A South African flag. Picture: THE HERALD/MIKE HOLMES
A South African flag. Picture: THE HERALD/MIKE HOLMES

This great country has overcome many challenges. There have been droughts and recessions. Apartheid and revolution. The previous stalemate of the strongest army in Africa battling the majority of its people was peacefully negotiated.

White fears of terrible retribution were replaced by the grace and goodwill of the black majority. Afrikaans civil servants and government workers never abandoned their posts, enabling democracy to unfold, even though they believed they would be doomed under the new deal.

Other problems have since arisen. The future seemed dark, with Eskom unable to keep the lights on and emigration increased drastically. But Eskom now generates excess capacity.

The potholes are bad but not as bad as those in Canada, Italy and Paraguay. Many predicted that our currency would fall to $20, but it has improved. The crippling drought in many parts of SA was broken, though not yet in Cape Town.

Problems remain. The economy is down and there is terrible unemployment. Racial tensions are simmering even if most blacks and whites live and work together peacefully. Many whites feel alienated and believe that they cannot get jobs, but don’t realise there is much more unemployment among Africans.

We now have new leaders. Hopefully, they will manage to uproot corruption and reduce SA’s terrible poverty in a sustainable, level-headed way. At least social grants are helping many of the poorest.

SA has untapped minerals that can be mined to create jobs. It is vital that investors come on board. There is also much unused land to farm.

Martin Zagnoev

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