The most recent Institute for Futures Research report (Stellenbosch University) shows that South Africa is a nation in deep economic crisis. Sadly, it is predicted that unless we act decisively and courageously we will continue to face economic challenges and decline.
Here are a few of the facts:
We have accepted that we will operate with a deficit budget (our expenses exceed our national income and will stay that way), we have low productivity and high labour costs (a 2% increase in productivity of labour, and an average of 10% increase in wages). We rely on foreign investment to fuel our economy since our internal economic base is too small to keep the economy growing. However, there are too few people in South Africa to pay the bills, which means that debt is increasing (the household debt to disposable income ratio averages at 80%!) This will become worse as fuel prices increase, electricity prices increase and farming shrinks. At the same time we have become hostile to foreigners and paint a picture of a corrupt, volatile and uncompetitive economy - which means that foreign investors are fewer and fewer. The "upshot is a continuous erosion of the domestic and international competitiveness of South African produced goods and services" (Andre Roux in Strategy Insights Report: Economic, IFR, Vol 23 No 03 Mar 2015).
It doesn't have to be this way!
We can stand together and deal with poverty, inequality and corruption. It takes a choice that is sustained through our collective action.
What we need in South Africa is a commitment to the common good of all, a commitment to active citizenship that holds the citizens to account, and will not allow either government or big business to steal from us. That is part of the good news - we are a democracy that still has the right to exercise our democratic freedom. We can, and should, use those rights to hold our political and economic leaders to account.
South Africans deserve it, and so does South Africa. We are a nation with such great promise in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Let's hold hope high and work for the good of all.
I choose to act. I will act for the common good. I will work for reconciliation. I will work for justice. I will not be silent.