“Never believe politicians when they say nothing can be done overnight”
In a stirring and passionate talk, Temba Nolutshungu discussed some of the issues holding South Africa back from prosperity and job creation. On a cold and overcast day in Khayelitsha, around thirty people were in attendance to hear Temba speak.
Nolutshungu, a contemporary of Steve Biko and a director of the Free Market Foundation, discussed the stark reality that South Africa faces and dismissed traditional notions of the what the solutions to these issues were.
He pointed out how much of a catastrophe South Africa’s unemployment rate truly was, and asked the audience to imagine alternate versions of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. In this alternate reality no one in these cities would be working, no businesses would be operating, no skills were being developed, no planes would be taking off at their airports and there would be virtually no economic activity.
Temba pointed out that although that scenario would be almost unimaginable, it is an accurate reflection of the number of South Africans who are not economical active. Earlier this year the World Economic Forum released a report saying that SA had the 3rd highest youth unemployment rate in the world with more than more than 50% of young South Africans between 15 and 24 are unemployed.
Temba also attacked the notion that the government was responsible for improving this situation, saying that the government doesn’t create wealth, the business sector creates wealth and the government consumes wealth. He also made the case the governments typically don’t want citizens who can live without them, and that they would rather have a “captive constituency” of people dependent on them for survival. Nolutshungu also gave an example of Prague and Czech Republic (discussed fully in a separate article) and how in 8 short years after the fall of Communism the city had transformed itself. When describing this rapid transformation he pointed out that we should “Never believe politicians when they say nothing can be done overnight”.
Nolutshungu went as far as to say that poverty was a result of government policies. These are the policies that restrict businesses and suffocate the entrepreneurial spirit found inside people. He also said that profit should not be considered a dirty word, and that successful businesses driven by profit (but crucially also driven by ethics) can create new and innovative technologies and services communities and society as a whole.
Full event photos available on our Facebook page.