SOUTH AFRICA – in trying times
HONESTY AND DIRECTION FROM THE TOP
by Gerhard Papenfus
Yesterday morning I received a message titled “From the desk of the President”.
Since I find the message encouraging, within the context of current overwhelming uncertainty and discontent, let me share it with you.
In his message, the President, among others:
- acknowledges the overall deep concern about the state of the economy;
- highlights the stubbornly high rate of unemployment; and
- admits that government’s finances are stretched “about as far as they can go.”
He admits that:
- South Africans are looking for signs of progress in tackling the many challenges facing us;
- the concerns of South Africans are real;
- the confidence South Africans had 20 months ago has dissipated as the reality of the problems we face became clearer; and
- this confidence (of 20 months ago) was born out of the hope that we would quickly undo the damage that was done over several years.
The President however points out that the implementation of change takes time, but he stresses the importance that we should move in a determined way to effect change while remaining irrevocably committed to rooting out state capture, corruption and unlawful conduct, especially by public officials.
He emphasises that South Africans have a common task: to rebuild the confidence of our people; this time based not merely on hope and expectation of change, but on concrete things that will bring about a difference in the economy – real action that will “move the needle.”
I admire the President’s openness and honesty. His recognition of the prevailing mood in the country and his acknowledgement of what is required to bring about positive change, is a good start. We will support him, in any way we can, to strengthen his hands in executing this crucial responsibility.