Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Is the bad mood justified?
For all of you looking for guru analysts to lead you through the turbulent intellectual times defending South Africa at present, look no further than one of my personal heroes, JP Landman. Landman has been BOE Private Clients' (not that I'm one - it's available on the internet!) chief analyst on political and investment research, and his latest document rebuffs a few of negative South Africans greatest myths.

For example:
One hears a lot that SA spends on social welfare but not on investment. This fiscal year the country will invest 7% of GDP …. and spend 4,6% of GDP on social security, including the Road Accident Fund, UIF and of course the 12,4 million social allowances paid out every 30 days. Whilst the state probably spends 80% of what is spent on social security (churches, NGOs and individual do the rest), its investment spend is only about 30% of what the country invests. The private sector does the rest.

Can we now please bin this nonsense that we spend more on social welfare than investment?
Landman writes with an ease and a knowledge that I could only hope for, and all of his commentary pieces are well worth a read here.

I'll leave the last word to him:
* Rising incomes mean resources to tackle problems, create jobs, fight poverty and build infrastructure. To paraphrase Bill Clinton, it is about per capita incomes, stupid.
* Over the next seven years per capita incomes can rise as much as during the last 14 years. This will trump the negative fallout from politics. The economist prof De Kiewiet wrote several decades ago that SA progresses through “political disasters and economic windfalls.” Between rising incomes and post-Polokwane political uncertainty, it will happen again.
* SA is responding to its infrastructure crises (which will be around for a while, make no mistake) with a massive investment programme.

All that remains now, is to put one foot in front of the other, carry on and expect a lot of messiness. Sometimes I think it is our inability to live with messiness that paralyses us. If Whites can make this paradigm shift their mood might not be so bleak. More importantly, they can capitalise on the opportunities.