The Perils of “Young Blood”
- Johann Redelinghuys
- 10 Jun 2012 11:11 (South Africa)
This week, in a piece nicely timed for “youth month”, Joel Netshitenzhe said the ANC “should identify a pool of young leaders who can take over from the current generation”. He was referring, at length, to the “dangers of incumbency” and said the “two terms” trend - where the president is re-elected for a second five-year term and is then followed by his deputy, also for two terms - created problems for the country.
The article, written by Sam Mkokeli, for Business Day says Netshitenzhe believes this deprives the country of a more youthful leadership. He clearly believes that young leaders would be a better choice.
Forget for a moment that Netshitenzhe was more or less banished from the ANC, whose youth league said he needed to “cleanse himself” before he could take his career further. Also remember that in 2009 he was hooted out by a vociferous Young Communist League, who said they “welcome his resignation” for his part in failed neoliberal policies such as the Growth Employment and Redistribution strategy. So, no love lost for him from the country’s youth.
Being, one presumes, more comfortably located in the Thabo Mbeki camp, it is not clear whether he is advocating “young blood” in an attempt to get rid of Zuma, or whether he is genuinely in favour of a more vigorous generation. If it is the latter, one would urge him to be careful.
It was, after all, calls by the ANC Youth League and its then-president, Julius Malema, who consistently called for the nationalisation of mines, scaring off potential mining investments and robbing the country of much international goodwill. He drove away many willing investors, who now, in the developing resources boom, favour other countries in Africa to make their investments. The mining sector is left scrambling with the task of trying to recover the lost opportunities.
Malema has been removed by the old guard of the ANC, but what of the values and the sentiments he expressed? Are they not still the mantras of the young ANC?
Not satisfied with the mining disaster, another theme propounded by the youth and their erstwhile mouthpiece, that of land distribution through uncompensated seizure of white-owned farms, is now being hotly pursued once again. Ronald Lamola, deputy president of the ANCYL, another prince of clear thinking and blinding logic, warned last week that if white farmers do not willingly hand over farms to poor black people there would be violent land grabs like those experienced in Zimbabwe.
One would have hoped that he had taken account of what had happened to the “bread-basket of Africa” since the whites were chased off the farms and the un-trained and un-skilled local population were left to do the farming there.
At the same time, we hear of black farmers in South Africa who are unable to make a living because the government owns the land and the banks will not give loans because the land cannot be used as collateral. In March 2010 the BBC reported that “more than 90% of the South African farms now in black hands are failing to be productive”.
Meanwhile, white farmers who have been put off their land by the government are now in great demand in other African countries because there is recognition for their expertise and agricultural skill. In the biggest deal to date, Congo-Brazzaville has offered South African farmers long leases on up to 10 million hectares of land to farm abandoned state farms. In Mozambique, about 800 South African farmers have acquired a million hectares in the southern province of Gaza. Daft, isn’t it?
Why not use a strategy often employed when the founder of a company is bought out? The acquiring business becomes the new owner, but it creates an employment contract with the founder to stay on and keep the business running and profitable.
In this case the government can buy back the farm, and conclude a similar employment contract with the farmer who knows the ground, understands the challenges and has a track record, so that its productivity can continue. If the ANC and the government believe that the ground belongs to “the people” and wants it returned, farmers who have been working the land and have invested capital should at least be compensated for the improvements on the land and not be subject to “uncompensated seizures” as the youth have demanded. There can also be an agreement to ensure that skills are transferred and farmers rewarded for training the people who may eventually take over the farm.
If the psychological issue of “possession” is so important, it needn’t even be the government that buys the farm in the first place. It can be any black empowerment company, funded by the Land Bank or the government. The black people of South Africa as a whole will become the owners, and not a bunch of firebrand individuals who have no idea what to do with the land. At least we will keep the farming skills in the country and put them to good use.
Instead what is happening now is that the farmers are being murdered to satisfy the lusts of the rampaging mobs, and all they do in the end is plunder the place for firewood or re-sell it back to the original owners to get their hands on the cash.There is not much evidence that they can make the farms productive.
So far, since 1994, there have been 3,300 farmers murdered. The president, this year, feeding the rallying cry of the ANCYL, at the Centenary Celebration of the ANC in Bloemfontein led the singing of “Let’s shoot them..shoot the boer.” I watched the video, speechless. When I asked a loyal ANC member and friend of mine what to make of it, he said “It’s a traditional song, and it doesn’t mean what it says.” I say forget what it means, hear what it says!
Mkokeli calls Netshitenzhe “one of the foremost thinkers in the ANC”. But please, if it is the “young blood” of this country as represented by the ANCYL and the YCLSA who you want for leadership, Mr Netshitenzhe, think again! DM
- Scotland the brave, no longer so brave
- Red alert: Our growing culture of dependency
- Weep for our universities!
- A social covenant: The theory vs. the practice
- Giving transformation a bad name
- What the heck, Jonathan Jansen?
- Suspect mayors – at the heart of poor service delivery
- Capitalism on the skids
- The land issue - and the hooligan now in Parliament
- World Soccer: Combating corruption from the bottom up
- Marshalling our post-executive network
- SAA’s Board is a festering sore
- IQ: Outdated, irrelevant, in need of review
- Leadership’s lack of wisdom
- Inequality: the eternal conundrum
- Wake up, Irvin Jim – it’s 2014
- The dark side of the Eskom boardroom power struggle
- A faultline in the psyche of the nation’s men
- Twenty years on, the ANC is still not ready to govern
- Universities should not be state-controlled institutions
- Do race and ethnicity still override intellect and good judgement?
- Millions of ‘job opportunities’? Pull the other one!
- Hands off? Brian Joffe is faking it
- Should the workers have a voice on the board of directors?
- Time for the minister of police to hand in his resignation?
- More freelancing means fewer jobs
- The wealth gap and inequality cannot be ‘fixed’
- Is there a military option for school leaver unemployment?
- Retire the idea of retirement!
- The textbook, talented leadership of Mr Julius Malema
- The down – and up – side of recklessness and greed
- Race and gender issues: not going anywhere
- Sloppy board governance: Failing South Africa’s critical executive leadership
- Low efforts, low satisfaction: Combatting the new workplace epidemic
- Shame on the racist rant from the Black Business Council!
- The visits of French president and Polish prime minister: a scattering of welcome fairy dust
- Uncomfortable questions about Sasol’s hired gun
- Manufacturing is not our route to riches
- The Minister is chasing away jobs!
- The Age of the Sovereign Individual is upon us
- ‘I applied my mind’: a welcome comment from the President
- Stressful news about executive stress
- The comic opera at the SABC board plays on
- The right way is not always the best way
- Double benefit of focus on farming
- Indecision is crippling us
- An ‘African MBA’ would be a mistake
- The inequalities of the wage gap won’t go away
- Privileged access: no longer just for the top dogs
- Are there different degrees of CV fraud?
- Is the ‘born free’ generation really so free?
- Labour Brokers are here to stay
- Unemployment can be beaten
- Top CEOs are feeling the pinch
- Performance anxiety: The curse of our time
- Black Economic (Dis)empowerment: It’s time to rethink our strategy
- Why mobile phones are more important than toilets
- She was a lady with a vision
- South Africa should beef up its strengths
- Jacko Maree has failed in the most important task of a CEO
- Bridging the gap: Time to embrace immigrant skills
- Gender diversity on boards still undermined by stereotyping, male-dominated networks
- Be careful what you wish for
- Please stop the mindless nonsense of trying to ‘create’ entrepreneurs to satisfy some extravagant political agenda!
- The heavy hand of government is everywhere
- The good people at Standard & Poor's may not be aware of all our resources
- Our systems of education and first-rung employment are broken
- Only disruptive leadership can achieve real change
- 'Shooting from the hip' is now the norm - and deeply damaging
- Our leaders' confused moral compass
- Government ownership: Watch out for the collapse of independence
- US and South Africa: Leading in disaster and disastrous leadership
- CEO departures and the 'perfect storm' in the boardroom
- You can't play the 'happy game' without hope and expectations
- A major leadership resource, ignored in the new South Africa
- The value of the people who create value
- Living the paradox: Life in South Africa
- A leader without a vision gets nothing done
- It’s spring! It's a good time for cleaning up our act
- So, do we want to be a global player or not?
- Big business: A critical piece missing from Manuel's plan
- Enduring values cannot be legislated
- Being a CEO - and playing the leadership game - is tough
- Career Management 101: Don't send a CV!
- The shifting sands of executive payouts
- The Perils of “Young Blood”
- Gender Diversity: Good for Business
- Nationhood: Our fragile national self-esteem
- Employment: Make Peace with the Gig Economy
- Crime is not the real fear of white people
- Dilemmas of the South African Diaspora
- Be careful what you use to vote for whom, and when and why
- Golden Schmolden Years
- Beware the Psychopaths
- Executive salaries are determined by supply and demand. It's not a conspiracy
- Reckless transformation is doing great damage
- Listen and stay close to your stakeholders
- Career Management 2020
- The New Non-Executive Director
- Working on a resolution toward a 'portfolio life'
- Facing the dilemmas of succession
- The misguided notion of 'job creation'
- High CEO turnover and the role of the chairman
- Life starts at 60, and not only for Alan Knott-Craig
- African leaders are misguided when they try to hold on to Africa for the Africans