Finance Tito Mboweni at the Budget speech at Parliament in Cape Town. Picture: GCIS
Finance Tito Mboweni at the Budget speech at Parliament in Cape Town. Picture: GCIS

The Treasury’s bailout of Eskom, on top of the return of load- shedding, is the most recent in a series of economic challenges that are leading to many more South Africans discussing emigration.

In my view, to emigrate would be to miss the signs of hope, and the many reasons to stay and help get our amazing country back on track.

It is true that years of corruption and mismanagement at Eskom has resulted in uncertainty about the country’s energy future, that the economic downswing has hit business hard, that corruption has occurred on an industrial scale, and that unemployment and crime levels are very high.

However, President Cyril Ramaphosa, minister of public enterprises Pravin Gordhan and finance minister Tito Mboweni are now telling it like it is. We finally have a government that is being brutally honest about these issues and seems intent on combating them in the long term.

These are all reasons for optimism, although issues such as land expropriation without compensation, and unrealistic expectations by unions in the face of what the government sees as necessary austerity, still must be tackled head on.

The fact is, although we face many challenges and our problems are serious, the country has achieved much since the advent of democracy.

Each of us has enormous power to help build our country rather than break it down. This can be done in simple ways such as in the nature of the conversations we choose to hold with friends and family. The spirit of a country, like a stock exchange, is fuelled by confidence. Are we building the value of the South African stock, placing it on hold, or breaking it down?

We defied the odds over 25 years ago when our democracy was founded after years of inequality and strife under apartheid. To make things more difficult, change came about amidst the threat of dangerous extremism. Let’s not falter now.

Bertus Coetzee
Mossel Bay