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South Africa’s future: choose your focus

“Just do something” is the current cry rising all over South Africa.

The appeal for action has gained volume and momentum in the wake of recent violent attacks across the country, with xenophobia and gender-based violence being cited as reasons for the recent spike.

Of course, the call for action is directed to the man in power: the country’s president. Cyril Ramaphosa’s reaction to the attacks on women and children was first articulated at a BrandSA breakfast, before a Cabinet meeting where the urgent matter was promised to be raised. While his response was widely regarded to be delayed, his message was strong, and he placed the responsibility firmly with men to own their role in stemming this tide of violence against women and children.

In my business and social circles, there seems to be a belief in the positive intentions of the President, but a general pessimism regarding the trajectory of the country. Certainly, the country’s leader is battling on several fronts, including persistent corruption within his own party.

Amid this uncertainty, and committed to the future of our country, I keep my radar up for positive moves that suggest a more sustainable future for us.

The clean-up continues

There are currently two commissions actively working to clean up and rebuild government. One way is to free critical institutions from the previous regime. SARS, the NPA, the Hawks, SAPS have all seen high-ranking officials departing and even arrests.

We recognise that our SOEs (State-Owned Enterprises) are in turmoil and are encouraged by processes underway to seek accountability, among which we find: Brian Molefe and Eskom; the PIC and the Mpati commission; Dudu Myeni and SAA. Transnet’s top five are gone and another eight on suspension. The Denel CEO has also gone.

A significant clean-up has been within the formerly bloated and expensive cabinet: 36 ministers now down to 28.

I take hope from this. Those we thought were untouchable are falling from grace. The commissions are slow but persistent. We are getting convictions. President Ramaphosa is placing a strong emphasis on our economic renewal – without that, we will not eliminate unemployment and inequities.

I am staying in South Africa. I believe in this beautiful country and choose to look at all the positives around us, without discounting the fact that we have a mountain to climb to make us a thriving South Africa.

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