The words of the song by Joan Jett came to mind when I read this email from
Richard Koch, author of the 80/20 Principle:
IT’S ONLY ROCK & ROLL – BUT I LIKE IT
And now for something completely different. Does pop music – and popular culture generally – herald the end of Western civilization?
One man who believes it might do is the admirable Jonah Goldberg, whose Suicide of the West I have already reviewed favorably. In one chapter of this book – Pop Culture Politics – he says some truly intriguing things. He quotes Victor Hugo, who said “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words, and that which cannot remain silent.” He could well have also quoted Plato – “A change to a new type of music is something to beware of as a hazard to all our fortunes. For the modes of music are never disturbed without unsettling the most fundamental political and social conventions.”
Can this really be true?
“Popular culture,” Jonah says, “gives us the clearest widow into the romantic dimension that we all live in.” This is not a compliment.
“My claim,” he goes on, “is not so much that there are elements of romanticism in rock and roll, but that rock and roll is romanticism” – which for Jonah is a bad thing. He gives a list of the key themes of rock and roll and other popular music – “defy authority and throw off the chains, true love, damn the consequences, nostalgia for an imagined better past, the superiority of youth, contempt for selling out, alienation, paganism and pantheism, and, like an umbrella over it all, the supremacy of personal feelings above all else.”
“Rock and roll fancies itself as outside ‘the system.’ It claims a higher or truer authority based on feelings that, like the poets of earlier generations, defy the tyranny of the slide rule and the calculator … Nowhere is the romantic mixture of pantheism, primitivism, and the primacy of feelings more evident than in rock’s appeal to inner authority and authenticity … Nor is it a coincidence that rock appeals most directly to adolescents. Your teenage years are the time when the civilized order and your inner primitive are most at war.”
“It is also no coincidence that the post-World War II era of peace, prosperity, and conformity largely created the idea of the teenager. The buttoned-down 1950s gave adolescents something to rebel against. Similarly, the peace and prosperity of the post-Cold War world created the adolescent forty-year-old. The comfort of prosperity leads, in Schumpeterian fashion, to a cultural backlash against the established order and bourgeois values.”
Jonah then goes on to consider hit movies. Movies such as The Exorcist, The Godfather, The Stepford Wives, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest all had this in common – “The idea that contemporary life was out of balance and off-kilter, inauthentic, or oppressive, and that elites and the system were broken, corrupt, or inadequate to the task of making life right.”
The glorification of violence, he says, is also a huge problem....Read the full Article Here.
There's a good, positive twist towards the end........
Nowadays I often wake up to the words of Sixteen Tons by Tenessee Ernie Ford
You load 16 tons and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
St. Peter don't you call me, 'cos I can't go,
I owe my soul to the company store........
Instead of: Oh! What a Beautiful Morning - by Joel Mcrea
Oh! What a beautiful morning,
Oh! What a beautiful day,
I've got a beautiful feeling,
Everything's going my way......
That always make me feel a lot better. How about you?
20 years ago we got very excited when the Internet took off.
Unfortunately, it also normalised bad behaviour.
Some thought they could just say whatever they felt.
Whenever they felt like it.
On Social Media. Everywhere.
And the garbage became prevalent, and seemed normal.
There will always be people who do and say things that are wrong - if the rewards are big enough.
Money. Attention. Fame. Infamy. Mostly money.
Then there are the people who think: "If they can get away with it, why can't I?"
And so it degenerates into the mess we find ourselves in today.
Crime. Corruption. Murder. Rape. Child abuse. Women abuse. The list goes on and one.
We think it's common, but it isn't. There's a small minority who spoil it for the majority.
The loudmouth bullies.
But there is hope. There's always hope. But it's up to us.
We need to take responsibility for our own actions.
We need to pay more attention and start rewarding the people who do good and stand up to the bullies.
Encourage like-minded folk to behave in the right way.
And follow their example.
The best antidote to a culture shifting to bad behavior is to Re-normalize Good Behavior - Seth Godin.
We all need to do the best we can. Be the best humans we can be.
For more like this, join the ANSup News Club - An email every Tuesday at 8 am. No Spam.
The relationship with the customer
If you’ve ever bought a mattress online, or a private label product from Amazon, you’ve experienced the value created by the last step.
That mattress company didn’t make the mattress.
And Amazon doesn’t make light bulbs.
There are countless factories vying to sell generic products to the companies that own the customer relationship. Perhaps 90% (sometimes 100%) of the profit goes to companies that make the sale, not the ones who actually made the product.
That’s because while they make the thing, they don’t do the work. The hard part is earning attention and trust.
The hard part is helping someone make the choice. (There’s a difference between the hard part and the important part. Without the factory, there’s nothing to sell. Making it is important. But increasingly, it’s not the hard part.)
The Broadway producer makes a profit, the chorus member ekes out a living.
Either you’re doing the hard part or you’re left out of the transaction.
Join the ANSup News Club for regular articles, videos, encouragement and products. No Spam, Ever!
A message from Jiffy Worldwide
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Jiffy abides by the highest standards both in safeguarding the environment as well as providing the highest quality, in many cases certified products, to its customers. The professional grower of today relies on the best technical assistance for the products chosen as inputs in their businesses.
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Working together we can change the world.
Make small wins work for you
The internet has changed how we see ourselves as successful.
Anything that doesn't bring "instant" wealth is a failure.
We've all heard the old saying: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
We should change that to read: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single win.”
Our success begins when we make small wins every day.
Start small and build from there. A series of small wins will get you that big success.
Another saying: "Rome wasn't built in a day" Remember that one? How easily we forget.
Everyone is going after the "instant wealth" idea. Microwave everything.
A large number of small wins over time will bring that "overnight success" in the end.
It will seem like an overnight success. The penny only drops right at the end.
One small win leads to another, then another and another. Culminating in one Big Win.
If one wants to save a million Rand, for instance. It isn't done in one week or even a year.
Break it down. 1 million over 25 years means you have to put aside 40 000 every year.
That's 3 333.00 per month. Or 150.00 per week. 30.00 every day sounds a whole lot easier than
3 333.00 per month, doesn't it?
Put it in the bank every day, you won't even miss it.
Some banks even have a "save your change" system linked to the account.
You can always add more, if you want.
Do that and you'll have plenty saved in no time. Without even realising it.
The trick of course is never to touch that savings account.
Rather put it into some other kind of investment every month.
Not difficult when it's out of sight and out of mind. Let it grow.
It's easy to cut back on luxuries you don't need. Eat out twice a month, not once a week.
Do you need that new cellphone on a contract every two years?
Or the new car every four or five years. On credit.
Make it last and put the monthly payments into your savings.
Most of our problems arise out of our inflated expectations.
We don't have to keep up with the van der Merwes or Sitholes.
Or anybody else for that matter.
Make do, and be grateful for what we have.
There's a whole lot more value in peace of mind than having a whole lot of money.
Teach your children how to save, so they don't fall into the peer pressure trap later in their lives.
People like Richard Branson, Bill Gates or Warren Buffet didn't become billionaires overnight. Despite the Internet.
It took them many years to reach their goal of financial independence.
And that's exactly what it is. Independence.
Not who has the most. Or the biggest car. Or the most beautiful Mansion.
They worked and lived in garages at home.
Mr Buffet still lives in the same house, with the same wife, he bought fifty years ago. Paid Cash.
For the house, not the wife.
He still flies economy class. Can afford his own jet, but chooses to be "normal".
He gives most of his wealth to charity. Now that's being very rich.
But, he started with nothing and built his wealth one dollar at a time.
The Beatles played in sordid nightclubs for years, before they hit the big time.
They wrote hundreds of songs which "failed".
Until they recorded "Love me Do" in 1964. Then everything exploded and they became very, very wealthy young men.
But it was a huge struggle in the beginning.
These tips have been around for many years. How many of us listened? Not too many of us.
Don't let your future become spoiled for the want of instant gratification.
We don't have to live like paupers.
But, we need to slow down a bit and do the little things more often.
Before we can live like Kings.
I have attended a number of "Free" Webinars recently, offering me these once-in-a-lifetime offers.
About an hour plus of telling me how easy it is to make 10, 20, 50 or even 100,000 Dollars or Rands.
Of course there is a price to pay, but they only tell you about that right at the end.
"Cheap" at around R5 000. Some are even more. Paid up front.
You can learn how to do all this quickly with the "system" they offer.
Social Media is full of them.
Very soon you'll be driving the Ferrari and living in your R10m mansion in Camps Bay.
Or will you?
Have you been there? Have you done it? Are you wealthy beyond your imagination?
Believe me, trying to make money online is NOT easy. Or quick.
Luckily for me, I did sign up for a course about 10 years ago.
It was called the "Earnster Ninja" way to make a living online.
Presented by Peter Carruthers. Still presented by Peter Carruthers.
He's been around since the eighties.
I have done many of Pete's courses since then.
He is not a fly-by-night, here today, gone tomorrow webinar presenter.
He does many webinars to help his students.
My overnight success has taken me about 20 years, also online and using email as my marketing tool.
That, of course is free. So is Facebook and other Social Media.
Unless you want to throw money away by paying for "Likes".
"Likes" don't pay the rent. People who buy your products do.
You loyal, regular customers. Not the ones who only buy on price.
Or when you discount something just to get the sale.
There are plenty of people who do that.
A lot have fallen by the wayside because of being the "cheapest". Or the "Biggest". Or the "Best".
Below is an extract from an email I got from Peter just last week.
He writes so much better than I can.
Talking about his many "once-in-a-lifetime" offers.
"You create your own once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
When you receive such an offer, it is from someone who will offer this opportunity to you once in their lifetime. (Or at least once this week.) As they will to everyone else reading their emails.
They have no idea who you are, no understanding of the complexity of your life. They could not care less about your passions, your joys, your frustrations. You should borrow money because this opportunity will never come back.
They practice every hook in the book to persuade you to muster a few dollars.
Your money helps them relieve their itch to buy a new Bugatti La Voiture Noire.
(Or the Ferrari mentioned above - Chris W) Theirs, not yours.
Giving somebody money - no matter why - is unlikely to be something you do once in your lifetime.
It's certainly likely to be something you do only once to this person.
This opportunity they offer might not be entirely in the league they profess it to be.
Chances are you will be disappointed at missing their promised nirvana.
People who make this kind of promise are not often as fast to refund your investment.
I took up another once-in the-a-lifetime offer five weeks ago.
The three-hour sales pitch was exceptional. Much better than the product, it turns out.
Hint to self. Always sleep on every once-in-lifetime opportunity. Morning always brings clarity.
I asked for a refund a few weeks later. ClickBank referred it to the seller.
He pointed out his offer of a refund could only be invoked after 12 months.
To qualify, I must keep SARS-quality records of each minute I invest in making his ideas work.
I have doubts about the process. I have no doubt I will not buy from him or ClickBank again.
And the one year warranty isn't quite as honest as it might seem.
There are no guidelines on what "reasonable efforts" might be.
Or how often Facebook must close my business account.
(He highlights this as a common challenge his students face).
Not a single email after the first one pointing me at the course."
At least I know what I will get from Peter's Courses.
There are many of them, by the way. From as little as R197.00. How to Start your own Business.
He even gives some of them away for free.
All to help and guide Small Business Owners in South Africa. That's his passion.
I would suggest a visit the the Academy of Business Owners.
No Promises, No Hype, No BS. Just sincere teaching and mentorship.
Roots grow through the pot wall naturally and are air pruned stimulating stronger, more fibrous root development than in plastic pots.
There is no need to ‘de-pot’ before potting on or planting out which impacts a growers labour savings.
Establishment after potting on is quicker as there is no root disturbance, so the growing period is normally reduced by several weeks compared to plants grown in plastic pots.
No recycling or disposal costs are incurred.
Quicker rooting is achieved because temperature fluctuations in the root zone are reduced and the average root zone temperature is 1 degree higher than in plastic pots.
Reduced Water Consumption
The ability to retain moisture in the pot wall can reduce water consumption by up to 20% compared to plastic pots, allowing shorter or less frequent irrigation cycles.
The Coir Jiffy-Pot provides a peat-free alternative to the standard product.
Coir pots allow even faster root penetration through the pot wall, making them ideal for short-term crops or where quick potting on is desirable.
Water distribution throughout the pot is quicker and more uniform, making them ideal for sub-irrigated beds and crops that require precise water management.
Coir Pots are suitable for use in Organic production systems.
The Jiffy-Pot is the environmentally friendly alternative to the excessive use of plastic in horticulture. Jiffy Pots are 100% bio-degradable and approved for organic production, whilst being well suited to mechanical handling in the Nursery.
Enquiries - Join the ANSup Club. Free Membership. No Spam, EVER.
Plastic Plant Pots from ANSup
(Chris Wilkinson: Trading as African Nursery Supplies)
Unfortunately, we are not able to do deliveries any longer.
But we can arrange for you or your courier service to pick up from the factory in Roodepoort.
Wholesale Prices - No VAT.
Enquiries - Join the ANSup Club. Free Membership. No Spam, EVER.
Or Contact Chris by email.
I subscribe to Peter Carruthers' Petes Weekly. Have been doing so since the 80's.
Everybody should. Many pearls of wisdom, every week.
Here's an extract from last weeks message.
I am not a brand. I am a "Peter".
I have been a "Peter" offline since 1958. And online, since 1999.
I raise this because people say I have a "brand". No. I am Peter, and whatever I do is congruent with that, not with some image I want to create.
I tried to change my signature this past week to better reflect my "Peter". I realised most of my work has been serving people, rather than trying to get famous. The point of a "brand" is to get famous fast for folk to find you faster.
A brand is a fallacy, an illusion. People can have integrity. Companies cannot. A company's integrity, that brand it tries to build, depends on the behaviour of the leader. The person at the top drives how the people in the firm behave. It's the behaviour that reinforces the image it tries to create.
You can read the full piece on Pete's Blog Here.
Just like Peter, I too am not a "brand".
I have been serving the people in the Nursery and Landscaping industry since the 1970's.
I even have a SANA Gold Medal and Honorary Membership, for my service to the industry.
I am not going to bore you with the details, you can read all About Me here.
This is my website, not my "brand".
About 1 700 people "Like" my Page on Facebook (African Nursery Supplies). A lot of members have come from there, but my focus is on the weekly ANSup News Club members. My "Club" so to speak.
Maybe I should call it my family.
That's where I focus my attention, not with the masses.
Enquiries - Join the ANSup Club. Free Membership. No Spam, EVER.
Or Contact Me by email.
The whole world is anti plastic nowadays.
It's time to start using Jiffy 7C Pellets in the propagation and growing of seeds and cuttings.
Used by the pro's all around the world. Eco-friendly. Help to save the planet.
Save on water. Save on Time. Save on Labour. Save on everything. Fight climate change.
But don't take my word for it. Make an Enquiry. Get the lowdown. Make a choice.
Benefits of using Jiffy 7 Coco Peat Pellets.:
Get the comprehensive Jiffy Technical Manual - Free when you join my little "Club"..
You'll also be able to download the ANSup catalogue, so you can place an order - if you want to.
No Pressure. Any time or any way. I don't do Spam. You tell me what to do.
The short video below shows how they work. Very Simple.
Have a Good Day.
PS. Still not sure whether Jiffy will work for you? Don't take my word for it.
Try a "Starter Pack" and experiment. We learn by DIY.
Get the comprehensive Jiffy Technical Manual - Free - Join the "Club".
The whole world is moving away from plastic nowadays.
Especially for the propagation and growing on of seed and seedlings.
The early methods - Sowing trays, seedtrays, pots, soil. Labour intensive.
Jify products are environmentally friendly and bio-degradable.
The whole unit is transplanted into the garden or container - no transfer shock or root damage, giving the plant a much better chance of healthy growth.
Because the coir retains water at a much better rate, 30% less water is needed for the plant to thrive.
Excellent in drought conditions.
The 7C Pellets are also labour saving. No need to fill plastic pots with soil. No fertilizer required.
Just add water, plant the seed. and watch them grow
Still not sure? Begin with a "Starter Pack" and grow from there. Make an Enquiry
Start small and grow slowly. We all have to start somewhere.
Roses in Jiffy 7C Case Study
The customer is a large producer of cut roses and propagate their own rose plants as well as propagating for other growers.
The challenge was to find a high quality, reproducible growing medium which did not vary between batches and year on year.
In addition, the client required ease of use and specific features such as quick rooting, a good tray system, easy transportability and very importantly, ease of transplant.
The client has used the Jiffy 7C pellet for many years and has experimented with various sizes.
The pellet size settled on was the 50 x 60mm pellet as it gave sufficient size to keep the cutting in the nursery for the required time while allowing sufficient room for root growth.
Currently, the client is conducting ongoing trials with the 40 x 60mm pellet and results are promising.
This would mean a decrease in price per plant for the customer as well as improved usage of space in the nursery, while still providing the plants with the room to develop sufficient rooting.
A number of tray systems have also been trialed and currently the Jiffy 50 x 45mm cavity tray (deep tray) is being used.
The depth of the tray is important in retaining moisture and encouraging root growth.
The following benefits were noticed:
The Jiffy 7C works well for propagating rose plants under African conditions.
The client has been able to expand their business as a result of a constant supply of good plants to the greenhouse and in addition produce plants for sale.
Not only has the Jiffy 7C proven itself when growing roses but also when transporting small plants and transplanting.
This has enabled boxing and shipment of plants to customers.
Make an Enquiry
Jonathan Gravenor | TEDxOcala
Featuring Vusi Thembekwayo.
The following speech was delivered by the DA leader in the National Assembly yesterday,
during the urgent debate on South Africa’s unemployment crisis.
There is no doubt we are a nation in crisis. As we speak, large parts of Gauteng are a war zone as attacks on foreign nationals continue unabated.
Women and children are being raped and murdered every day.
Truck drivers have become sitting ducks in ongoing attacks and children disappear from their homes.
Enough is enough.
We are a country at war with itself. And in the background to this chaos, the massive shadow of unemployment hangs over our society. Almost four out of every ten South Africans can’t find work.
How did we reach this point?
It’s simple: We are in this situation because of a leadership crisis.
Our country is burning and our people feel they have nothing left to lose because we have a government that cannot lead.
It cannot agree on policy, it cannot implement whatever it has agreed on, and it cannot hold anyone accountable for this inaction.
Five years ago there were 8 million South Africans without work. This was considered a massive number, and clearly our biggest crisis.
Today, that number has breached the 10 million mark, and there is no sign of it slowing down. Soon it will be 11 and then 12 million.
By then, the powder keg that is now beginning to spark across Gauteng will have erupted nation-wide, and debates such as these will be too late. We need to fix this right now. We need to immediately set in motion the reforms that can shock our economy back into life.
Not set up commissions. Not open dialogues or embark on roadshows. We need action.
And so I table our economic recovery plan.
To start with, we have to all agree that only economic growth can pull us from the fire.
This means focusing all our efforts on the things that will make South Africa a more attractive option for investors, and an easier place to be an employer.
It also means identifying every area where we can plug the massive hole in our fiscus, and we should start with our SOE’s.
We must split Eskom into separate generation and distribution entities right away, and allow more Independent Power Producers to sell power into the grid.
When it comes to SAA, we must immediately place it under business rescue with a view to selling it off. We cannot continue to bail it out at the expense of poor South Africans.
Then we need to set up a government-wide review on spending in order to prioritise all future spending. This includes curbing the Public Sector wage bill.
It also includes walking away from disastrous policies like the NHI, EWC, National Minimum Wage, nationalisation of the Reserve Bank and now also talk of prescribed assets.
These policies will repel investment, they will lock out more people from the labour market and they will cripple our national budget.
We must also admit that BEE was never about broad-based inclusion, and we must scrap it entirely. We need a redress plan centred on inclusive growth to ensure real broad-based participation in the economy.
As part of this plan, we’d like to see the creation of a Jobs & Justice Fund to provide start-up capital for SMME’s.
Redress should also be about reversing one of Apartheid’s most damaging legacies – the destruction of wealth transfer. And one of the best ways to achieve this is to give more people title to the land they live on.
Honourable Members, many young people aren’t just unemployed, they are unemployable thanks to poor education and and a non-existent skills pipeline.
Is it not time to set up a national civilian service for young people so that they can learn skills through internships?
When it comes to declaring South Africa open for business, the first thing we must do is to relax our labour legislation to create an environment in which businesses can create jobs.
We must pass the DA’s Jobs Bill, which contains a wide range of incentives for foreign companies to invest in South Africa.
We also need to look at tax incentives for our big job-creating sectors like manufacturing, tourism, mining and financial services.
Of course government must also start paying all businesses on time and in full.
And let us place the police under the control of provincial governments to better protect citizens and businesses.
Honourable Members, many of these steps can be implemented right away, and would have an immediate positive effect on the economy.
But it seems we’re not the only ones who think so. The Treasury document released last week by the Finance Minister contains some of the reforms we have been calling for.
It is by no means a comprehensive strategy for growth, but it has practical steps we can take right now to kick-start the economy and start rolling back unemployment.
It is a document we support, and have already put into action in our own governments.
But, Honourable Members, a plan is not enough.
This ANC government has never been short on plans. Every few years there’s been a new one, from GEAR, to the NDP, to the New Growth Plan.
What government has been short on, however, is action – the courage to make tough choices. And we all know what those choices are.
You can’t speak of curbing spending while granting the public sector increases of 11% per year for a decade.
You need the courage to say no.
You can’t speak of tightening the belt while continuing to keep SAA in the air through endless bailouts. This is of no benefit to poor South Africans.
You can’t speak of overhauling education without taking on SADTU and limiting their destructive power over our children’s future.
You can’t speak of cleaning up government if you’re not prepared to prosecute those inside your own party who were responsible for the looting.
You can’t begin to build a capable state if you won’t abandon cadre deployment and dismantle the patronage system it created.
Any plan is only as good as the intention to follow through on it. You need the courage to act and make tough choices.
Regardless what Treasury says, its document is most likely dead in the water because the ANC is a fundamentally divided party, and therefore it cannot act.
Remember, the party that wrote this document is the same party that also proposed the NHI, EWC and prescribed assets.
These things are polar opposites, and South Africans need to know this.
They need to know that the reason for our crisis is not because there is something wrong with us as a nation, but because we have a government paralysed by factions and fights.
We need to reform our politics.
We need to reform our economy.
And we need to reform our society.
The ball is now in your court, President Ramaphosa. You know what needs to be done. And you know you have an ally in the DA if you choose to act.
The question is: Will you have the courage to do so?
Enough is enough. It’s now time for action.
An enlightening and entertaining interview with Jack Ma - Founder of Ali Baba in China.
I highly recommend everybody involved in business to subscribe to Vusi's YouTube Channel.
Highly informative with a great deal of fun thrown in.
As John Berks would say "What a Boykie"
A Vusi Tembekwayo Masterclass
The end of reputation
AI can now easily (8 seconds) change the identity of someone in a film or video.
Multiple services can now scan a few hours of someone’s voice and then fake any sentence in that person’s voice.
Open publishing on platforms like the Kindle means that there’s no gatekeeper to verify the source of what you read. Perhaps there’s already a fake Kindle book by “Malcolm Godin” and “Seth Gladwell”.
I wonder if it’s any good or if someone simply wanted to fool a search engine?
Don’t buy anything from anyone who calls you on the phone. Careful with your prescriptions. Don’t believe a video or a photo and especially a review. Luxury goods probably aren’t. That fishmight not even be what it says it is.
But we need reputation. The people who are sowing the seeds of distrust almost certainly don’t have your best interests in mind - we’ve all been hacked.
Which means that a reshuffling is imminent, one that restores confidence so we can be sure we’re seeing what we think we’re seeing.
But it’s not going to happen tomorrow, so now, more than ever, it seems like we have to assume we’re being conned.
Sad but true.
What happens after the commotion will be a retrenchment, a way to restore trust and connection, because we have trouble thriving without it.
It seems the ANC has a DA finance minister!
Tito Mboweni’s economic strategy paper released on Tuesday is a ray of light and hope on an otherwise dark horizon. His prescription is exactly what our failing economy needs. His proposed reforms are practical, realistic and achievable, policies that the DA has long been calling for. They will have the desired effect of boosting jobs and growth and reducing poverty, unemployment and inequality. They should be implemented immediately.
The DA in parliament will work with Mboweni to make this plan a reality. Where we govern, we stand ready to implement his recommendations. This is about changing the lives of millions of South Africans who are without work, without dignity and losing hope. It is about reversing South Africa’s slide, breaking the vicious cycle of low growth leading to debt leading to low growth, and setting up a virtuous cycle of growth generating opportunities for more and more people generating more growth. What Mboweni needs now to push his plans through is vocal, robust support from all quarters, be it civil society groupings, think tanks or opposition parties. Most of all, he needs President Ramaphosa’s full support.
South Africa’s economy is in such a bad way and the reform required so obvious that the complete lack of change under the new administration has been perplexing and dismaying. Of course, there are many in the ANC who seek to obstruct reform because it threatens their entrenched interests. But Minister Mboweni and others in the ANC who support reform surely know that they would have the full support of the DA and many other opposition parties too for any reforms they choose to pass.
This reform agenda is based on the principle, long held by the DA, that only a growing economy can deliver real, broad prosperity and generate more tax revenue for the state to spend on social services. It shows a welcome commitment to a market- rather than state-led economy and to the fiscal discipline we need to get us out of our current debt trap. It seeks to make it easier for businesses to start up, operate, and compete globally. It is music to our ears!
The DA strongly supports the proposal of “full or partial exemptions for SMMEs from certain kinds of regulations, including labour regulations, to mitigate the start-up costs for SMMEs, but also to reduce the considerable regulatory requirements”. Unlocking small business activity is the key to mass job creation and skilling.
We also welcome the proposal that municipalities should take over control of local transport including rail. This will enable us in the Western Cape to develop an integrated bus-rail commuter system, which would take some half million commuters off Cape Town’s roads and into safer, greener, cheaper buses and trains while alleviating road congestion.
And of course, we whole-heartedly embrace the focus on boosting labour-intensive activity such as tourism and agriculture by relaxing visa regulations and creating an enabling environment for investment in agriculture including by upholding private property rights. We have long called for more competition in the energy and communications industries to increase access and reduce costs. So, we welcome the proposals to unbundle Eskom, sell its coal stations and introduce an independent grid operator, as well as to open Telkom’s fixed-line broadband network and auction spectrum.
The only criticism we at the DA could level at Mboweni’s reform strategy is that it does not go far enough. Cities must be able to purchase power directly from independent producers (IPPs) and the police service must be provincialized. We’d like to see BBBEE scrapped or completely overhauled to enable real redress, and an unequivocal rejection of Reserve Bank nationalisation, expropriation without compensation, the national minimum wage and national health insurance (at least until we have a more solvent and capable state), all of which introduce risk and deter investment.
But I say this only for completeness, recognising that Mboweni faces constraints within his own party, and his need for pragmatism. We understand that he’s biting off just as much as can realistically be chewed right now.
If the pattern of support for this reform agenda could be mapped, it would show clearly that the ANC is ideologically schizophrenic with the majority in the party resisting change to protect vested interests. However, I believe an overall majority in South Africa’s political establishment would support these reforms. Hence a realignment of South Africa’s politics is required.
We need a coalition that places South Africa as the priority and supersedes party interests. Our constitution binds us as citizens and requires us to advance the interests of all citizens. It is the basis for the broad consensus that can ultimately ensure we agree on a workable plan. The fiscus must be managed in such a way that we build a capable state that can combat corruption and execute this plan. At the end of the day, only broad consensus on reform and a capable state can deliver real prosperity to our nation.