Almost 50 years ago, in 1970, Alvin Toffler in Future Shock wrote: Knowledge will become a more important driver of growth than capital or labour.
The two parties that then dominated the South African landscape did not hear the message: they had ideological ear wax and blinkers.
Inside the country the National Party wasted an opportunity to revamp and refocus Bantu education. In the words of Verwoerd, Western education was “of no avail for training which has as aim absorption in the European community while he cannot and will not be absorbed there. There is no place for him in the European community above certain forms of labour. However, within his own community all doors are open… For that reason, it must be replaced by Bantu Education. In the Native territories where the services of educated Bantu are much needed, Bantu education can complete its full circle, by which the child is… developed to his fullest extent in accordance with aptitude and ability…”
The harvest: the Soweto 1976 riots.
In exile and underground the ANC under the SACP influence believed labour was all important and capital from hell and that labour time was all that gave value to a product or service – a belief still voiced in 2016 by their leader. (That statement was never repudiated by Ramaphosa or any leader in the ANC.)
The 80’s introduced “liberation before education”, the burning of schools and the intimidation of teachers and after 1994, the ANC government ensured SA’s education system became one of the worst performers in the world at the highest cost (% of GDP).
The harvest: a suffocating labour regime that leaves SA businesses hamstrung (considering productivity levels) and that promotes low-employment business practices.
Whilst race remains an important indicator to measure inequality, trying to always explain situations from a racial perspective often implies ignoring solutions with better potential than betting on race. The ANC is not alone in operating with racial blinkers. Musi Maimane’s statement that race remains “the only consistent measure we have at this point for measuring inequality”, is simply wrong.
So is Ramaphosa when he offered protection for Maimane for that remark.
And so is Chris Bateman’s editorial to a recent Bloomberg report on Johann Rupert’s comments during the Chairman’s Conversation when he wrote: “What he (Rupert) misses in his strong argument that Eskom and other SOEs are the real monopolies, is that White Monopoly Capital, like all effective propaganda, is built on the fundamental truth that our Gini-coefficient runs on racial lines – due to the architecture of apartheid.
There are non-racial measure tapes available… and some measure more accurately than race. After a few examples where the ANC government chose cadres rather than knowledge, the focus will fall on one non-racial explanation for income and wealth inequality.
Continue reading “SA Government values mice as cheese factory managers more than productive knowledge” →