There is some kind of pride in making your mark on election day. It is as if your contribution can really make a difference. And while collectively it does, considering the low voter turnout on Wednesday, it is clear that everyone is not that hopeful. This time round, will the promises actually result in anything?
Things have to get better. Listening to political analysts and reading all the opinions on what would be the best scenario for South Africa, they all have one thing in common: We need the economy to work. Everyone might have a different opinion on how to get to that, but very simplistically put, the hope is that a better economy will see an increase in employment and a decrease in crime. Having less crime and more jobs will again stimulate the economy and the future will be bright and we will be happy.
Is it that easy? Does money make you happy? Having a working economy might! In 2012, Venezuela voted themselves to be the fifth happiest nation on earth. In 2013, they were 20th out of the 156 countries in the United Nations’ annual World Happiness Report, highly rated for their well-being, wealth, life expectancy and lack of corruption. Today, under poor leadership and a failing economy, the country is in debt, despair and depression. (Read more)
It is the promise of a strong economy that keeps citizens believing in and voting for a better future. The failed government of the last decade, however, has left many South Africans disillusioned. It must be one of the main reasons why, at this morning’s count, just more than 65% of voters turned up to make their mark. This is about 8% down on the 2014 elections! We might have freedom and a liberal constitution, but the daily struggles have left many cynical.
It is time we have our diversity and creativity work for us. I believe there are many solutions to job creation. Wandile Sihlobo sees the opportunity in Agriculture (read more) – and it is there. I think we need to up our manufacturing, adding value to our raw materials. (Read more) There are many good ideas, but all of these need the support of the government. Companies and individuals might have a responsibility, but without government support, efforts to make a nation-wide difference are dead in the water.
The SA Wine Industry has an uphill battle when it comes to government support. We are still waiting for our Brics membership to result in favourable free trade agreements with China, for instance. According to Wineland’s Johannes Richter, there are complex reasons why this is not happening, but just look what it did for Australia: In 2017, after signing a Chinese duty-free agreement, Australian wine exports to China have increased with 63% in value! (Read more)
There is another Australian example to learn from: the Australian Government has recently announced that wine producers with cellar door facilities are eligible for grants up to $100,000 to encourage wine tourism. Wine Australia chief executive officer, Andreas Clark, explained: “The Australian Government, through the $50 million Package, has committed significant funds to promoting Australian wine overseas and to building tourism and export capacity and capability within the wine sector – this package is another aspect of that strategy”. (Read more)
Of course, our government has its unique challenges and many other pressing issues to take care of and to fund, but creating opportunities for our people to fish, rather than just feeding them, needs to be a priority. It is in the interest of the whole country.