The good ship South Africa has run aground, but we fool ourselves if we think that corruption is the only reason. In fact, the hole in the fiscus created by corruption has exposed an even harsher truth, which is that we are fast running out of the skills needed to sustain economic growth and development. Only a quarter of the labour force is skilled, just fractionally up from 1994 levels. More alarming is Statistics SA’s finding that the proportion of black African 25 to 34-year-olds who are skilled – the very group that should have benefited most from democracy – has not improved at all. New political leadership could get the good ship off today’s painfully jagged rocks, but it will continue to list in the doldrums until there is a fundamental correction in the country’s charted course. Commentators have pointed to the R1-trillion corporate treasure-chest, apparently just waiting to be deployed in an investor-friendly environment. When the tide turns, it is hoped that the combinati...

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