"I am an executioner," declared a well-built, brown-haired man in a plain suit. This has to be one of the funniest moments I have had interviewing potential employees. I am pleased to report that laughter was successfully suppressed. Putting the niceties of diction aside, one can understand the man’s pride in his capability. In a society where service sector call centres can turn you into a monster, waiters have no peripheral vision and a government department can drive a person to suicide (a job-seeking man denied an ID killed himself in 2009), the ability to get things done is nothing to scoff at. An honest tagline for SA could go something like: lofty ambitions, shoddy execution. In the public and private sector alike, there are serious breakdowns in the ability to deliver services at an adequate level. Many explanations pin this record of poor imple-mentation to low skill and education levels, but that does not explain why it seems there are no consequences for poor performance....

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