Only dead fish go with the flow
21 August 2017 15:42 (South Africa)
Opinionista Mike Abel

The country is at sea – time to paddle wisely

  • Mike Abel
    mikeabel.jpg
    Mike Abel

    Mike Abel is regarded as one of South Africa's leading marketing and advertising practitioners. He is the Founder & Chief Executive of M&Saatchi Abel and the M&C Saatchi Group of companies operating in Africa. He is the former CEO of M&C Saatchi Group, Australia and before that, co-led the Ogilvy South Africa Group as COO and Group Managing Director, Cape Town. Mike has been awarded Advertising Leader in South Africa by both the Financial Mail and Finweek : and his company was named Best Agency in SA in 2015. Married to Sara and with 3 young sons, Mike is a regular speaker, writer and is passionate about politics and contemporary African art.

    His company is proudly also the home of the phenomenon called The Street Store, the open-source, pop-up clothing store for the homeless. It has gone on to become a global movement providing a free shopping experience for hundreds of thousands of homeless people around the world.

The population confused voting for a party versus a president on two occasions. South Africa may have believed it was voting for the ANC of Tambo, Mandela or Mbeki, and they could be forgiven for doing so then, but as has clearly transpired, they were voting for Jacob Zuma, the Gupta empire and the coven of cronies who have brought this country to its knees.

Audacious solutions and actions will re-build South Africa: and this requires you, dear reader, to also do something active about it – today.

There is little to no chance of South Africa reclaiming its rightful and admired place amongst the world's nations, as we enjoyed under the admired leadership of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, without confronting some very harsh realities.

The first is, acknowledging the citizenry of this country are the only chance we have of returning this beautiful land to glory – and that will happen from the ongoing and mounting public pressure and then ultimately, at the ballot box.

Our choices this time, cannot be based on any historic loyalties or hope, but in fully understanding the present situation and carefully analysing how we get out of this mess.

South Africa needs, first and foremost, political leadership that can create a solid and trusted environment for domestic and global investment.

Our country is plagued by poverty and crippling, growing unemployment. Fixing this, has to be our number one priority. Jobs.

There is factually, no other way of creating jobs, than by having meaningful and sustained economic growth. There is sadly, no way of having any growth in a low trust environment where countries, corporates and individuals cannot clearly see, a likely and viable return on their investment.

Since Thabo Mbeki was plotted against and unceremoniously hoofed by the ANC, initiated, aided and abetted by the Zuma faction and cabal including a very vocal, disrespectful and active Julius Malema, we have been at sea.

The population confused voting for a party versus a president on two following occasions. South Africa may have believed it was voting for the ANC of Tambo, Mandela or Mbeki, and they could be forgiven for doing so then, but as has clearly transpired, they were voting for Jacob Zuma, the Gupta empire and the coven of cronies who have brought this country to its knees, like Zwane, Gigaba, Dlamini, Brown, Myeni, Joemat-Petterson and many, many others. There have been the denialists who have repeatedly turned a blind eye (at least publicly) to this ongoing crisis, like the Hanekoms, Davies and Ramaphosas of this world, who only now that they see a smashed and broken ANC are peeking their heads above the parapet. These are the same folk, who like the rest of the ANC, have repeatedly kept Zuma in power through not breaking rank when given the clear opportunity to vote against him in the No Confidence motions. But they didn't.

I don't know about you, but I could certainly never vote for anybody I knew was destroying the country and the very lives of those who voted for the person robbing them blind and destroying the future of over 50-million people, for self-enrichment. But the ANC did. Repeatedly. And probably will again on 8 August.

To vote for Zuma and all he and everyone he has chosen and represents, is simply a vote against our country, all its people and our enshrined Constitution. The Constitution that the highest court in our land has already found Zuma to have violated – and yet since then, he had enjoyed no less than over 75% support by the ANC NEC, the very people who should and could bring him to book, if they wanted to. As they unfortunately did with Thabo Mbeki.

The ANC for me today, is much like Arthur Anderson after Enron – and worse. Far worse – for it's not a betrayal of employees, shareholders and investors we're talking about – it's the repeated betrayal of the trust, hopes and dreams of ordinary, everyday South Africans that they are guilty of. There should be no trust left. It is a smashed and broken thing. A once great and admired party, that has been irreparably destroyed. And much like Humpty Dumpty, “all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men (Cyril, Lindiwe included), cannot put the ANC together again”. I won't mention the former Mrs Zuma as one of those, because NDZ would be no different to her ex-husband. She has already proved that since returning from her questionable AU gig.

So, we need to ask ourselves, how do we create an environment domestically and globally that is conducive to trust, belief and investment? Through accountability as is beautifully articulated in South Africa's Constitution. The recipe for success is all there – we need to re-open the cookbook and hire proper chefs – not those who simply want to raid the pantry.

We need to choose those who will uphold, defend, protect and most importantly, activate the contents. We need to return to being a non-racial society. Whilst racial division exists and is fostered, there is no hope of fixing our land. Zupta, Bell Pottinger, and their local Black Ops teams of advocates and agencies have wreaked massive damage on the fabric of our country. We similarly cannot have Julius Malema saying we “have decided not to slaughter Whites – yet”. That is equally, hate speech, unconstitutional and a crime against humanity.

We do need to address historic and current inequity and the chasm between the have-lots and have-nots: most definitely and most urgently. But in a smart, considered, effective and sustainable way. We want to stimulate growth and investment in our economy so that when people rightfully get land and get houses, they don't starve on that land or in that house. Land is no good without a job. Without income.

The rub: It is only through growing our economy that we’ll be able to build this country. There is factually, no other solution to this problem. Never has been. Never will be. We need a coalition government to heal and rebuild our land that commits to the Constitution and its very clear guidelines. Unless all opposition parties get behind a non-racial, honest and equal society committed to growth as envisioned by Madiba, South Africa will not succeed. It's as plain as that.

So let's see what happens on 8 August and if the ANC MPs yet again aid and abet the betrayal of our country, or get fired by the ANC, but then join the opposition parties with their souls intact, and now become part of fixing the country they helped break. DM

  • Mike Abel
    mikeabel.jpg
    Mike Abel

    Mike Abel is regarded as one of South Africa's leading marketing and advertising practitioners. He is the Founder & Chief Executive of M&Saatchi Abel and the M&C Saatchi Group of companies operating in Africa. He is the former CEO of M&C Saatchi Group, Australia and before that, co-led the Ogilvy South Africa Group as COO and Group Managing Director, Cape Town. Mike has been awarded Advertising Leader in South Africa by both the Financial Mail and Finweek : and his company was named Best Agency in SA in 2015. Married to Sara and with 3 young sons, Mike is a regular speaker, writer and is passionate about politics and contemporary African art.

    His company is proudly also the home of the phenomenon called The Street Store, the open-source, pop-up clothing store for the homeless. It has gone on to become a global movement providing a free shopping experience for hundreds of thousands of homeless people around the world.

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