Education: the key to prosperity for all

In Zimbabwe, the reason why there was such a delay in addressing land ownership was because until 2000 Mugabe never took much interest in the need for land restitution – he was more focused on consolidating power. Funds from the UK for land redistribution were squandered and many of the farms that were bought for blacks in the late ’80s and ’90s were simply given to Zanu PF cronies — something which also happened time and time again in the 2000 land grabs. These started when disgruntled war veterans, tired of a government obsessed with self-enrichment, started protesting about their dire economic sitation. To retain his grip on power, Mugabe blamed the land and economic imbalances on white farmers and encouraged them to invade private properties.

In South Africa, land reform is moving far too slowly and needs to be more of a priority for the SA government. The government must also ensure that the process happens in a sustainable and holistic manner without jeopardising South Africa’s food security. It is imperative that technical and financial support be provided for the recipients of land transferred from white ownership.

The wealth gap between rich and poor is also increasing. Although the black middleclass has grown astronomically, it still – sadly – represents only a fraction of the total black population. This is largely due to the fact that policies like Black Economic Empowerment have succeeded only in creating a small black politically-connected elite and have failed to empower the masses of impoverished black South Africans. I get the sense that these policies were designed more as a means of entrenching ruling party patronage and ANC economic influence instead of actually being an attempt to empower those disadvantaged by apartheid.

The key to long lasting prosperity for ALL South Africans lies not in redistributing white wealth but in creating a South Africa where everyone has the opportunities to reach their dreams. To this end, it is vitally important that education in SA improves. Education is the way out of poverty because it is through education that people receive the skills and intellectual nourishment that facilitates innovation and increases the likelihood of employment.

Currently our education system is chronically under-resourced. There are not enough teachers, text books and classrooms for the vast majority of South African children. The ANC government has failed to resolve the inequalities within education inherited from apartheid. These need to be addressed urgently.

The government and civil society must also encourage and facilitate entrepreneurship through support agencies, microloans, skills development initiatives and at schools. Service delivery must also radically improve in effectiveness and impact so as to eradicate poverty.

For the wealth gap to decrease, South Africa needs a government that cares about the people (and not merely the top echelons of the ruling party). Politicians must look beyond self-enrichment to create a South Africa in which everyone has the opportunity to create wealth.

South Africa’s government must be one that acts with courage and decisiveness in combating corruption and patronage. It must strive to implement policies that benefit all South Africans – but especially those disadvantaged by apartheid’s poisonous legacy.



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3 responses to “Education: the key to prosperity for all

  1. nearlynormalized

    Uneducated, hateful, influenced, poverty, hunger all key words in the bullying state of men in power. Neuter the bastards!!!!

  2. Riani

    “I get the sense that these policies were designed more as a means of entrenching ruling party patronage and ANC economic influence instead of actually being an attempt to empower those disadvantaged by apartheid.” I understand your sentiment, but I don’t agree that the policies were designed to achieve this. I think there was a sincere, if naive, faith that the policies would enricher and empower all. 3 things went wrong –
    1. There was no viable plan to effect an monitor the goals,
    2. The shrewd saw their way to enrich themselves through the
    policies, and took the gap.
    3. There was a false assumption that all people are inherently
    entrepreneurs. Not true. Most people, given the opportunity,
    will opt for the safety of a paycheck rather than the risk
    of an own business.

    Or maybe you are right, and it was a policy neatly engineered by the money and power hungry, and I am the naive one.

  3. Kelsey

    Alex, there were some factual points here, but it still does not get to the root of the problem. Blacks must own and control their own wealth and dictate the terms of their own existence. Food Security will be just fine-if not interfered with by sanctions or foreign manipulation-this is just an excuse. Education is necessary but not sufficent-true education enables one to produce goods, control the wealth, food distribution, security, and apply science to the benefit of ones own community-not to merely sustain others. Many Blacks in the U.S. with MDs, MBAs, and PhDs have learned that lesson quite well. Lets cut to the chase-whites still control-80%+ of the wealth in SA-unchanged since Apartied was supposedly dissolved. We both know that Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer and fam, the Rothchilds, Anglo-Am, Barclay’s interests and others have no interest in turning anything over substantively by 2013. They are already trying to weasel their way out of it. The UK had no intention of fully carrying out the Lancaster Agreement either. In Zim, whether the MDC or Zanu are in power, it doesn’t matter if war criminal Ian Smith (and his mercenaries)and others like him are still kicking back profiting from and occupying criminally gained hectares of land. The game goes something like this: move governments in and out, but maintain the basic arrangement. We in the hip-hop generation will not accept this arrangement.
    Our white “moderate” and “progressive” associates always seem to say the right things politically, but somehow invariably start to get shaky when it comes to issues of ownership and wealth. Now, you could be completely well-meaning and sincere or you could be on the payroll of some intelligence agency-I dont know and really dont care-do what you do Alex. Nevertheless, it is not possible for Southern Africa to rest until the above issues are addressed fully.

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