We wish all South Africans a year in which our beloved country enjoys prosperity, full employment, justice, peace and liberty.
We at the FMF ended last year with some disturbing descriptions of what might lie ahead. One CEO saw our country at a “tipping point”; the first time he’s been worried about the future. For Herman Mashaba the country was in crisis; unless we counter ominous trends, inaction might leave us saying by the end of 2012 that “we saw what was happening and did nothing”. A prominent businessman told us that people of goodwill must “become involved”. A seasoned journalist sees us at “the edge of a precipice” from which we can turn and rise to the top of the hill. A media company wants the masses to become “economically literate” during 2012. And the world’s leading brand consultancy’s view is that there’s a need to market good ideas. Political scientists wonder whether “the centre will hold”.
What precisely left so many informed observers sensing danger on one hand and opportunity on the other isn’t clear. It’s an amorphous feeling that the linking together of 2011 events means the country and the “ruling party” face distinctive challenges, and that before and after Polokwane, the “ultra-left” have been gaining traction at the expense of common sense.
The biggest contributor to the prevailing sense of crisis in and out of government probably was Julius Malema, not the person but the ideas he represented. He was more of a symptom than the source of the challenges we face. And he’s not “gone”, as many think. The battle that must be won during 2012 is the battle of ideas in which sound ideas must defeat dangerous myths.
What we need and wish for South Africa during 2012 is what the world’s experience tells us we need, for the government to reverse the deluge of controls, social engineering, self-serving bureaucratic empires, and discredited central planning that characterised 2011. In short, to get back to the post-1994 ethos that served the country so well during the first decade: liberalisation and privatisation, fiscal and monetary rectitude, personal liberty and empowerment, the rule of law and limited government.
From all sectors the FMF has been urged to “do something”, a call to which we will respond with the assistance of our members and all South Africans of good will. Our New Year’s wish for South Africa is that all of its politicians will appreciate that what is good for the country’s people is also good for their own political aspirations; that proven policies will make them popular, ensure re-election, and make them the heroes and heroines of the nation.
Our best wishes to everyone. May we succeed in persuading all South Africans that with effort, good will and sound policies we can become the thriving, prosperous, peaceful and free nation to which we all aspire.
AUTHORS Leon Louw (Executive Director), Temba A Nolutshungu (Director) and Eustace Davie (Director), Free Market Foundation. This message may be republished without consent but with acknowledgement.
Join us: Help us make 2012 a winning year. Become a member through our website at www.freemarketfoundation.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FMF Feature Article / 03 January 2012