Industrialists are people who are diligent and hard-working.   Can government train people to become industrious?   I don’t think so.   Even during my schooldays, I could tell who was most likely to become a success and who was not.   You could see it in their attitudes.   I think everyone would like to see 1 000 new industrialists develop in South Africa to grow the economy, provide jobs for the unemployed, and produce goods and services to serve South African consumers.   It is good that the government is thinking about such things, but I have a problem with the execution of the idea.   How will it be achieved?

Herman Mashaba’s article You can’t ‘create’ industrialists like magic first published in City Press on 28 September 2014, may seem obvious to many of us but it is a lesson we all need to learn.   He implores us to heed certain truths and stop trying to do what cannot be done and start doing what is possible.

Random extracts from the article.  

I have never heard of a success story in which a great industrialist emerged from a government programme.   Most of them seem to achieve success by themselves and in fact many have had to fight to overcome government-created legal barriers.

. . . .

We must not forget that 68.73% (more than two-thirds) of white South Africans who voted in the 1992 all-white referendum (in which more than 85% of eligible voters participated), voted to end apartheid.   When it talks about industrialists, government does not need to add a race tag.   If we embark on a sustainable model, black businessmen and businesswomen will be the biggest beneficiaries, based purely on the racial composition of the country.

One of the greatest tasks lying ahead for South Africa is to get the 8.3 million unemployed people [who are] working and supporting themselves and their families.   That is a job not for 1 000 industrialists or for government, but for thousands of entrepreneurs and small businesses that see the unemployed as a source of labour to produce goods and services they can sell to local or foreign consumers.

Mauritius is an example of how the GDP of a country can be increased by transforming large numbers of unemployed people into wage earners.   In the 1970s, cultural attitudes prevented many Mauritian women from working outside the home.

. . . . .

Herman Mashaba refers to the truths of Reverend William Boetcker, written in 1916.

“The Ten Cannots”:

  • bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • help little men by tearing down big men.
  • lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • help the poor by destroying the rich.
  • establish sound security on borrowed money.
  • further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  • keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
  • build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
  • help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.