Merry Christmas, fellow South African!


FELLOW South African, it’s that special time of the year again – where families come together to celebrate Christmas Day and the festive season. To those who are…


FELLOW South African, it’s that special time of the year again – where families come together to celebrate Christmas Day and the festive season. To those who are privileged enough to be with their families during the festive season, be grateful because not everybody is with their family currently.

The festive season always reminds us of the importance of fostering a strong family culture in the country. The nuclear family is a critical, necessary element in the socioeconomic development of a society. We must emphasise this in an age of anti-family politics.

Economist at Harvard University, Roland G. Fryer, found that the family is the most important factor in determining mobility out of poverty. It’s not only Fryer who has produced such research. There is voluminous research done over the past decades supporting Fryer’s research findings. Hopefully, those who are ignorant of these facts on the family, will learn something this festive season as families come together.

What I also want to remind South Africans at Christmas, is that we are a nation of great, talented people. In my book “Lessons from Past Heroes” published last month, and available in bookstores now, I discuss some of the great people we have produced and continue to produce in the country.

It’s vital to discuss our greatness because we face many challenges currently – from staggering unemployment rates to the pandemic of crime, to lack of strong economic growth, to energy problems. These are problems that have been self-inflicted. We must look in the mirror we will see the culprits, and we will also see the solution to these problems.

As Greg Mills writes in his brand new, excellent book, titled “Rich State, Poor State”; it comes down to policy choices. That’s what makes nations fail or succeed. It’s bad policy choices that produced all these problems we now face.

On the upcoming election

We will have our national election in the new year. Some have said that 2024 is our 1994. They have a good point.

South Africa is at a crossroads. The ANC has mismanaged the country to the point of no return with it in power. The country needs a new path – a new path both in domestic and foreign policy. However, that new path can only become a reality if South Africans go out and vote to bring change in national leadership and change in the future of the country.

Yes, despair amongst many South Africans exists, but we must never give up. It must be understood that democracy is our tool to shape the direction of the country, and our destiny as a people. In a democracy, the voter is the most important player, as economist Thomas Sowell once said. Hence every citizen, from villages to townships, to cities, must understand the importance of their vote.

The crucial question each and every South African should ask themselves heading to the election is, “How has my life changed for the better since Ramaphosa became President of South Africa? That’s the question every voter should ask.

In a democracy, you don’t have to be a sophisticated, educated voter to ask such a question. Any person can ask such because they’ve lived through the years of Ramaphosa’s first term.

The months ahead of the election will be fascinating. We are already seeing dramatic shifts. One being former President Jacob Zuma abandoning the ANC and saying that he will not campaign nor vote for it. This will hurt the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal where Zuma has a huge following. How Ramaphosa deals or handles Zuma’s actions will be very interesting to watch.

Former President Thabo Mbeki is reluctant to campaign for the ANC. If, in the end, he chooses not to campaign for it, keeps telling the media of the ANC’s shortcomings, that will hurt Ramaphosa’s campaign.

On the economy

I can’t wait for the 2023 fourth quarter GDP numbers to come out in the new year. It will be interesting to see how South Africa does, as some have pointed out that after third quarter GDP contracted by 0.2%, we may slip into a technical recession. Power outages, and logistics problems caused by problems of Transnet, have hurt our economic productivity.

Chief economist at Rand Merchant Bank, Isaah Mhlanga, has predicted that South Africa will be loadshedding-immune in 2025. Thanks to the private sector for pursuing alternative energy sources.

What will be watched closely as well in the upcoming months, is South Africa’s central bank decision on interest rates.

Inflation slowed down this year, and according to Reuters that polled economists, will continue to slow down in 2024. If the economy does slip into a technical recession, the central bank may face greater pressures to cut rates sooner. Futuregrowth Asset Management expects the central bank to start cutting rates toward mid-2024.

I must stress that it is policy making that got South Africa to this dire state of the economy. These are things that could have been avoided. Serious reform key to addressing these problems.

As we enter 2024, I would like you to keep in mind that this dire state of the country is man-made and could have been avoided. That is something you should remember when you go to vote.

We have a beautiful country that has been mismanaged. There is no need to be hopeless since we can bring change. All we must do is be determined to bring change. At Christmas, let’s remember that we are one nation – and coming together to rebuild South Africa is what will propel us to the pinnacle of success.

Merry Christmas, fellow South African! PM

This article was first published on LinkedIn.


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