It all comes down to education…or the lack thereof…

” The people shall govern,” announced the Freedom Charter on 26 June 1955. They fought for work, education and security for all, but today this is not the case. The Walter Sisulu Sqaure boasts with shops, offices, conference halls and a pricey hotel, but across the railway track one can see rickety shacks with the harsh living conditions of townships.  Since the ANC (black-majority) came into ruling the aspirations of the Freedom Charter has disappeared.

The National Development Plan (NDP) is there to achieve the overarching vision embedded in the Constitution that South Africa belongs to all who lives in it. This will never be the case of institutions within South Africa are not operated correctly. According to Prof. Parsons the corruption and misspending is South Africa is due to the poor operated institutions. Poor operated institutions then leads to poor policies. The main issue surrounding the failure of institutions is due to a lack of trust amongst citizens, while the poor education system, or a lack thereof, also plays an important role.

Even though, according to The Economist, the country has seen some progress since the ANC came into ruling, the drawbacks now seem to be over-powering the progress.

Progress Drawbacks
More people have access to clean water and electricity. Police killed 34 miners at Marikana.
Between 1996 an 2010 the proportion of the population living on less than $2 a day fell from 12% to 5%. Since the strikes at Marikana left 34 dead, more miners have started to strike. Illegal strikes are now taking place across the country in various industries.
Moody’s have cut South Africa’s sovereign rating due to a decline in the quality of government, growing social unrest and worsening conditions for investment.

Prof. Parsons went on to say that unless the South African government develops a vision, which includes both the NGP and the NDP, which they can sell to the nation, the country will not see growth levels above 3%. Once the correct institutions are put in place, the right policies will follow.

Questions that arose from the contact session with Prof. Parsons included:

  1. The NDP don’t address how to fix the problems in the country, and
  2. What is the ideal way for the NDP to play out.

Prof. Parsons stated that the NDP is only there to give a broad direction on how to fix problems and once this direction is taken, specific answers to the problems will emerge. He also stated that if the NDP is too specific it will only lead to further problems. To focus on immediate situations (short term) it is important to look at the NGP as this will provide solutions for the short term after which the government can focus on the NDP over the long term to fix external and internal problems.

In my opinion it all comes down to the heading of this blog. Education is the key to making the correct decisions, to ensure that institutions operate correctly and to ensure that corruption are limited. The government must first fix the poor education system of South Africa before trying to fix anything else. With properly educated people I believe the country can reach their goals of fighting unemployment, poverty and inequality.

 

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