Reflections

Let us throw money at it!

By Moleboheng Mahasa

I have come to realise that there are a lot more things that money cannot solve/buy than I had originally assumed. Sure I knew that money cannot buy you love, happiness and all those kinds of things. Along with the latest fashions and accessories, I definitely thought money could buy systems that make a country run efficiently.

I have often looked at the education system in South Africa and thought, ''a bit more money in this department could do us good.” Little did I know!

It turns out that South Africa spends a lot more money on education than most, if not all African countries. It turns out that our teachers are the highest paid teachers in Africa. It turns out that our education spend is in the billions. It also turns out that South Africa's education system is one of the poorest in the world. How can money not fix that??

We also have BEE (Black Economic Empowerment), which many people love to hate. Companies that reach turnover of a certain amount are required to work on their BEE points according to the scorecard. Theoretically speaking, BEE is meant to empower black disadvantaged people. However, it seems the word 'empowerment' lost its meaning somewhere along the way. So what do South African companies do? They throw money at BEE, just to tick it off the list. Many organisations are BEE compliant but does the ordinary man in the street get to enjoy that benefit?

The inequality gap in South Africa is one of the widest in the world. While we have many rich folk, we also have many poor people who live in atrocious conditions. Water and electricity may be basic necessities to some of us, but there are others out there who are dreaming of one day accessing these luxuries. When the government realised that there are many children who grow up deprived of basics, they threw money at the problem by way of social grants. Now you tell me, how are social grants sustainable in the long run?

The government realises that we have housing problems and what is the first thing that they do? They have this bright idea to promise houses to everyone! Apparently only 42% of SA's population pays taxes. Let's do the maths here, 42% is going to pay for housing for millions of people? On top of everything else that the tax money still has to accomplish? Again, how sustainable is this thinking?

Why is it that instead of thinking of sustainable approaches of dealing with the numerous social ills that affect the majority of our population we think of throwing money at them?  After moving into an RDP house and spending R210 grant money, how long do we think it's going to take before people realise that they are still poor?  And after this realisation do we really expect one such a person to want to figure out a plan on their own? Throwing money at problems makes for a dependant nation that feels entitled to everything!

As far as I am concerned the only thing that we should be 'throwing money at' is entrepreneurial development. We need to let people realise that government will NEVER have enough money to address every single need of every single individual in this country. Waiting for the government to fulfil everyone's dreams might prove to be a very long wait! Investing in developing entrepreneurs who will be able to build their own houses, put food on their tables as they generate income into the economy is what we should be doing.

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