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Friends and friction: We risk a slide to the Stone Age

Mar 12 2017 06:26
Muzi Kuzwayo

Africa runs the risk of falling back into the Stone Age when compared with our trading partners and the rest of the world.

We cannot begin to quantify the damage caused by poor education and weak leadership.

The African disease of self-enrichment at the expense of the majority has afflicted our country tremendously.

Sadly, this trend is not reversing on the rest of the continent. We consistently elect leaders who are too old or ill and whose eyes are too feeble to see and prepare for the coming world.

Those in the seats of power are more concerned with longevity than legacy, and are unconcerned with the wellbeing of future generations.

The 74-year old Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari disappeared from his country, only to reappear in England, and sent a message to his country’s Parliament asking for a six-week medical leave.

The Malawian president, Peter Mutharika, also vanished only to reappear in America. Apparently he was sick, too.

President Jacob Zuma did the same a few years ago. He disappeared and reappeared in Russia, and now we are spooked by a possible nuclear deal.

Behaviour of this nature exposes many African countries to great danger of strife and disintegration, which is harmful to progress.

General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, wrote a poignant essay, The Value of Science in Prediction, in which he states: “[A] perfectly thriving state can, in a matter of months and even days, be transformed into an arena of fierce armed conflict, become a victim of foreign intervention, and sink into a web of chaos, humanitarian catastrophe and civil war.”

We saw this in north Africa.

This requires the president and the governing elite to be supervigilant.

In our country the challenges facing the ANC are particularly worrying.

It is now time to ask unsettling questions, such as: Is the ANC past the point of no return? Is it sliding to the grave, like many other great parties before it? No organisation can survive such an all-consuming internal strife as well as the relentless siege by outside forces, who are rightly engaged in wholesale sniping at corrupt officials.

When a country is beset by so many problems, the lines between genuine opposition and justified sedition become easily blurred.

During the honeymoon years of our liberation, we saw impressive economic growth that doubled the size of the black middle class.

And now, like a hastily constructed aeroplane that has been pushed to its limit, the cracks in the system are showing in mid-air.

It has become clear that the necessary skill for service delivery is glaringly lacking in the various tiers of government, leading to major discontent among the communities.

The lacklustre economic growth, both locally and globally, is leading to severe competition over diminishing resources.

Many municipalities in small mining towns rely on corporations to fund their service-delivery goals.

This is a dangerous public-private partnership because corporations do it only to keep the lid on riots so they can transport their goods in and out of those communities.

All of this is done in the guise of sustainability, but in reality it is unsustainable, because as soon as the cost of doing business exceeds profits, businesses will shut down, leading to devastating consequences in those communities.

At the moment there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

The current leadership lacks the intellectual capacity to turn on any light.

We will just have to learn to live in this era of great uncertainty caused by stupidity, and make sure we thrive despite it.

Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency

jacob zuma  |  muhamadu buhari  |  russia  |  nuclear  |  africa economy  |  trade


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