As we closed the final chapter of 2013 on a very sad note with the death of Nelson Mandela, I refuse to join the many negative discussions about this year we have just embarked on. I have made peace with the fact that it will be a difficult year, with many challenges for South Africa; economically and politically, but I have promised myself I will deal with it as it happens – I am not one for New Year’s resolutions.
If in life, the South African nation – and the world – has learnt so much from Madiba, it is in death that he will truly live in us. Looking at his funeral alone – we have, apart from international presidential forums, never seen so many world leaders in the same room. Not to mention the fact that the entire world mourned the death of the former president of a relatively small developing country at the most southern tip of Africa.
In my opinion, it all boils down to Madiba’s leadership style – and a number of leadership qualities that very few of us naturally possess. The big question the world is asking: “What will South Africa become without Madiba?” is yet to be answered. Although I have no doubt that we will be doing just fine – our greatest leader has taught his people well!
Yes – there will be tough times ahead in the entire world, and we are no exception. The recent price increases, increased inflation and an increasingly weaker rand, are all signs that the man in the street will be hard hit by a challenging economy as our living costs will soar to new heights.
This will in turn place added pressures on our leaders in all sectors of the economy to motivate and inspire the people who we are ‘responsible’ for in these critical times when morale is at its lowest. And that will be, in my opinion, the biggest challenge for South African leaders in 2014.
SA’s biggest challenge will be to further empower its people – as the pressures and expectations to deliver, 20 years into democracy, will increase. The drive to start rebuilding the economy will be stronger than ever as we work towards restoring our economy to its former glory.
With the 20th Investing in African Mining Indaba in February, I cannot think of a better place to start – hence this issue’s strong focus on mining, with the intention to inspire, encourage and provide insight into the one sector of our economy that has huge potential to boost SA in 2014. The many challenges facing our young democracy on a social, political and economic level will this year undoubtedly also impact the business sector as it has in the past, but if we work together as a nation, we will be able to move mountains and find true and sustainable solutions to fix what has been broken; in true Madiba spirit.
It will, however, require of us a fairly potent change in mind set – a shift from New Year’s resolutions to New Year’s solutions.