One of the most informative, free subscriptions you can get delivered into your Inbox is Tom Dispatch. They’ve got awarded winning contributors who’ll chill you with the real news; what’s really happening in the world. It’s bloody. It’s scary. It’s intelligent.
Here’s the latest piece by founder, Tom Engelhardt:
I have mixed opinions about South Africa’s ex-President, F.W. de Klerk, but this is a fine speech that makes interesting reading for anyone wishing to understand our country simply and quickly.
I’ve listed some points below but you can find the full article HERE.
Our weaknesses are the subject of nightly dinner party discussions:
* We have made virtually no progress with the elimination of inequality since 1994.
* Linked to inequality is poverty. 42% of our population lives on less than two dollars a day. Almost 15 million South Africans subsist on child, old-age and disability allowances.
* One of the root causes of poverty is unemployment. Between 35% and 40% of black South Africans are unemployed or have given up their search for employment. One of the main causes of unemployment is our dysfunctional labour system. According to the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Competitiveness Report we are in the bottom eight countries in terms of labour-employer relations; flexibility of wage determination and hiring and firing practices.
* Poverty, inequality and unemployment create an environment in which violent crime can flourish. South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world – and the highest rape rate. The World Economic Forum gives us very poor marks for the reliability of police services, for the prevalence of organised crime and the business cost of crime.
* The failure of our education system is inexorably intertwined with inequality, poverty, unemployment and crime. Only 22% of children who entered the school system in 1995 passed matric in 2007 and only 5.2% did so with university exemption. Only 1.5% passed maths at the higher grade. According to the Global Competitiveness report our education system is the ninth worst in the world.
* A major contributor to all these weaknesses is the incapacity of many government departments and institutions, particularly at the provincial and municipal levels. This weakness is a major constraint in the Government’s ability to tackle new challenges and implement new programmes – such as the proposed National Health Insurance scheme 4.
Under strengths we can list the following:
* We have the 24th largest economy in the world. We produce 35% of the GDP of sub-Saharan Africa with only 6.5% of its population.
* Our public debt is less than 36% of GDP – and external debt is only 16% of GDP.
* Our natural resources are legendary – including gold and diamonds, platinum group metals and abundant and inexpensive coal.
* Nevertheless, tourism now contributes 8.3% of GDP – considerably more than mining. We have superb game parks, mountains and beach resorts. Cape Town is one of the world’s premier destinations with great facilities including three of the world’s top 100 restaurants.
* Automobile production now contributes almost as much to GDP as mining. In 2008 we produced 600 000 vehicles of which 170 000 were exported.
* According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report our auditing and reporting standards and regulation of securities exchanges are the best in the world. We are also in the top3seven with regard to the soundness of our banks, financial services and the efficacy of corporate boards. The Report also gives us high marks for the quality of our management schools, our anti-monopoly policy and local supplier quality.
* We are a constitutional democracy with an effective Bill of Rights; independent courts and a media that is still free – despite current threats.
Posted in Wicked World
Tagged anc, apartheid, causes of unemployment, economy, fw de klerk, inequality, julius malema, murder rates, politics, rape rate, root causes of poverty, south africa