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24/7 National Hotline: 0860 163 272 | Email:


Feb 9, 2021


The Department of Tourism recently announced a R1.2 billion fund aimed at assisting Black entrepreneurs in the tourism industry.


Already in the very early stages of Government’s response to the Covid-19 predicament, the President, among others, made it clear that the virus has presented Government with an opportunity to enhance its ‘transformation’ agenda.


The practical implications hereof were seen during the first lockdown, where certain forms of aid were only earmarked for certain ‘races’, although it turned out to benefit only a privileged few even within that particular group. Their ‘transformation’ agenda was also visible during the role-out of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), where many millions of rands were lost as a result of corruption. And, of course, there are already demands from certain BEE-groupings (who stand to benefit from it) that the role-out of vaccines should also be in accordance with Government’s ‘transformation’ (race) agenda. That will cause another disaster, but without a doubt an opportunity for corrupt self-enrichment.


It is so disappointing that the failed ‘race’ experiment of the previous century is repeated. The current experiment is already failing miserably, as can be seen from failed service delivery and corruption, which spectacularly enriched a few, impoverished millions, and has all but paralysed almost all state and semi-state institutions and bankrupted the state.


The aim of this communique, however, is aimed at those who will not benefit from these handouts: the thousands of entrepreneurs and hard-working people, of all races, including those who make up South Africa’s unemployment and inequality statistics, those severely affected by all-round poor service delivery, those who would have benefitted by sound, non-discriminatory policies, but who, within the current discriminatory framework, only benefits a few ‘fortunate’ positioned individuals. The rest are severely losing out, and will continue to do so for as long as the current race-based agenda prevails.


Apart from the expectation that the state has to provide efficient infrastructure and services – in the areas that only the state is supposed to provide services – any person who is in any way dependent on the state, is at a severe disadvantage.


A mindset of dependence on any form of provision from the state, is mentally debilitating, far worse than almost any form of physical disability. Waiting for an intervention from the state is paralysing, denying a person the enabling faculties of taking responsibility, creative thinking, risk-taking, sacrifice and perseverance.


The Covid-19 relief funds are cases in point. Many businesses applied for funding of this nature, especially since it was offered to them, and therefore presented itself as ‘a way out’ from the predicament created by the response to Covid-19. A few obtained funding, the majority, however, did not.


The latter, in cases where businesses survived, did what entrepreneurs do under these circumstances: they made ‘other’ plans, they made decisions and implemented changes which, in fact, place them in a stronger position going forward. Above all, it made them tougher and better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.


Nothing in the world is permanent, no matter how ‘indestructible’ it now seems to be. Covid-19 is unique, but challenges are not. We’ve been through a lot, and everyone has a unique story to tell, and we will be called upon to tackle many other difficulties in future. Bringing the state into the equation in dealing with these difficulties, will be fatal. The state will not be able to help! We need to make peace with that. Complaining will not help either. Neither will being aggrieved by it serve any purpose. Focus on going forward; ask a different question, seek a different solution, adapt!


Within the parameters of integrity, creativity, sound business principles and perseverance, it is for us to carve out a future and not wait on anyone else, including the state, to do so for us – all of of us.


Gerhard Papenfus is the Chief Executive of the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA).


Image courtesy of Fractal Enlightenment


For more information:
NEASA Media Department



NEASA 24/7 NATIONAL HOTLINE: 086 016 3272
(please have your membership number at hand)


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