MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 10
Article views: 1232
Latest Badges:

View all Rhyno's badges.

What does SA have to offer the world?

15 March 2012, 22:07

There used to be a time we all sat back, being all relaxed about what we offered the world in terms of our mining sector. At some stage in our history, we had been the largest supplier of the three most expensive minerals on earth, being gold, diamonds and platinum.

Our industrial age was also found and developed on mining during the Witwatersrand Gold Rush, which made us one of the wealthiest nations in Africa, and eventually, with more trade and an open economy, we eventually surpassed Egypt to become the largest economy in the 90’s.

Currently, there are five frontline developing nations in the world, being Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa.

These are also the member states of BRICS as most people would know, coupled with the fact that all these nations form part of the G20 as well.

Notable to both groups above, being BRICS and the G20, it is evident that SA is well out of its depth in both respects, as we have the smallest economy within BRICS, and as the 27th largest economy in the world, we obviously don’t make the grade as a fully fledged G20 member (which, if you have been living in a hole, is the 20 largest economies in the world).

The only reason we form part in any of these organisations, is due to our regional representation being the most influential country in Africa.

So, why would it be necessary to have someone included in a group, that basically doesn’t belong there, in terms of statistics and numbers, which is of African descent...?

Sound familiar?

Yes, you guessed it, we are the BEE representative of the world!

Our position in world economics and politics is the product of global affirmative action, and enforced by the United Nations and the G8.

We even managed a place in the Security Council, albeit only for show.

In order for a country to have a sustainable economy, it needs something sustainable to export to the world.

China and India have highly skilled labour. In contrast, a factory technician that builds computer microchips in India or China, comes at the cost of a gardener in South Africa.

So, in terms of value for money labour, strike one against us then...

Brazil has one of the largest and in some sectors, THE largest agricultural industries in the world. We actually import maize from them, because we can sell our own for more in Africa. I know this drives some mielieboere up the wall!

Separate from this, they also rely on a solid mining and textile industry, which again comes at a fraction of the cost we offer semi-skilled labour at.

Russia... well, I suppose the advantage of having been one of the worlds superpowers for years is that you’ll certainly be competitive for decades after your regime change, so it kind of speaks for itself.

I’ve heard far too many people brag on about our stance in the world, and what has been achieved in an economic sense over the past 20 years. Chief amongst these is the statement that “we are the gateway to Africa”.

Great, so we had developed infrastructure and Western promises that made us the prefect for the consumer continent, which is fine, as long as we can sustain it.

What we can't do is sustain mining exports ad infinitum, nor can we expect the world to back us purely because of our resources or regional proximity.

We also need to remember that investment in Africa is a luxury to the world, especially in this economic climate, and that it is purely done to develop long term markets which haven’t been developed yet.

The one true aspect to consider is the fact that we don’t really have too many competitors on this continent  to take our place... just yet, but in a couple of years even that may change.

De Beers already moved its primary operations to Botswana due to mining red tape, and had it not been for that fact that our diligent neighbour didn’t have a coastline, we could have faced strong competition from them a long time ago.

It seems the responsibility our government has to safeguard our position is also taken for granted, as they are very quick to forget that we didn’t earn our place, for the reasons as set out above, but found ourselves in this position due to good PR by Mandela’s government, and an infrastructure system second to none in Africa.

I suppose the recent budget allocations in the latter, is a step in the right direction in cementing our place, but again, that only makes us competitive in an African context. We need to start competing against our BRICS counterparts in terms of gorwth.

In terms of our BRICS colleagues, we are the poor nephew that had no future, had he not been employed by his rich uncle.

I guess my point is that we have been given an opportunity out of goodwill, and that we need to use that opportunity to prove that we deserve it.

Currently, we however bully other African countries with it, and behave like spoilt children who don’t want to share their ice cream on the playground.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we should take responsibility for Africa, as we have more than enough problems of our own. What I am saying is that our influential position in Africa is dependent on our region’s support, and it seems that we are losing it if the African Union debacle with Mrs. Zuma is considered (then again, who blames them for not wanting to appoint her!?).

In conclusion, I believe that it would be possible for us to reach an economic position where even poor political leadership, such as our current, can have a minimal effect on our economic development. The problem is, we aren’t there yet, even though some might believe we are.

Our single biggest positive is the fact that we don’t meddle too much with economic and fiscal policy, and that the three branches this all is built on, being the Reserve Bank, SARS and National Treasury are some of the last remaining government instances functioning correctly.

If we can make it through the Zuma era, with his highly suspect cabinet, and we have a strong leader to follow, we may just reach the point of ultimate respect. The point where we actually have something to offer the world, something more than the current...hope for Africa.  

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Sean Parker
Which car would you max on this r...

If given the opportunity to reach the top speed of any car on an airfield, which set of wheels would you choose to go blisteringly quick in a straight line? Read more...

0 comments 2494 views
Submitted by
Jan Badenhorst
Matric results in less than a mon...

The matric results for the 2017 matric class will be available to students at their schools, in the newspapers and online, on 5 January 2018. Read more...

0 comments 655 views
Submitted by
Tendani Siala
It is all over for NDZ

All things considered I still say an NDZ win will be nothing short of a miracle. But as we all know miracles rarely happen these days. Read more...

0 comments 7500 views
Submitted by
David Rose
Can you read the situation?

The overwhelming majority of parents are not readers. This is not to say that they cannot read, but that they do not read. Reading is a foreign activity for most parents and this does not help their children's literacy. Read more...

0 comments 187 views
Submitted by
Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
Ramaphosa must lead the 'New Deal...

The New Deal would need to focus on crafting a new path after diagnosing the ills and commit all stakeholders to work together towards the most glorious future for all South Africans. Read more...

0 comments 437 views
Submitted by
Jerry Rodrigues
Cristiano Ronaldo: the greatest f...

It was inevitable - a NEW Cristiano Ronaldo bust has been revealed that actually looks like him. Read more...

0 comments 870 views


RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2017 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.