Picture: 123RF/SAMSONOVS
Picture: 123RF/SAMSONOVS

Criticism of the nuclear energy and National Health Insurance (NHI) projects has tended to focus on their enormous cost, which the country could not afford even without the current financial melt-down.

The facts as published by Business Day, that the “mere uncertainty” surrounding the NHI idea has knocked medical companies and the currency, underlines the economic stupidity of the process that is being followed (NHI Uncertainty Wipes R14bn off Health-care Firms’ Values, August 13)

However, an arguably much better reason to avoid the destructive NHI, or indeed any other fiscally detrimental venture, is the fact that we seem unable to muster the competence, integrity and expertise necessary to plan, organise, execute and control any project without ineptitude, corruption and failure. The state capture commission and other inquiries have surely underlined the utter absence of basic governance and the consequential looting of resources. The quality of our people, at least those being appointed, is frankly not up to the task.

Those advocating the nuclear solution tend to gloss over the Chernobyl disaster and the recent radiation leak in Russia, a country with far more expertise than we can boast. Moreover, the Eskom debacle surely underlines the gargantuan consequences of poor management and control. Whether tackling inequality, health services, energy or bullet trains, it is the quality of personnel at managerial and operator levels that makes the difference.

The need for education has been recognised, but that is a long-term solution, and moral integrity may take more than one generation to be inculcated before allowing ideological transformation or cadre nepotism to play any role in the selection of human resources.

Gavin Barnett
Somerset West