An exodus of talent caused by corruption

2019-07-08 15:23
Former South African President Jacob Zuma looks on in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg during his trial for alleged corruption.  (Themba Hadebe / POOL / AFP)

Former South African President Jacob Zuma looks on in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg during his trial for alleged corruption. (Themba Hadebe / POOL / AFP)

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Dear Mr President,

This is an open appeal to you to step up and be presidential and lead our beautiful country. Africa has so much promise but always appears to disappoint itself through greed and incompetency and I believe we are better than that.

The chief reason I am making this appeal to you now is that I believe we are on the cusp of either greatness or great human despair. It is of great concern when I read articles of who pays tax in South Africa. The figures are quite frightening with only 1% of the population paying 60% of the tax to keep the country running and it is estimated that only 3% pay 80 of the country’s taxes.

That in itself, may not be a great issue, as many countries may share this unfortunate economic divide. However, this problem becomes a huge concern when you overlay it with the emigration trends (two recent articles allude to the exodus of these tax payers and I suspect that the people emigrating are not the 20% not paying tax and the emigrants fall into the 1% and 3% who pay our South African tax.

There are only 56 million people in South Africa so the 1% is only 560 000. These 560 000 support our country but are leaving in droves. This brain drain is having and is going to continue to have an increasing impact on your ability to run the country. If you don’t have the finance to run the country, you will be forced to cowtail to the powers who have the finance to prop up the economy and seek international financial aid. These superpowers will colonise South Africa once again, as we need to provide for our citizens. 

Without the where-with-all to do it ourselves we will have to ask for foreign assistance and will once again be dancing to another masters tune. One only has to look across our borders and observe the inhumanity of the decisions that been made out of greed and self service and how these superpowers almost own those economies.

There are many reasons for this brain drain. The one above is now accelerating the interest in moving abroad and this needs to stalled. These emigrants see no hope moving forward and wish to leave before the lights go out as they have done in many of our bordering countries.

There are two main reason for their willingness to give up on the country. The first, is the same reason I left the country many years ago. When you begin to divide the country based on race it will always cause issues. The current BEE and sport quotas are examples of institutionalising racism. I am not suggesting that there was not an initial need to introduce this, as a result of the history, but we now find ourselves in the same predicament as the old apartheid government. We are prejudicing the population based on race and that will never be a long term solution.

The policies of quotas in sport, is an example of how it is going to go wrong with our economy, unless we act swiftly. One can see the decline in our world rankings in all our sports. Soccer although still well supported, has been riddled with self serving administrators and we are ranked 73 after being ranked 20 in 1995. One only has to view the crowd attendance at cricket or rugby stadia to understand the depth of the problem facing our sport. The introduction of sport quotas have had a significant role to play. We no longer select the best and the standard of play declines. As the standard of play declines the public loses interest. 

Like taxes, the spectators pay for sport and without them, local sport will, and has mostly collapsed. We will not produce another world beating side with the current policies in place. I am not sure sport is recoverable and we may never be able to attract the support we once witnessed. Madiba was accurate when he suggested sport could unite a nation but it can also divide a nation. The quota policy is driving that division and should be scrapped as soon as possible.

The same can be said about the BEE policies and again it is dividing our country. One’s race should not be used as a tool to discriminate upon and this is just not conducive to a healthy growing economy. The economy is showing the same declining trend as our sport as a result of these policies.

The racism institutionalised by these policies are one reason for the exodus of skills but the other is the high level of crime. When the country sees the very top of the pile getting away with blatant corruption (e.g. the Estina dairy project or the Steinhoff debacle) it is little wonder why crime flourishes. These are blue collar crime activities that are on the increase but the biggest issue is the violent crime in our society. There are still 92 countries that permit the death penalty all of whom have much lower violent crime statistics than South Africa. We need to send a strong message to our citizens that crime will not be tolerated and will be dealt with strongly. If we were to re-introduce capital punishment for violent crimes I do believe it will change our world leading statistic on murder. There is irrefutable evidence that no person who has received capital punishment, has ever committed a violent crime again.

I do think if we took real steps to curb crime and not institutionalise racism, we would not be experiencing the exodus of talent we are witnessing. Mr President, you have to act and act decisively and quickly or you may be known as the president who helped turn out off the lights in Africa.


A concerned citizen


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