PHUMLANI M. MAJOZI

The solution to South Africa’s gun-related crime is not tighter gun-control laws

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

IT WAS a night of horror in our house at Roodepoort, Johannesburg, two weeks ago. Two armed men stormed into the house, assaulted us, and robbed us our cell phones, laptops and other possessions. It was a traumatic experience – one that left us in fear. We became victims of crime and felt violated. The incident got me thinking about a much bigger problem South Africa faces – the astonishing high rate of gun-related crime.

This country has one of the highest crime rates in the world. Millions of South Africans are victims of crime every day. It’s something that continues to taint the image of our nation. With so much potential, crime is one of the many contributors to the sluggishness of our socioeconomic progress.

We lead the African continent on the murder rate – which is one of the depressing statistics to learn about. We live in a society where a citizen is intentionally murdered with a bullet every few hours. Roughly eighteen people are killed in this country every day. These statistics are based on the reported criminal incidents. Many are unreported – which therefore means the problem is much larger than what the statistics tell us.

The robbery happened in a secured complex, with a security guard, cameras and electric fence – where we thought we were safe. We were all puzzled as to how they came through, and how they could have left so easily. If they could do this in a secured building, then how vulnerable are the citizens living in townships and poor neighbourhoods? These are places where the police pass by once in two weeks.

It’s clear we need solutions that work to quell this disturbing crime. We need a justice system that works.

But, our government thinks the appropriate way to address this problem is by tightening gun-control laws – a terrible mistake.

A week ago, the minister of police, Nathi Nhleko, told delegates to the National Dialogue on Crime and Violence in Boksburg on the East Rand that, guns were used in many serious crimes. That to fight these robberies and gun-killings, there needs to be an investigation into ways to tighten gun-control laws. He wants to amend the Firearms Control Act (FCA) to further tighten the current gun-control laws.

I wasn’t surprised by his words. Many people believe the way to quell gun-related crime is through gun-control laws. The problem with this argument is that it ignores the fact that the law-abiding citizens do and should have a right to own guns.

Even though the FCA came into effect in 2000, South Africa’s violent crime remains one of the highest in the world. Why? Because what such laws do, is disarm the law-abiding and peaceful citizens, while criminals do get hold of guns.

I doubt people who speak like the minister have ever had to go through the experience of seeing a gun or a deadly weapon aimed at them, in a matter of life and death. I doubt.

You know, it took criminals at least forty-five seconds to break into my room as I was inside. After assaulting us and taking all we had, I thought to myself, if I had a firearm, perhaps I would have protected our property from these heartless outlaws. Perhaps, our belongings would still be with us. That’s what I’ve been thinking ever since.

It wasn’t the first time this happened to me. It did happen in 2012. My computer and other stuff was taken away too. The feeling was the same – that had I had a firearm, my belongings would have never been taken away.

So I’m really baffled by people who argue for gun-control laws that deny the law-abiding citizens the right to own guns in order to protect themselves and their property. The FCA is in force, and yet, criminals do and will always have access to guns. It’s the peaceful citizens who are and will be left defenceless.

What we need is a justice system that works to protect us from criminals. That’s all that’s needed, not disarming hunters and people who want to protect themselves and their property. The police must be effective in their job. And we should stop the leniency towards criminals. They should be held accountable for their evil deeds, and we should be harsh on them. That’s the way we should fight crime while ensuring people’s liberties (including liberty to own firearms to protect themselves) are left intact.

What happened to us last week made me think this will happen again. What’s frightening, is that, as I mentioned above, South Africa ranks amongst the top countries with violent crime in the world. People die daily here.

With criminals owning guns, the inefficient justice system, and the law-abiding citizens denied the opportunity to defend themselves, I’m hopeless. And the situation is likely to deteriorate as government enacts more and more gun-control laws. How sad. PM

© PHUMLANI M. MAJOZI

Students and universities, I call for peace

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

AS AN advocate of human freedom, which is something out of reach for millions across the globe, I find it extremely painful to see the current wave of protests in universities turning violent. It seriously hurts me.

On Monday this week, a man’s vehicle was overturned by the rioting students in Johannesburg. The owner was inside the vehicle when it was overturned and suffered injuries.

He’s not the only one who was abused by rioters, it was reported on Radio 702 that students banged people’s cars and threatened to beat them. How sad.

This is the behavior we’ve seen since these riots began last week –the behavior that leaves me in awe and dismayed.

In my last week’s piece I wrote that all I want from both camps, the universities and students, is to engage one another in peace. Students should come to the negotiating table aware that education costs money to produce. That, as much as it is expensive for them, it is also expensive for universities. Unfortunately this is the reality we have to face.

I’m certain that the peaceful negotiations on the proposed new fees, that would have incorporated suggestions on how to fund the financially needy students, would have resulted in a better outcome.

Perhaps this peaceful approach would have been much easier at the beginning were South Africans clued up on the fact that the society doesn’t entitle us to anything – whether it’s food, or healthcare, or education. We are not born entitled to any of these things – we have to work for them and they cost money. Again, this is the reality we have to live with.

I do believe in freedom of speech, and, as a champion of liberty, I believe it is one of the fundamental pillars of our young democratic society. Students do have a right to protest, but their protests should be peaceful, and nonparticipants should not be deprived of the opportunity to continue with their studies.

The shutting down of campuses over the past week due to riots is unacceptable, at least in my opinion. How many students want to go back to class and continue with their courses? How many? Is this fair?

What worries me is that none of the prominent intellectuals I know share a view similar to mine on this. None. None have called for peace during these riots; rather, they all try to justify the gangsterism demonstrated by students.

All the opinion articles I see on the web justify this wave of violent protests. What a bafflement. The journalists I follow on social networks are fuelling the fire. How hypocritical and irrational.

My fellow South Africans, we live in an imperfect world. The American economist, Thomas Sowell once said, “There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs”; he was right. And for South Africa, still grappling with the legacy of apartheid, it’s tougher.

The challenge we face has very much to do with how we eradicate the legacy of apartheid while people’s liberties are kept intact. Over the past days people’s liberties have been violated, and I find it startling that no prominent intellectuals have spoken against this. Well, at least I haven’t seen or heard of one. They all praise students’ activism.

I urge universities to maintain order and use severe force where necessary to protect people’s liberties. It’s good to hear that my alma mater, the University of Cape Town, was granted an interdict against protesting students at the campus. I hope the others will do the same soonest, before more harm is done.

You’ll note in this piece that I suggest no solutions to what is perceived to be a much bigger problem with South Africa’s higher education – its rising cost that hammers the previously disadvantaged. I will leave that with think tanks such as the South African Institute of Race Relations and the Free Market Foundation South Africa. They’ll make the proposals.

I just hope their proposals will be pro-market and will acknowledge the fact that nothing is for free – that the society doesn’t entitle us to anything as human beings – and that we all have to be financially responsible in some way for our education.

I have said enough on these riots. I hope that South Africans will hear my lone voice calling for peace, human liberty, rationality, common sense and logic. Because if they do not, they’ll continue to be trapped in this socioeconomic crisis they are in. PM

© PHUMLANI M. MAJOZI

Wits students, think with common sense!

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

I WAS supposed to be at Wits University this week to attend the ‘What do you know about Black tax’ dialogue, hosted by Busisiwe Gumede of eNews. Unfortunately I was stopped at the gate, wasn’t allowed in. And I was told that the dialogue had been cancelled.

It was cancelled because of students’ riots in campus. The security guard told me the university staff had been instructed to leave the premises earlier that day.

Over the past three days the campus has slipped into turmoil and all the activities and classes have been suspended. Students demand that the tuition fees be not raised. And they, at least it seems to me, have support on their cause – many people support the protests.

But I think that before South Africans support such protests, they should give themselves time to think about them.

They should think about the possible reasons why the university raised the price of education for next year and beyond. I doubt that any academic institution would raise prices without any sane, valid reason.

When they have thought thoroughly about this, then they will be in a better position to have a discussion with the university on the proposed new fees.

Education is like any good or service in the market – it costs money to produce it. Most people, including students who are protesting overlook this basic fact. Meaning, that like any other producer or seller, the price the university charges for education will have to account for the cost of production. And given South Africa’s weak economy, the rand losing its value, and the rising cost of living, the academic institutions, like businesses have to adjust.

A serious fallacy by most people, is the thinking that producers raise prices solely for the purposes of making more profit – the thought that they raise prices because of greed and selfishness.

This is seldom true. Most businesses hike their prices due to the rise in cost of production – which is understandable. They can only survive, grow and create jobs only if they sell their products above the cost of production.

The other scenario is where they raise prices because of a surge in demand for a particular good or service. But demand increases are rare in these tough economic times. So most of the time the rise in prices is fuelled by the rise in cost of production.

So true with academic institutions as well; they cannot evade these basic rules of economics. What they charge students has to account for the cost of producing education – they have to pay the academic staff, pay for the maintenance of laboratories, keep the lights on, the stationary. These are costs that the university has to incur to become a productive learning environment.

It seems to me the students at Wits do not want to understand these basics on economics. Their chaotic reaction to the increase in tuition fees proves this.

Prices of goods and services rise often, so should we protest every time this happens? No we should not and we usually do not. We live with the cost, reorganize ourselves, enhance our skills, and look for extra jobs in order to keep up with the rising cost of living.

I speak this way because it bothers me when students vandalize the university premises, classes suspended, because of their discontent over something they have no control of. In this stuttering economy prices have to rise, and they are rising. Unfortunately no one has the ability to control these prices except the competitive markets. They do it in Venezuela, and as we speak, their economy is trapped in crisis.

Whatever students do in their efforts to persuade the university to review its decision on tuition fees, it should be peaceful. It should not be at the expense of education. There’s nothing wrong with the buyer and seller negotiating, without coercion, the price of a good or service in the market – that we encourage, and it is a critical component of economic freedom.

What is disappointing is that these students will never choose peaceful and informed ways to engage with the university. They have become violent and deaf, have threatened their Vice Chancellor, Adam Habib, with assault. Is this what our universities can produce? We can do better than this.

I want students to think objectively on such issues affecting their education. They should not take logic and common sense off the table when confronted by these challenges. As the educated, we expect them to think at a higher level than most citizens – which is something they do not do at the moment.

What they need to do is to stop ignorance, get back to classes and learn; while engaging with the university on their concerns. Will the outcome of the engagement be satisfactory to both? Probably not. But we human beings are so smart that we have always, always found ways to respond to challenges we face. And in this one too, we will respond accordingly.

You will note that I said nothing about the possible government interventions in an attempt to curb the rising price of education. I did that purposely – because whether government intervenes or not the price will continue to rise – it won’t stop. The difference will be that someone else will pay the cost, not the students – and I do not think that is fair.

South Africa has potential, no doubt about that. It does have the foundations to start paving the way towards a prosperous future. And it’s the students at Wits University who will take this country forward. But they won’t do so if they take common sense and logic off the table on challenges we face. That I mean it. PM

© PHUMLANI M. MAJOZI

The tourism industry suffers: What can be done?

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

THE Chief Executive Officer of Tata International, Noel Tata, expressed his frustration about South Africa’s immigration laws not long ago. They have made it quite problematic for Tata employees to travel to South Africa. He said that the company had to wait up to six months to obtain a visa or work permit if it needed to send highly skilled employees to South Africa.

Tata had voiced the pain felt by many international private and business travelers on South Africa’s immigration laws.

We saw the new statistics again on tourism last week, released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). Unsurprisingly, they were dispiriting. It’s crystal clear that with the new immigration laws in full force, our tourism industry has been hammered.

Stats SA figures compared the number of foreigners entering the country in May and June this year with those in June last year. The data showed a drop of 9% of international visitors year on year. Our major market, China, declined the most again, 28% year on year.

This was another evidence of the ruinous impact these laws have imposed on the tourism industry. Grant Thornton estimates these stringent laws could cost the country more than R40 billion. Thousands of jobs could be lost as tourists become scarce.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

At least most of us can see now that our economy continues to suffer – that something needs to be done to reverse this catastrophic trend. In my previous piece here at Ineng, I wrote that these laws should be repealed. We need to think of the quick and efficient visa application process that will encourage tourists around the world to choose South Africa.

The South African government has acknowledged that there is a need for e-visa. E-visa would simplify and speed up the visa application process. In a vast country like China, people would not have to travel long distances to apply for a visa in person. They could do it in their homes via the internet.

It is an idea that the former Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, embraced three years ago. Other countries such as the United States of America, Australia, Bahrain, India and Turkey already have e-visa. This would be one of the effective ways to grow the tourism industry.

What we also need to do is to grant visa-free access to most of our neighboring countries in Africa. This would certainly encourage others in the Sub-Saharan to grant visa-free access to their territories. African countries need to trade with one another to bolster their burgeoning economies – and the ease of travel in the continent would make a great positive impact.

Entrepreneurs in Public Policy recommends that the private companies “be allowed to assist investors with business and corporate visas that do not require biometric validation. By doing so, entrepreneurs will continue to source private investors and group tour bookings to help facilitate both foreign direct investment and tourism.” This is a fantastic idea – that will not only encourage foreigners to travel to the country, but will also boost entrepreneurship – which is what our country needs.

These are some of the things our government should do to grow this thriving sector and boost our economy. The rand has tumbled over the past months against the US dollar; to its lowest levels in 14 years. Such downswings in our currency could be beneficial to our tourism industry, if we have laws that make it easy for foreigners to come to South Africa and spend their money on cheap goods and services.

Given the fact that South Africa’s economy continues to be lackluster with disappointing economic growth, it is a matter of urgency that our government implements policies that lure tourists from all corners of the world.

The tourism industry has potential.  We just need choose policies that fuel its growth, over the medium and long term.

It is Malusi Gigaba, the Minister of Home Affairs who, bizarrely, still defends these immigration laws. We all wonder what’s in it for him that he’s gone this far in defense of these laws.

The concern over child-trafficking is justified. Human trafficking worries the entire world. Countries are urged to fight against it. And what the South African government should do is to strengthen the police. The police must be effective in its methods to detect human traffickers, and resist taking bribes.

And Minister Gigaba should acknowledge the crisis the industry is confined in. That, in a way, will give us momentum to find the way forward. PM

© PHUMLANI M. MAJOZI

Thomas Piketty comes to South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

THE FAMOUS French economist, and author of the bestseller, Capital In The 21st Century, Thomas Piketty, is expected to arrive in South Africa this week. He will deliver the 13th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture at the University of Johannesburg on the 3rd of October.

Piketty comes here at a time when the entire world is obsessed with income inequality – which is his area of expertise. Politicians, academics, the media, ordinary citizens, all lament the current high-levels of income inequality. Many of them claim it is one of the causes of social upheavals we hear about and see every day.

Piketty’s talk on income inequality will resonate with many. South Africa has one of the highest income inequalities in the world. Currently, the nation’s Gini coefficient, which measures income distribution (with 0 representing perfect equality and 1 representing perfect inequality), stands at 0.65; in contrast to America’s 0.45, China’s 0.47 and Brazil’s 0.53.

Most people are bothered by these statistics; and as a result, they now call for the reformation of the free-enterprise system. They are disgruntled by greedy CEOs and the top 1 percent who, in their view, take all the income gains at the expense of the middle class.

In the United States, the notion that the middle class is declining has gained traction. Those parroting this false rhetoric refer to declining household incomes and wages as indicators that the capitalist system has benefitted only a few, the top one percent.

But these people should do themselves a favor – they must stop for a few minutes and think.

In his well-written and intelligent piece, titled ‘The myth of wage stagnation’, published by CNBC last year, Daniel J. Smith, an assistant professor of economics at the Johnson Center at Troy University, argues the claim that incomes are stagnant is “wrought with holes and erroneous interpretation of the data available”.

Looking at just average hourly wages in the United States, adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI), shows that earnings increased only 5.58% since 1964. But, this statistic and others like it, are misleading because they do not factor in the new forms of growing employee compensation, and they overstate the erosion of purchasing power. “Once these contributions are taken into account, a much more clear — and positive — picture of the average incomes surfaces”, he writes.

When you look at total compensation – which is your salary, plus benefits such as healthcare, paid vacation time, hour flexibility, improved work environments and even daycare, you come to a conclusion that actually, earnings have increased more than 45% since 1964, not by 5.58%.

But to people like Piketty and his followers, this sensible interpretation of statistics doesn’t mean anything. Logic and common sense doesn’t mean much to them.

It’s not only Daniel J. Smith who has written about this ignorance by people like Thomas Piketty. Thomas Sowell, the legendary American economist, has written a lot about income inequality.

In his column, ‘That top one percent’, Sowell contends the top 1% is an income bracket, it’s not people. Americans in the top 1% in a given year are not there permanently. I may be in the top 1% this year; but it’s quite likely I won’t be in the top 1% next year. People’s incomes fluctuate overtime.

Yet these top 1% people are written and spoken about as if they are an enduring class. How irrational.

Also, people with this obsession ignore the fact that age is a factor on income inequality. It takes years to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to have a high-paying job. People older than sixty years will have higher incomes than those in their twenties; because they have worked longer, have experience, and accumulated a lot of money during their working years. Is the relationship between age and income that difficult to understand?

Here in South Africa, like in the United States, this obsession over income inequality persists. People don’t even give themselves time to think about this; they hear rhetoric and they run with it.

It will take a long time for South Africans to reduce income inequality; because, twenty-one years after the end of apartheid, millions of people remain unskilled with minimal education. And all these points I have discussed above on income are relevant to South Africa.

The great news is this: In a new democratic South Africa, significant economic strides have been made. As Leon Louw of the Free Market Foundation South Africa explains in one of his writings, the once ostracized and repressed Black communities have made remarkable economic progress.

To speed up this progress, South Africans should fix their education, open up and deregulate markets to create employment opportunities. People will need skills, jobs, experience, to climb the income ladder. Those who argue we should take a portion of A’s income and give it to B are totally wrong. That is not the solution – that approach will violate human rights.

Thomas Piketty will speak at a time when many South Africans move far to the left. Government’s interventionist policies in the economy, over the past seven years, have been astounding.

I think that his senseless and illogical message, will resonate with most people, who themselves don’t believe in sanity.

I tweeted days ago that I wish this French economist would speak about how we should address poverty, not income inequality. Because that’s what bothers me – millions in this country are jobless and live in poverty. And income inequality has nothing to do with poverty. PM

© PHUMLANI M. MAJOZI

South Africa and the Economic Freedom of the World Report 2015

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

EVERY year, the Fraser Institute, a free-market think-tank based in Canada, publishes the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) Report. The report “measures the extent to which individuals within a particular country enjoy the liberty to produce, exchange, and interact with one another with minimal interference from governments.”, according to Richard J Grant, a professor of finance and economics at Lipscomb University.

Free-marketeers believe the report vindicates their view that free-markets work – that they result in individual prosperity. I too, as a pro-market South African policy analyst, view this report as evidence that only free markets will save our world.

There are many though, who disagree with us, but they object to our opinions without any credible, sensible facts to support their rejection of a free-market system.

This report, in my opinion, ought to guide politicians on what kind of policies they should pursue in order to speedily grow economies. Because at the moment, most governments around the world, choose policies that are anti-market and culminate in repression of personal freedoms.

The South African government makes these wrong choices too; and, as a result, its ranking on the EFW continues to decline. This year, it declined to an overall rating of 6.74 (out of 10). Relative to other countries, it has dropped to 96th in the economic freedom index.

These statistics aren’t startling. Because we continue to see the government interfering in the economy and its size expanding, at a huge cost to taxpayers. These interventions, have produced one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. The hard-hit are the youth, who account for more than half of the unemployed.

Meanwhile, other African countries such as Mauritius and Rwanda have improved, and continue to improve their rankings in the economic freedom index. Hence there were no surprises when I read about Mauritius’ pro-market policies in the Financial Mail days ago.

Mauritius’ corporate tax rate is just 15%, in contrast to South Africa’s 28%. It’s the best place to do business in Africa, according to the World Bank. There are no restrictions on the movement of capital. There’s no capital gains tax, donations tax or hereditary tax.

Based on these tax statistics, there is no doubt that if Mauritius continues with these pro-market policies, foreign direct investment will flow in to the country, more and more jobs will be created, and Mauritians will prosper.

South Africa needs to do the same – pursue pro-market policies to grow the economy.

But under President Jacob Zuma, it’s clear this will not happen. His government has continued its interventionist economic policies that have caused serious harm to our economy.

He does so when countries that were poor just 65 years ago, Hong Kong and Singapore, continue to hold on to their number one and number two spots in the economic freedom index. They are also among the richest in the world. While those that rank at the bottom of the index are amongst the poorest. This, is evidence that free-markets work.

The Independent Entrepreneurship Group (Ineng) will also launch the report in Cape Town this weekend, Saturday the 19th. The event will be at Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Pinnacle Building, 18th floor, Cnr Burg and Castle Road, at 11:00 AM. Our Director at Free Market Foundation, Themba Nolutshungu, will be the speaker.

By launching this report and assessing South Africa’s ranking on the economic freedom index, we hope South Africans, the government officials, the media, academics, and ordinary citizens, will hear our lone voice – that calls for the lifting of controls on the economy. Because we believe it is the only way we will surmount the socioeconomic challenges we face.

We thank all those who attended the launch of the report at Free Market Foundation. I hope those living in Cape Town will attend another launch at Ineng this Saturday. PM

© PHUMLANI M. MAJOZI

President Zuma, we need a multipolar approach to foreign policy

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

THIS week, I was again disappointed to see President Jacob Zuma doing what he’s famous for – tarnishing our image around the world. There are many others who were disappointed too. Not only in South Africa, but also around the world.

The President was invited by the Chinese government to commemorate World War II victory over Japan. President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, Ban Ki-Moon of the United Nations, and Vladimir Putin of Russia were also there.

There was nothing wrong about attending the military extravaganza. What frustrated many of us was President Zuma’s meeting with al-Bashir on sidelines of the occasion.

The two spoke of the need to strengthen the relations between the two governments. And Zuma promised to visit Sudan in future.

Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the alleged crimes against humanity in his native Sudan. Even though the arrest warrant was issued in 2009, between then and today, Al-Bashir has travelled freely across the African continent. None of the African countries have held him accountable for the alleged genocidal deeds.

Months ago, he was here in South Africa to attend the African Union Summit in Johannesburg. The Pretoria High Court issued an order barring him from leaving the country pending an application for his arrest. But the President Zuma’s government defied the order and whisked him away before the Judge made the decision on whether to arrest al-Bashir.

Just months after flouting the law and defying the judiciary, the President, the head of the state, sees it appropriate to meet al-Bashir and discuss ways to strengthen the relations between the two governments. I find this reprehensible.

Mmusi Maimane of South Africa’s opposition party, Democratic Alliance, is correct when he says “I believe that it’s an injustice to the people of Sudan but furthermore it is an insult to our courts that he [Zuma] is able to now build this relationship with Omar al-Bashir.” This is, really an insult to our courts, and it’s also an injustice to victims of al-Bashir.

All this happens amid significant mutations to South Africa’s foreign policy by the President and his ruling party, Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC). They have chosen to become pro—China, and for worse, anti-West.

Of course we do have to work with China. Every country in the world has to work with China. The United States of America is working with China.

The Chinese are the world’s next superpower, the engine of global economic growth, the world’s second largest economy, the world’s most populated nation, and account for more than 15% of global gross domestic product. Its burgeoning global political power becomes more and more visible. So we all have to work with them.

But our trade ties with China and other nations in the East, should not be at the expense of our relationship with the West. Frans Cronje of the Institute of Race Relations says “What South Africa needs is a multipolar approach to foreign policy – as is the case for the majority of other emerging markets. Instead what we are getting is an unnecessary re-run of the Cold War with policy that is unflinchingly pro-Russia and China but vociferously anti-Western.” That is absolutely correct, what is in our interest and what we’ll be beneficial to us as a nation is multipolar approach to foreign policy.

I think President Jacob Zuma should have learned from the gigantic Nelson Mandela on foreign policy.

Mandela managed to work with the Western world, while his cordial relations with Gaddaffis, Arafats and Castros of the world, remained intact. All these people were believed to be adversaries of the West, but Mandela managed to find his way through and did what was in the interest of his country. President Zuma ought to take a similar approach.

We South Africans face a myriad of challenges – the moribund economy, poverty, racial tensions, xenophobia, staggering unemployment, corruption. We can’t afford to taint our image by duck-hunting with al-Bashirs of the world. We need to retain the positive image in order to attract foreign direct investment.

And if we continue the hostility aimed at the West, we’ll be making a terrible blunder. PM

© PHUMLANI M. MAJOZI