Business commentary

2016-09-22 06:00


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WHILE the country and the rest of the world watch in disbelief as continuing government agency spats move our economy closer to the edge of a cliff we have a new committee set up to look into the recovery of our struggling state-owned enterprises.
Jacob Zuma has appointed himself as chairperson of this committee. This can only be for one of two reasons. Either, in a display of leadership, the country’s top civil servant wants to be hands on because he understands that turning the likes of Eskom and SAA around is crucial to avoiding sovereign debt downgrades, or more likely, he wants to be close to the action to protect himself and his connections from the fallout should long suspected shenanigans be exposed.

Anyway, as dire and scary as the outcome of these political power games may be, we need to get our heads down and do what we can to address the challenges we face in this part of the world. Our major challenges are youth unemployment (especially in rural areas), income inequality, lack of economic opportunity and rural development.
On the plus side we have world-class tourism attractions and supporting infrastructure, a proactive tourism organisation, several organisations purporting to represent organised business and agriculture, manufacturing infrastructure, commercial infrastructure, agricultural infrastructure, good schools, FET colleges and a municipality with a clean audit report.
So what’s the problem? The problem is protection of vested interests. The problem is a culture of self-enrichment. The problem is greed.

I refuse to accept that if the orchestrated focus of all stakeholders genuinely shifted to uplifting the lives of everyone instead of just a chosen constituency, these challenges could be overcome relatively easily. I leave the reader with an example of what I mean.
A wonderfully inclusive poultry abattoir project was initiated in the area some time ago. As part of the co-operative project, in excess of 1 500 rural community members were to have their lives changed by rearing and receiving payment for slaughter stock.
Unfortunately, due to greed, this project has now stalled. Millions of rands worth of world-class infrastructure is going to ruin. Personally, I don’t give a damn about the infrastructure because that can be salvaged. What we should all give a damn about is that the hopes of 1 500 members of our rural community have been dashed.
- Oneway Business Solutions www.onewaybusinessser

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