Aug 31, 2012
Use the planBack
© Reuse this
It’s a gulf that some are now actively seeking to exploit and one that could even signal something of a tipping point for the ANC – a political unit that has, hitherto, been able to count on almost unwavering electoral support from the very communities that are increasingly showing anger at being let down.
Dealing with this social distance is undeniably difficult, if not downright life threatening, not least because it is being led by forces and formations that have not previously engaged in, or benefited from, processes of social dialogue.
Notwithstanding this reality, the onus is on government and the traditional organised formations within business, labour and civil society to engage these new forces in an effort to rebuild the credibility of social dialogue as a useful instrument for dealing with seemingly intractable problems.
True, this will be as painstaking a process as it was in the early 1990s. But such a conversation is required if we are to restart the process of building social cohesion and arm people with the tools needed to fend off those willing to exploit the current gaps for questionable ends.
There is little question that the root causes are poverty and income inequality – indeed it is common cause that South Africa is now one of the most unequal societies, if not the most unequal society, on the planet. However, dealing with these fundamental ills will involve a number of actions over an extended period.
So what can be done in the short to medium term to show that the main social partners, which have drifted from their bases, are truly alive to the plight of the poor and stand ready to take active steps to deal with the causes of poverty?
Again there are no easy answers. But a good start could be a high-profile social compact around a well-articulated vision for the country – a vision backed by short-term deliverables, particularly in the areas of education, health and welfare, as well as medium- and long-term action plans.
Remarkably, such a vision was released just as the Marikana tragedy was unfolding. Sadly, though, the National Development Plan 2030 (partly because of what took place in the North West province) has, to date, failed to capture the imagination of society. There are also serious questions about whether the plan will ever really receive the support it requires to make an impact, as it does not align neatly with the agendas of those seeking ascendency within the ANC.
Nevertheless, it exists. It is a solid product of both social engagement and empirical research and sets out objectives with which few could have argument: eliminating poverty and materially reducing inequality by 2030.
It would be an opportunity missed if the social partners failed to use the plan to generate consensus on the problems, build momentum around some sound actions to deal with these problems and, most importantly, to reinspire and re-energise South Africa’s fed-up citizenry.
Edited by: Terence Creamer© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other Editorial Insight News
Article contains comments
Updated 10 minutes ago The International Year of Crystallography 2014 (IYCr 2014) was launched worldwide on Thursday. Next year marks the centenary of the award of the Nobel Prize for Physics to Max von Laue (1879-1960) of Germany for his discovery (published in 1912) that crystals...
Updated 39 minutes ago Engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald has been appointed as lenders’ technical adviser by Investec Bank and Absa Bank for the 50 MW Bokpoort concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, being developed in Groblershoop, in the Northern Cape. The two banks are the mandated...
Updated 40 minutes ago South Africa’s national oil company this week signed a cooperation agreement with State-owned oil company Botswana Oil to jointly explore upstream and downstream hydrocarbon opportunities and ensure security of petroleum supplies for their respective countries. The...
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
Road and Rail 2013: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2013 Report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Liquid Fuels 2013 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Liquid Fuels report examines South Africa’s liquid fuels market, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing,...
Projects in Progress - Second Edition (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s second Projects in Progress supplement considers some of the major project developments under way, including high-profile energy and transport projects, as well as a few of the lower-profile public and private developments. What remains apparent is...
Water 2013: A review of South Africa’s water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2013 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Canadian Mining Roundup for June 2013 (PDF Report)
The June 2013 roundup includes details of the development of TSX-V-listed Aldridge Minerals’ flagship Yenipazar polymetallic project, in Turkey; the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s renewal of Cameco’s uranium mining licence pertaining to the Cigar Lake...
This Week's Magazine
Johannesburg-based locomotive solutions provider DCD Rolling Stock officially launched Phase 1 of its R240-million recapitalisation programme at its Boksburg manufacturing facility, last month.
Sales of electric cars should pick up once more such vehicles become available on the South African market, says Nissan South Africa (SA) chief marketing manager Ross Garvie. The local arm of the Japanese car company launched the country’s first fully electric...
Denel Land Systems’ (DLS) Mechem division is successfully marketing the latest version of its highly regarded Casspir mine-protected vehicle, the Casspir NG2000 series wide body ambulance. As its description says, this has a notably wider body than standard...
The infrastructure boom in Africa has seen investment in 322 megaprojects reach $222.7-billion, says professional services firm Deloitte in its ‘African Construction Trends’ report. Deloitte Southern Africa infrastructure and capital projects leader André Pottas...
ASME, the international engineering profession’s cooperative, educational and training, research, outreach and codes and standards development organisation (originally the American Society for Mechanical Engineers, founded in 1880), is seeking to improve the...