As we approach the 2024 elections, the date of which is expected to be announced this evening during the State of the Nation (Sona) address, there are worrying messages from the business community that ANC politics could severely damage the economy.
Banks are warning of an imminent drop in the rand’s value and increased unemployment this year. The negative messaging often has the effect of bringing about the negativity it warns of.
All this talk of disaster is overblown and South Africa is not at rock bottom.
Contrary to what we are hearing, the election will bring positive change and a realignment of economic forces that will spell growth for South Africa.
My argument is based on the fact that we have had an incompetent government for nearly 30 years, which has done everything in its power to destroy jobs and discourage investment. The ANC government is probably one of the world’s experts at self-destruction.
The reality is that South Africa is a rich country with capable citizens who have a desire to work together and make things work.
Kwame Nkrumah, the former president of Ghana (1960-1966), was right when he said: “Seek ye the political kingdom and all else shall follow.”
Following Plato’s philosophy, Nkrumah was searching for an ideal solution for fair governance in Ghana.
There is some truth to the philosophy.
Every South African citizen should know by now that the ANC government and its system of governance has not only failed us all but has destroyed what could have been an ideal state, initially embarked upon when we, as South Africans, endorsed and passed our first democratic constitution.
Almost from the first year of ANC governance, we started to see the cracks of poor governance, with the arms deal. From the arms deal to today, every ANC president, aided by their cabinets, has destroyed jobs and South Africa's capability.
Now we are on the cusp of a coalition government that must and will put job creation and service delivery at the top of its agenda.
This is good news and, as a united citizenry, we know that this must mean a quick turnaround from a struggling state to a developmental state. It is clear that this developmental state will come into being, and the business community should be encouraged to join hands with the new coalition government to ensure that they have the factors in place to create jobs and not only survive but thrive.
We see a large number of opposition political parties putting job creation at the top of their agendas.
The business community is a vital cog in the wheel of change. We need businesses to continue employing and investing in themselves. We need them to have a positive outlook that will encourage the new coalition government and spur it on to greater things. Businesses speak to me every day in my capacity as a labour lawyer.
I have suggested steps business can take, pending the positive outcome of the elections this year: Continue to employ and train as many staff as possible, gearing yourselves for a growth economy in the latter part of the.
If you are taking on new staff, do so on probation. Probation will give you the leeway to either confirm or deny permanent employment, pending the growth that will come with a new government.
Staff earning under the threshold, just below R22 000 a month, can be placed on three-month contracts. This is a legitimate option, pending the turnaround in government. The contracts can be terminated if the business believes that the new dispensation will not allow growth. Small businesses will benefit greatly under a new political environment. They will receive exemptions from onerous and negative labour regulations, and they will not be held back by employment equity and minimum wages. Small businesses are the engine room of job creation and will be the heroes in turning the economy around for the good of the country.
Congratulations to Independent Media for rejoining the Press Council. It has an excellent opportunity to encourage the youth to subscribe to the daily media and read about the excitement of an enormous change in South Africa. Imagine picking up your daily newspaper and hearing about the turnaround in South Africa’s employment situation. The excitement would be palpable.
* Michael Bagraim.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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