NEWSLETTER

3 December 2018


Fourth Newsletter Part Two: of three parts

Key factors to consider for land Reform and One Race


Name changes…Grahamstown becomes Makhanda

In Dougie Oakes article in the Star he covered a few areas around South Africa where inhuman brutality was used in our colonial history to acquire land. This included my birthplace, Grahamstown.  Following many years of protest the name of the town has been changed to Makhanda, after the Xhosa Chief of the area. Colonel Graham oversaw some brutal killing of isiXhosa in this area. He was rewarded by having the name of the town named after him…. how insensitive is that to most people living there?

I also confess that my emotions/instinct resisted the name change, it took this time of land reform and the propaganda of EWC. I have changed and want to see the new name of my birthplace associated with upliftment of the town.  We must help Makhanda achieve the best of township development and service delivery. The town, a centre of education has not enjoyed a good reputation in town management. The potential for the city is exciting, my first help, embrace “the power of design”. Design in all things is now big for those seeking to achieve excellence.

–           Design = Care

–           Design = Elegance

–           Design = The best of human achievement

–           Design = Contribution to human culture

–           Design = Respect

–           Design = Thoughtfulness

–           Design = Avoiding insult

The above comes from Tom Peters’ latest book “The Excellence of Dividend”.

Jacob Zuma  

We saw the results of the ANC’s Elective Conference in December 2017. The Zuma faction had a strong showing, especially from the so-called Premier League, Mpumalanga, OFS, Northern Cape and KZN. The question: How democratic and free of undue influence was the process in electing delegates for the elective conference?

The elections proved the Zuma faction was much stronger than many of us imagined. There was a hope that Zuma might fall on his sword, resign as President and take ownership for his part in appointing people in positions where they could aid the Guptas and the elite in the Zuma faction. Huge amounts of money are involved and key government departments and SOE’s have been devastated. In the practice of management staff are totally demoralised by colleagues and senior personnel who profit from corruption.

Zuma knew his strength; it was a carefully worked strategy.  His supporters had much to gain and much more to lose if Zuma’s faction lost the elections. Cyril Ramaphosa won by a small margin of some 170 votes. And the ANC’s National Executive Council seemed a 50/50 split between supporters of Ramaphosa and the Zuma.

Zuma’s support of EWC, was likely to have been orchestrated from Saxonwold? Was it a desperate attempt to focus South Africa’s woes on whites away from the Saxonwold scandal?

Julius Malema 

Malema, during the land debate proposed that we should all lose our land (both whites and blacks) and that the State would own it. We would own the buildings and lease the land from the state. Was he serious?  Peter Bruce in an editorial said that from all he knew of South Africans, they wanted to own their own land, have the title deeds in their hands. He said Malema risked cutting his support in half. The radical policy of doing this in Mozambique is the cause I believe for the dilapidated state of the buildings in large parts of cities like Maputo.

EFF back tracked on this aspect of the land and supported the ANC’s amendment in the Constitutional review committee. Namely that EWC would be allowed as a mechanism in land reform.

Whites Are Not the Enemy

I don’t know if it is an admirable quality, but whites have generally stayed quiet in the face of blatant racist remarks.  Julius Malema has almost built his party, the EFF, on being anti-white.  His remarks on Athol Trollip as Mayor of Port Elizabeth were staggering!  Just when we thought the needs of the people with service delivery and ending corruption were priorities, Malema has this rant about cutting the throat of this white man, the Mayor.  (Figuratively speaking was the conclusion).  “Go after the white man – we are cutting the throat of whiteness” were his actual words.

Then to hear “We are punishing the DA for their non-support for expropriation without compensation”. The hope was Malema (after his success in bringing a second motion to parliament on this land question) would now engage in serious conversation on the detail.  But a policy of “shocking people” continues.  Will he ever change?

Malema has in the past chastised whites for being overly sensitive. But we can’t forget the part Malema together with Zwelinzima Vavi played in ushering in President Zuma. I know both have apologised, but the public can’t help remembering this when Malema is so controversial……what else will he get wrong?

How close are our Politicians to their electorate?

Populist politicians seem to take it for granted that they know what the population wants.  Reference should be made to academic studies and other institutions of research as to what is important to people and their opinions, namely the IRR Institute of Race Relations. Supporters of AA and BEE might also be surprised how much support there is for merit selection without quotas. One question researched by the IRR, to the question asked: The different races need each other for progress and there should be full opportunities for all races? The result 85.4% agreed.

An academic study emanating from the University of Cape Town that draws on research data collected by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR). Their recent book “Rethinking Reconciliation, evidence from South Africa”, gives contributions from twenty-three leading social scientists. The main subject is reconciliation, but the study includes research findings in related subjects such as Transformation, Affirmative Action, Political Trust, Protests in Townships, Support for the Rainbow Nation. All very relevant to our near future.  Many of our politicians maybe out of touch with the people.

The EFF and the Zuma faction certainly want to treat whites as the enemy and rally support around this cause, the ANC’s policies of AA and BEE are sending out signals of pushing out whites. Again, surveys are showing our politicians are out of touch. In a question from the IRR: Do you believe the best person should be given the job regardless of race? Result: 87.1% agree and 12.8 % disagree.

The threat of a national uprising

There are warnings from various academic sources and people like Moelitse Mbeki, the ANC’s failure to address the development and wellbeing of many unemployed, poor, mostly poorly educated without skills, these persons number some millions across the country, they are jobless and angry. They have been participating in demonstrations and protests at municipalities around the country, protesting the lack of service delivery and against corrupt councillors. These people present a threat of a massive rise-up against the State. This, if their grievances are not addressed.

Political leaders would particularly benefit from the research done and mentioned in the book above” Rethinking Reconciliation, evidence from South Africa.” Political trust features in the research, trust in politicians as well as in democratic institutions, there is a strong correlation between political trust and reconciliation.

The idea that free allocation of land might stem this uprising needs to be addressed.  In another survey by the IRR done three years ago only 2.1% of blacks saw land reform as the best way to improve their lives, whereas78% wanted more jobs and better education.

Embracing Diversity;  

The evidence is mounting that geographical openness and cultural diversity and tolerance are not by-products but key drivers of economic progress.” To quote an authority on diversity.

Johannesburg and surrounding cities are a diverse and dynamic cluster of cities producing one third of South Africa’s GDP. City groupings, clusters, around Cape Town and Durban are also in the making. The development of mega city clusters is the trend around the world, Asia has set the scene. Massive infrastructure is required using the power of design, words like connectivity, networks, sustainable urbanisation, modern energy efficient buildings, integrated fast transport systems and others are the buzz words.

50 Mega City Clusters around the world have been identified, geography is being rewritten, countries and governments will take on a different role in the face of these massive city clusters. They are the real generators of capital wealth and therefore the engines of delivering change, eliminating poverty and inequality. We can dream of the magnificent facilities a modern city can design for all its citizens, beautifully landscaped with the emphasis on user friendly, quality dwellings and inspiring facilities. The power of design must be embraced.

All these city clusters thrive on diversity, what is good for the city clusters is good for the country. The development and the usage of this land for city dwellings and facilities is very much linked to the land question as two thirds of our population will reside in our cities.

Diversity in the population of a city like Johannesburg is part of its life blood. Does it make sense to enact laws (AA and BEE) that restrict a grouping from fulfilling their potential and making a major contribution to the economy? City clusters are a new geographical feature; we did not have these features in the days of colonialization, so they should be exempt from these laws. To reduce diversity to a narrow black and white grouping is a total trashing of our diverse richness.

The economy needs to grow four times the size, every able-bodied person is needed. These laws have gone too far…if not contravening provisions in our constitution then coming very close. Can it be true that the director generals of government departments could lose their bonus if they employ white people? That is how far the use of racial laws has gone. Is this one of the reasons for so many unfilled vacancies in sectors like the health care?

The imperative for transformation should be left with civil society and propelled by the growth of the economy. Get our economy back to 6% and we won’t have enough skilled persons regardless of colour. AA and BEE prevents us from achieving 6%. That is the reality not faced yet in this new dawn by Cyril Ramaphosa. Trust businesses to transform substantively as fast as they can, 6% is essential, but so is the freedom of businesses to make their own choices.

White people are sensitive to the reasons for introducing AA and BEE, but it is throwing the baby out with the bath water, the economy is the baby, all babies are special, you can’t use discriminatory laws. The economy must grow at 6% plus, and it won’t unless we stop the zero-sum game of splitting what we have instead of growing the cake, new enterprises, more agricultural commercial enterprises, growing the size and number of farmers etc.

It is inward looking, focusing on redistribution verses outward looking, focusing on distribution from new and growing developments. 

One of the consequences of AA and BEE is that many whites are forced to believe that there is no future for their children in South Africa. This is unlike the years when Mandela and Mbeki were Presidents, whites were returning to SA in large numbers, buying property etc. The economy was growing at 5%, We must link EWC to AA and BEE, all three come from the same thinking. More of this later.

AA and BEE

The Empowerment Report of October 2018 is entitled: “The Fourth Wave of BEE.  This time SA has to get it right”.  Vuyo Jack, Chairman of Empowerdex, writes the leading article “Fourth Wave of BEE to be Self-Driven”.

The title of the report tells us that not all is well.  Then, “Self-driven.”  This does not mean we don’t need any more legislation. New black businesses are going to go it alone.  Jack seems to blame politicians and corporate executives for BEE failures.

Do the people crafting and driving AA and BEE really understand the essence of business enterprise?  Are BEE businesses truly competitive, effective and efficient?  Are they marketing their products or service with the right signals?  Are they innovative?  Are they focussing and adding value to their customers?  Is the customer free to use these businesses because they are the best?  Do these businesses make a positive contribution to the value chains of the enterprises they serve?

If your customer must purchase from these BEE enterprises because of legislation and not because of their competitiveness as above, then you make it very hard for these enterprises to survive.

In my book “One Race, The Human Race, Now” I specifically devoted half the book to “achievement in business and other organisations through the practice of management”.  Often businesses succeed when there are no elements of protectionism only hardships? When times are tough, the tough getting going. The state’s role of good governance must be fair and give protection against corruption and crime.

Thabo Mbeki, ex-President, steps up to the podium. Just when we thought the ANC had totally lost its moral compass, Thabo Mbeki brought some reality to the party by reminding us about what the ANC stood for. He was emphasizing that the Constitution was based on non-racial values that historically were part of the ANC’s values.

Historically the ANC did not want to frame the debate on a black versus white conflict.  The ANC under Zuma made a shift from the values it has held for its 106-year history. Horrible that Zuma could not stick to his presidential oath even worse, nobody really close to him with legal stature was able to red card his divisive stance.

The paper was produced by the Mbeki Foundation in a 30-page report.  The paper emphasised the imperative that the land question should be addressed but must, simultaneously, respond to the national question to unite South Africans across race and class divides.  The paper said the posture of some members of the ANC mirrored more the position of the EFF.

Barack Obama brings back the hope of the Nelson Mandela era


“In the election in 1994, Mandela’s smile was the campaign.  That smiling iconic campaign poster – on billboards, on highways, on streetlamps, at tea shops and fruit stalls. It told black voters that he would be their champion and white voters that he would be their protector.  It was the smile of the proverb “tout comprendre, c’est tout pardoner” – to understand is to forgiver all.  It was political Prozac for a nervous electorate.”  -Richard Stengel, Mandela’s Way:  Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love and Courage.


Tom Peters places this quote in his latest book “The Excellence Dividend”.

Barack Obama addressed the nation at the hundredth anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. Obama said, “I was not invited to give this address – Graca Machel ordered me to come to South Africa and give this address”.

Graca knew the importance, at this time, of our being reminded of what Mandela stood for – not just for South Africans but the world. Donald Trump, Brexit, Erdogan, Putin …. a long list of belly gazing, nationalistic political leaders.

There is a move away from the inclusive democracy that Mandela had faith in.

It was this inclusive democracy that would achieve the caring society, with reconciliation, peace and harmony. This so essential for all of us to achieve our full potential and the freedom to take up the opportunities of our choice.

The humanitarian aspect, the Rule of Law and the Bill of Rights are the most important parts of the Constitution. Obama did not mention EWC; he didn’t have to, if we allow what Mandela stood for, we can all work it out, “to build a better world,” the future is our focus, not fantasising about getting even for what happened in the past.

The inclusive democracy as stated by Obama has deluded the world.  “Somehow” he said, “democracy has stalled, become exclusive and so all the term oil in the world including in South Africa”. Mandela, known for his persistence on matters of principle would champion and protect the values of an inclusive democracy.

Obama mentioned the importance of facts and science and globalisation.  You can’t have meaningful discussion when it is not based on the truth, facts, science and technology. Just as you can’t put the genie of globalisation back in a bottle.

In ending this second part

Part two in a three-part series, is perhaps the stomach of this newsletter. An army marches on its stomach, so in writing on land reform and One race, this section is important. Confidence and trust must return, after all the openness on the land debate, many have had their say. Barack Obama reminding us of our beacon of hope Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki the rational economist who saw us on our way.

Then Zuma, with key weaknesses moves us away from including the whole diverse nation(inclusivity) to favouring and enriching an elite grouping(exclusivity). The Judicial Commission enquiry is another reason for confidence and trust returning. We can march on to Part Three to talk more about the inclusive opportunities.

Neil Wright


Part two: Titled: Key Factors to Consider for Land reform and for one Race
Part two of the fourth newsletter will follow soon as a continuation of part one