In his usual down-to-earth and honest manner Max du Preez has called on us to get cracking and do more for ourselves and to stop expecting the authorities to do everything. He correctly points out that a ‘large part of the malaise in South Africa today is the overwhelming negativity and paralysing pessimism’ which could result in a depression. He believes that 2015 should be ‘the year of new energy, new adventures, positive action and getting really involved to make South Africa a better place to live in. It will make you feel a better person too’.
Do you want things to be done, and done properly, in 2015? Then do it yourself. Behave as if government is not going to deliver any services, and if it does, see that as a bonus.
The poor management and planning, deployment of loyal cadres not up to the job, attempts at state capture, corruption and weak political leadership of the last decades are now really adding up and taking their toll. There are no signs that matters will improve in 2015.
DIY is the future. The middle classes are already doing a lot of that.
There are about 445 000 registered private security personnel in South Africa employed by 9 030 private security companies, compared with 158 000 members of the South African Police Service and about 6 000 Metro Police officers. This number excludes informal car guards, and there must be thousands of them serving car parks and streets all over the country. The large number of ordinary citizens taking part in neighbourhood watches all over the country should also be factored in.
Without private security, South Africa would descend into complete anarchy. If you feel unsafe, step up your own security.
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Here’s the beauty of all of this: if the middle classes start taking care of themselves, the state would have much more capacity to spend on the poor. The better off the poor are, the higher our chances of remaining a stable country – and that is good for business. It’s a win-win, as the inspirational public speakers say.
Do I hear you grumble about the taxes you pay and now I’m suggesting you look after yourself? Well, get a better tax consultant. If you’re well off enough to worry about your tax burden, you can’t be doing too badly.
This all may sound very frivolous, but I’m deadly serious.
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We’re forgetting that we’re the nation of “maak ‘n plan” people, a country that has overcome great odds and survived crises that would have sunk most others. We have great human capital and a culture of perseverance and innovation.
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And in our spare time we can still mobilise and organise to stop the present government from stealing our freedom.