“Your lead piece, "Governance is everything" certainly applies here in South Africa. May, will be a defining month for both India and South Africa. Both have had elections and while India has chosen the path of a business friendly government keen to come to grips the problems the country faces the electorate here has chosen more of the same. More of the same cancerous corruption whose tentacles filter down from the Presidency to local level. This country still has the albatross around its neck of "The Freedom Struggle" and it will be years before the electorate will abandon the party who won it for them. Whatever else the cruel Apartheid regime left this country, it did leave in 1994 the best infrastructure on the continent, an infrastructure now crumbling fast due to under investment. International investors will be watching closely who will be appointed as Finance minister here whether the talented Pravin Gordhan will be replaced by someone less well regarded. Where the Platinum industry is concerned the first world war expression, "Lions led by donkeys" comes to mind as two rival unions compete for power over the labour force, both unions regarding the employers as "the enemy". It doesn't take too many brain cells to see how this will end. For me the most depressing aspect of modern South Africa is the appalling condition of State education where poor quality teachers have free rein in schools and, because of the opposition of their powerful union, are not subject to any form of outside inspection. The world economic forum's index for overall education ranks South Africa 140 out of 144 and in maths and science 143rd. As it is the youth that will be the future, this does not bode well. Anyway, well done India!”
Thanks for your informative email.
Good governance is the exception rather than the rule. The key for investors is the perceived trend of a country’s governance. In other words, is it improving or deteriorating?
My impression is that South Africa, for all the problems you mention, has done well relative to what could have happened. That is of little consolation if one is living through a difficult period but you will also know that democracy is a fragile flower. It takes a long time to develop a stable and robust democracy and worthwhile freedoms can be too easily eroded by undemocratic processes. Any democracy needs a sufficient number of people with good will and constructive ideas to speak out and provide positive guidance.Back to top