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African Briefs

Africa Brief                                                                             25 December 2014

Twenty years post-Zuma   

by Cees Bruggemans                       words 750

Man is allowed to dream, isn't he? That's why we write up National Development Plans (NDP) and thereafter store them in the back of the bottom drawer.

Where will we be, precisely, 20 years post-Zuma (2039) which just happens to be also 40 years post-Mandela?

Africa Brief                                                                               2 December 2014

Blame the Board…..    

by Cees Bruggemans  and Prof Willie Esterhuyse                       words 1250

There is a tendency to blame one Jacob Zuma for all our troubles. This clever, shrewd and resourceful individual has certainly not made many of us richer, except a careful chosen few, which hardly has added to the general welfare, especially when considering what could have been.

Though certain doings may have been and are deplorable, and should be pursued with vigour, these are perhaps not the main reason for our national state of affairs as we find it today. For even should he be replaced from within own ranks, would things necessarily turn out differently?

It is a litmus test that should put the focus squarely on the Board, that nebulous group of people that are the real brain trust behind what we experience daily. We should perhaps not confuse the messenger with this central power authority.

Africa Brief                                                                             13 November 2014

Contradictory policy making in SA

By Prof PDF STRYDOM  by Invitation             words 2000

The transition of South Africa from an authoritarian regime to a democratic country in 1994 raised expectations about a new democratic constitutional framework capable of achieving economic progress. 

The envisaged rainbow nation expected relatively high economic growth rates (i.e. in excess of the historic 3.5% p.a.). Such growth, together with government policies supporting human development and allocation of resources towards other developmental aims, was expected to secure the transformation of the country towards a more equal society.

Twenty years after transition, the progress towards these goals appears to be disappointing as measured against the original expectations and also what could have been expected by a reasonable person. 

Africa Brief                                                                                23 October 2014

Could SA be a better Story?  

By Cees Bruggemans & Prof Willie Esterhuyse            words 1800

Many South Africans experience the country's condition as being a "better story". But better to what? After all, pretty much all is relative.

And a better story for whom? The select few or the many, some of whom protest vehemently, to the point of making one doubt there really is a "better story".

Africa Brief                                                                                  1 October 2014

Torch Bearers   

by Cees Bruggemans & Prof Willie Esterhuyse          words 1650

Every society has been shaped by its past. What we encounter as our legacy is what has been bequeathed to us by those many generations that preceded us.

When handed the baton, we have to carry on. With the structures, training and talent granted us. In important respects on auto-pilot, determined by what previous generations have laid down. But in critical ways by our own inputs, as we in turn decide what to change, what to challenge, what to leave (for now).

Each one of us in our own specific way. And this aggregated higher in ever greater formations until at the pinnacle of society we encounter government for the people, by the people, of the people, often concentrated in one or more hands. Torch bearers. Leading the Way.

Africa Brief                                                                                       14 September 2014

Thinking Through SA exporting

By Cees Bruggemans            words 1700

Dear Reader,

I attended a presentation earlier this month in Pretoria, where Professor Peet Strydom, Prof Wilma Viviers and colleagues from North West University in Potchefstroom discussed the realities of South Africa’s foreign trade situation, in particular the changing world we find ourselves in, and what this means for our own foreign trade policy and performance.

I asked Professor Strydom whether he was prepared to share his views with a broader audience, especially policy makers and those experiencing the daily realities of what it means to be a South African exporter, as to what could lead to success and what clearly is no longer applicable.

This is what he had to say. 

Africa Brief                                                                              2 September 2014

Confusion & Standstill   

by Cees Bruggemans & Prof Willie Esterhuyse                    words 1120

We may perhaps be forgiven bewilderment when observing the apparently uncontrolled careering of our ship of state and economy.

Businesses, on the other hand, can't afford to be perplexed by unexplainable contradictions and their consequences. They need certainty. Growth stagnation and an encroaching state invites local operations to be turned into holding ones, to be put on a good care and maintenance basis, redirecting the core of most effort to other, more dynamic, overseas opportunities.

Africa Brief                                                                                     3 August 2014

Resilient Vitality of Society  

by Cees Bruggemans  and Prof Willie Esterhuyse                       words 760

Despite widespread evidence of the SA state being in disarray, and such weak government contributing critically to underperformance of the economy, directly and indirectly through a disturbed labour market, and strategic infrastructure services (such as electricity and municipalities), the SA economy nonetheless continues to grow.

Such resilient vitality can be traced to many vibrant entities carrying the economy even in difficult times, some resident in the public sector, but many more in the private sector.

Africa Brief                                                                                             1 July 2014

Disarray of the State   

by Cees Bruggemans and Prof Willie Esterhuyse          words 1200

The one outstanding characteristic of the South African state these past 20 years has been its outspoken ambitions, as described in speeches, conferences, planning and policy documents and intentions.

Its ultimate ambition became worded in aspiring to be a developmental state, one with the means, drive and vision to change (transform) the existing order of things fundamentally, and this generally in the shortest possible time frame.

Though much change was effected over this period, there was generally also much change in many state institutions effecting all this change, to the point of not recognizing many of these in due course, and this often not for the better.

Africa Brief                                                                                        11 June 2014

Cauterising the wound?   

By Cees Bruggemans & Prof Willie Esterhuyse                                 words 920

The Rustenburg platinum strike from the beginning had a peculiar character in that the leading union (AMCU), on behalf of the striking workers, demanded a more than doubling in the cash entry wage to R12500 monthly.

That was rather outsized and out of the box.

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