I’m going to veer a bit off topic here so please forgive me in advance… Not that anyone reads my blog but still, better safe than sorry.
There is plenty of anger, frustration, vitriol and associated malice in South Africa, between white and black, rich and poor, Jo-burgers and Capetonians and the ANC and everyone who doesn’t like it.
Why? Well I could go on about history but there are enough people talking about that. I could go on about politics, corruption, crime, murder and apathy but there are enough people talking about that too.
South Africa is an amazing place, I love it here, and it makes me sad that so many people are leaving. Just last week a couple my wife and I are good friends with announced their intent to leave for Australia because of a violent break-in and the associated trauma. They are going to leave a great life behind. They’re both successful business people who contribute a great deal to the country. They are a loss to South Africa.
So what I am going to write about today is –
How can South Africa make people stay here, and convince those that have left to come back?
I can only write from a white middle class perspective but I’ll try covering all the bases.
We pay taxes, whether it is income tax, VAT, fuel levies, eToll fees, company tax or dividends tax. As such we are economically active members of society. We do this in return for the right to live here and in exchange for services government is obligated to provide.
That doesn’t mean I want to benefit more from said taxes than people who are poor, unemployed or otherwise unable to do the same. They are guaranteed all the same rights and are due the same services as I am and they need the benefits of my tax more than I do, so that they can have a roof over their head, food, and so that their children are educated giving them the tools to uplift themselves and their families.
However, for me to stay or to convince me to come back if I’ve left, which I haven’t but bear with me, all government needs to do is as follows (and I think you’ll find most of these in the constitution by the way)
– Most importantly… Make it safe for me, my family and friends to live here – I don’t want to have to buy a gun and learn hand to hand combat. I’m an accountant not a soldier. I don’t want to have to worry about my wife being kidnapped when she goes jogging or us being shot for our cellphones by drug addled youths in our own home, which we paid for and pay rates every month for the services we get from the council.
– Give the police the capacity to keep South Africa safe from criminals. Punish the violent offenders, put criminals to work growing food for the less fortunate, do something! If you get that right we’ll be your biggest supporters!
– In my opinion the primary role of government is to run the country so that we, the citizens, can go about our daily lives in blissful ignorance. I don’t want have to worry about taxi strikes, racist murders, food and energy security, water security, road maintenance, corrupt police or local councilmen, illegal immigrants etc.
– The government should take care of all that shit without me even knowing about it, so that I can concentrate on my job in the country, which is to work for a living, so that I can pay income tax, buy goods and services which contribute VAT to the fiscus, put petrol in my car so that my fuel levy can pay for roads and road accident victims, or start a company which will pay corporate tax and will employ people who will in turn pay income tax, buy goods and services which contribute VAT to the fiscus and put petrol in their cars to contribute to the fuel levy.
– In short, in order for me to stay here, or to come back here if I’ve already left, all the government has to do is its JOB! Keep me safe, use my taxes to take care of all the things that I really don’t have time to do, and have paid you to do in the first place.
- Keep me, my family and my friends safe
- Train and pay the police properly
- Keep the lights on
- Keep the water running
- Take care of the poor and unemployed so that they are not driven to crime
- Put convicted criminals to work
- Take care of your business without bothering me with it