January 8 Statement failed to address productivity

Mabila Mathebula

Mabila Mathebula

Published Jan 22, 2024


I am eternally indebted to friends and family members who send me good morning messages and wave me good night in the evening.

Yesterday morning I found the following enchanting and mentally stimulating message: “When we are wrong and we surrender, it means we are honest.”

During his January 8 address, President Cyril Ramaphosa confessed the ANC’s mistakes and missteps without any surrender: “You make mistakes and missteps, and you stumble, but that is the nature of life. The important thing is whether you are moving forward and we as the African National Congress can testify to the fact that we’ve continued to move forward.”

Mistakes are part of the learning curve. However, if we recycle them when we are in office, they automatically cease to be mistakes and automatically become deliberate acts.

The cheering morning message went on to say: “But when we are right and we surrender, it means we value relations.”

It would be short-sighted of me if all the ANC members were painted with the same brush. There are those who are honest and doing the right things. They surrendered and took collective responsibility for the organisation under all sorts of countervailing pressures.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is a good public speaker, but confession does not need the art of public speaking. It only needs the art of honesty and humility. The president could take a leaf out of the book of the parable of the Prodigal Son: “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘I have sinned against heaven and before you and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.’ ”

Is it possible for the ruling party say that they had made stupendous mistakes and they were not worthy to govern and settled to be an opposition party? It is also not good to sugar-coat mistakes; you must call a spade a spade and not a silver spoon.

Sandile Swana wrote, “Renewal, therefore, must be about the stripping of the ANC of excess baggage of criminals – the corrupt, the incompetent and the lazy. Then the resources, processes and structure of the ANC and the state will start to perform optimally once again.”

Out of the 40 000 ANC members who attended the event at Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga last week, none was born when the organisation was launched in 1912. However, the founding fathers factored them in their programme of action as silent stakeholders.

Silent stakeholders are persons who neither participate in the process nor have control over resources or uncertainties that are relevant for the resolution of the problem, but are affected by the problem.

The main goal of the founding fathers was the total liberation of all South Africa. Put differently, they were generational thinkers who embraced the ‘other-centred mentality’ as opposed to the self-centred mentality.

Basic to understanding any ruling party’s performance report is a tapestry of three concepts of productivity: effectiveness, efficiency and equity.

Effectiveness is measured by the degree to which goals are achieved. Efficiency is measured by examining how the party uses its resources. Equity is judged by the distribution of services among the people and community the organisation is supposed to serve.

If there is an increased percentage for the recipients of grants, it means we will never achieve our economic rate growth target of 5.4%. Hitherto, the country has failed to achieve a 2% GDP growth.

It seems that we do not know what port we are steering for; therefore, no wind is favourable to us. We have no strategy to move people from welfare to ‘workfare’ because we are always dangling the welfare carrot.

We cannot gloat over dishing out welfare to our people. The chief aim of welfare is to help those in acute need. The Bible uses the word “charity” as an honourable word to help those in need. Shakespeare, writing of mercy, called it twice blessing: “It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

Jared Taylor, in his book Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America, argues that charity that has been stripped of every blessing is a curse –twice curses – for it curses him that gives and him that takes.

He concludes: “Welfare is a form of obligatory charity to which all taxpayers are forced to contribute. When charity is coerced, it is closer to extortion.”

The late Professor TW Kambule once told me that people feel no gratitude for something to which they are entitled. I hope the ANC manifesto will address the issue of ‘workfare’ with a view to adding to the fiscus.

In 2063, the number of people on welfare will not judge the ANC, but they will be judged by economic growth. Measures change over time: like a professor who applies for an old age home, the social worker do not ask for his qualifications but for his next of kin to process his application.

Author and life coach Mathebula has a PhD in construction management.

The Star

Mabila Mathebula