EDITOR'S NOTE

Hope is in the air

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Welcome to another edition of South Africa’s favourite business-to-business monthly. We’ve hardly had time to take a breath since the last time we touched base and now, there’s a positive political change in the air. Are we gearing up for an economic upswing in 2018?

If anybody can lead us into greater prosperity and lessen the frightening unemployment rates, it’s the new head honcho, Cyril Rhamaphosa, with his vast business acumen history, including directorships at Standard Bank, the Bidvest Group, Macsteel Holdings, Alexander Forbes, SAB Miller and MTN to name a few during his impressive business career, who is en route to amassing a net worth in the region of R6.4-billion.

However, South Africa is facing down a budget deficit that is pushing R100 billion if nothing is done in the coming years to stop the rot. I remember clearly, under the astute guidance of former Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel, every effort was made to keep the deficit down to zero. Somewhere along the line, that spendthrift outlook was abandoned for a more laissez-faire approach to spending and human resource management.

Let’s hope that the new regime can cut out a lot of the dead weight in the public sector, which, alone, would do a lot in bringing our debt down and lessening potential tax hikes. South Africa does not want to end up in a situation like the United States is facing, with its deficit outstripping GDP as debt skyrockets.

What is more positive about the happenings of the last month is that they have proved that South Africa still has a strong democracy and our legal system is healthy. There are a few examples of peaceful, non-violent changes of power in Africa, so the country as a whole and the ANC should receive credit for that.

Hopefully, we are seeing a shift on the continent as a whole. As democracy and economic emancipation take seed, we are seeing a new era of African leaders taking centre stage. You could argue that humans, in general, are looking for more non-violent solutions than in years gone by. Countries’ borders, on the whole, are better respected by the superpowers who, before the social media revolution, could get away with a lot more.

What our new president has shown is that most South Africans just want to get on with life, get a job and live in relative harmony with each other if they are given the opportunity. I think a lot of the hatred between different groups of people is fuel by the media and political agendas. Sadly, bad news sells better than good news.

But the good news is that hope is in the air for a brighter, transparent future for all South Africans to enjoy.

Finally, apologies to S’onqoba Maseko for the byline error in her Thought Leader article in the February edition, thank you for the contribution.

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