Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Zimbabwe Situation

What started as a political project (namely, the land reform) mutated into an economic crisis rendering the Zim dollar into a worthless currency. In fact, economic crisis in Zimbabwe display in part what is termed stagflation. In definition, stagflation is high inflation coupled with high levels of unemployment. During a talk show on KayaFm presented by John Perlman, one caller suggested that the solution to the Zimbabwe problem will not come from Mbeki or ZanuPF-MDC negotiation but from a negotiation process that will include ZanuPF, MDC and Britain.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"History's Importance for the Future"

For, he who desires to build a future dare not neglect the past.
Seek, therefore, all that is good and beautiful in the past,
built on it your ideal, and strive to realize that ideal for the future.

President Paul Kruger’s last message to his people

As a black South African, I believe there is a compelling case for affirmative action to prevail in South Africa. Sadly, not every person is of this view. Opponents of affirmative action often argue that it is not a necessary and effective policy intervention as it leads to reverse racism, and hence the incidence of fronting. Thus far evidence indicates that affirmative action has not really crowded out white South Africans in the area of employment in particular.

In retrospect, the 1926 Mine and Workers Act or the Colour Bar Act, which lasted until late eighties, served to prevent blacks from taking up skilled employment. The objective of the Colour Bar Act was to make skilled employment the exclusive preserve of whites in South Africa. Therefore, it would be appropriate to view affirmative action as an antidote to the anomalies stemming from the Colour Bar Act.

Hamilton Naki, a black man without formal training in the medical sciences, is recorded as someone who contributed in making it possible for Chris Barnard to perform the first heart transplant in the world. The Sunday Times article (5 June 2007), states that Hamilton Naki also participated in the training of students who went on to become professors in surgery. Some of his students actually became heads of university departments’ in countries like Japan and the US.
Hamilton Naki’s story highlights the need for affirmative action in South Africa. Unfortunately, there have been incidents that display the opposite of what is intended by the policy of affirmative action. In my view for affirmative action to have more weight, it has to be driven by meritocracy. Moreover, mentoring of those from the disadvantaged background holds potential to enhance affirmative action. If one takes the case of Tito Mboweni, the current governor of the South African Reserve Bank, his success in bringing down the rate of inflation from double to single digit and bringing about the lowest rates of interest in many years could perhaps be attributed in part to effective mentoring from the previous governor, Dr Chris Stals. This is because at one stage Tito Mboweni served as deputy to Dr Chris Stals before assuming the position of governor of the Reserve Bank.

Monday, June 4, 2007

My Ideal Host Organization/Employer

Employees tend to spend a considerable amount of their time in organizations. To get the most out of them, organizations should ensure that workplaces are free of conflicts. But conflicts are part of reality. Ideally, they should be prevented. Should they occur measures to amicably resolve them ought to be in place.

Rewarding and nurturing of talent drives me to perform to the best of my ability. Similarly, I value diversity for it brings to the fore a variety of ideas and approaches to problem solving exercises. Though mistakes are undesirable, I believe a room for mistakes is necessary because it allows individuals to stretch their boundaries of creativity. Thus I concur with Albert Ianstein’s claim that “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. Knowledge is worth celebrating but if it does not inspire imagination it will be of limited benefit.