, to prevent them to operate in a ‘modern’ democracy where political disputes are settled through the ballot box and not by killing your opponent?

So we can have sympathy with minister Gordhan who are forced to operate in an environment where the level of development of his peers make it difficult to grasp what the global village expects in respect of the economy and politics. 

Just think what can happen if he is our president!!

Maybe this analogy is too close to home and will inevitably raise tempers.  Let’s look elsewhere for a similar scenario.

The experience in Europe is a point in question.  Some countries like Greece have not reached the political and economic level of development of the rest of the EU.  

As they are all part of Europe, France and Germany has to bring Greece in line to a higher level of development to prevent Europe to sink with Greece. They ‘forced’ certain measures and undertakings on Greece, trying to elevate them to the necessary level of economic development necessary for Europe’s economy to be successful. 

But the population of Greece seems not to comprehend what they are talking about!  The Greeks are divided between those that have reached a level of understanding that those measures are inevitable.  The other half thinks that, as in the past something will save them.  They do not like austerity measures and they think the state must provide, regardless!!  Are they oblivious of the present day’s reality or do they know something that we do not know? 

Will this Greek mythology ‘save’ them or will they fail because; in spite of the mythology, the level of development required to be successful in the Global village had followed the flight of the Phoenix and left the Greeks behind? .

When Georgia and other Eastern countries want to join the EU, they were told to elevate themselves to the level of development of the EU before they would be allowed in.  They were requested to change their constitution and central bank policies. 

Does this make sense?

So is Africa the Greece of the world?  Left in the mythology that we are the cradle of mankind but unknowingly is stuck in a level of development/understanding/believe that the slave traders, the colonialists and history are the cause of our misery? 

What is actually the understanding, the essence of the African psyche?  What is Africa’s status in regards to the global history of mankind? 

Have we reached the third economic revolution of the world; the information technology highway or are we in the process of entering the first, the agricultural revolution and we have to realize that to produce more than you need, is to kick start an economy?  I am just wondering.  It seems not so as it so happens that some productive agricultural land are slowly turned into dusty and sterile shanti towns! 

Or is Africa caught up in the euphoria that we are entitled to the holy grail of prosperity by virtue of what the west and history did to us, owe us and that we are entitled to?  The world must save us!!

We understand that the ANC liberated SA and forced an ‘evil’ regime to surrender power.  They were successful. 

The level of development that the ANC should now achieve and understand is that somebody should manage our beloved country.  And it should be on a level at par with the Global village, not a Zulu/Xhosa/Venda/Boeremag/trade union rivalry village!   

Maybe they should honestly attend classes given by the Ramaphosas, Khozas, Manuels, Gordhams and Rhampelas of the South African class of 2012!

Maybe businesses in SA should also be allowed to employ and elevate their staff to higher levels, only WHEN they have reached that level of development to perform such a task.  At the moment they are subject to a prescribed system which completely negates such requirements.

That is why even the banks now have to employ computer systems to try and eliminate failure and combat corruption.  Unfortunately the end result is that you cannot speak to a bank manager anymore as they are all in training!

The result?  Failure of their systems?.


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