I just read a newsletter my financial advisor sent me to read. It is a JP Landman Political Comment news letter published by B.O.E for its private clients titled “Is the bad mood justified?” and I think it is worth reading because it presents another, arguably more realistic, perspective on South Africa and where we are heading.
The newsletter basically sets out a number of facts that show how the negative view of South Africa by many South Africans (typically whites, of whom only 31% were optimistic about South Africa in February 2008 compared to a national average of 60%) has little basis in fact and has perhaps been cultivated by skewed media coverage of certain issues. For example, I remember how there was media buzz about R4 billion worth of budgeted expenditure that went unspent recently. It turns out that this R4 billion was the unspent balance after R124 billion was already spent on capital expenditure in this country. It represents 3% of the total capex budget of R128 billion.
There are a couple points made which appeal to me:
- “Things were not as clean as some whites’ memories tell them.”
- “Progress does not come from having no challenges; rather it comes from responding successfully to challenges.”
- “In the late nineties SA had a low growth crisis; a 1% economy that looked as if it could not break through a 3% growth ceiling. And now growth is sufficient to lift per capita incomes quicker than Australia, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, the UK and US. The country responded successfully to the challenge of low growth.”
… and the best was kept for last …
“All that remains now is to put one foot in front of the other, carry on and expect a lot of messiness. Sometimes I think it is our inability to live with messiness that paralyses us. If Whites can make this paradigm shift their mood might not be so bleak. More importantly, they can capitalise on the opportunities. “
So, yes, lots of messiness but none of this seems to justify the negative so many of us have of South Africa. There are still god things ahead if all goes well (yes, there is always an “if”) and perhaps there will be a lot more (white) people who also think that SA rocks in the not to distant future.
(Image: Views of Tidal pool on Rooi Els Coastal Road, South Africa by DanieVDM published under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license)
P.S. It would be really handy if B.O.E would publish these newsletters with an RSS feed … come on, share with the plebs!