For all the talk of empowerment, equality and a bunch of other political rhetoric, the results aren’t what we might call satisfying. We can hardly deny the inequality offered by South African discourse, and if we wanted to kick a dead horse, we can keep debating how it came about. Fixing it should be a priority, though it seems like the more that gets done, the further we drive the poles apart. Yes, when I’m paying R5 for a loaf of bread, it’s unpleasant but I can still get it. It’s those who were struggling to gather enough to pay the old price who will hurt. That’s just bread. Looking at bigger things, if I have entire fleets of delivery vehicles, a couple of burst tyres won’t really bother. It’s the dude who spent 5 years saving to buy one truck and has to compete with tight margins who gets set back by that horrible bump and pop. Also Read: What a world it would be if ANC could also do DA bare minimum What about the dude who has to close their spaza shop because there’s no power, but the supermarket up the road has a generator? A significant function of the state is supposed to be decreasing the barriers of entry to market places by offering reliable service and infrastructure. Small wonder that there is a direct correlation to failure of services and failure of small businesses. It’s not exactly empowering. This is why I can’t take any empowerment programs seriously anymore, because they simply don’t seem to be serious. At least not on the macro level. Sure, the state can give a couple of handouts, throw some bursaries in a few directions, and push the direct empowerment agenda. That obviously has its place. It’s just that giving a new business owner 12 months of rent is less helpful when there’s no power going to the building. Building a new hospital is hardly helpful when you struggle to pay the doctors meant to be working in them. There’s much that needs to be fixed in our country where some can pay R350k for a round of golf with the president while others can’t even pay R35 for a meal. Naturally we can’t focus exclusively on fixing the infrastructure problems while people starve. Those can be dealt with together, but they do both need to be dealt with. It just seems pointless to empower people to a point where they can’t fully use the power they’re empowered with. After all, nobody would develop 98 octane and put it in a 1970 diesel engine expecting results. Similarly, you can’t invest in your people and hand them a broken country to work in, while expecting them to perform amazingly. Also Read: 10 000 new police recruits joining a broken organisation, low on morale, resources If you’re pushing for empowerment, you actually have to have an endgame for it. You need to have a bigger idea than just throwing money at the problem because throwing money at it is just one part of the solution. Along with the money, you’d need a plan, some criteria, and an idea of how you can make it sustainable. Without all that, you’re probably just investing into a pit and one that keeps people down. We can easily congratulate ourselves by how much money we throw at poverty, homelessness and literacy, but just look out the window. What return have we seen from all of that? What results do we expect from all of that? More worryingly, what results can we expect from all of that? We have inequality. That much is obvious. What’s far less obvious is what we’re doing about it. The answer is all around us; we can look at several intervention programs from RDP to stimulus plans. What eludes us though is the results, and looking around, it’s not surprising.
Creator :Richard Anthony Chemaly
Published on : 2023-01-08 05:00:00
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