14 December 2008

ITALIAN UNION

Roland de Marigny (32), a former Blue Bulls rugby player, married the former Italian pole-vault champion Pamela Azzolini (26), at Tala Nature Reserve near Durban. Roland left South Africa to play rugby for the Italian club Parma, and went on to play for the Italian national team. Pamela is a physiotherapist who is studying for a degree in osteopathy.

ECO-FRIENDLY SA COUNTRY HOUSE

Felicity Sherratt was born in Johannesburg. Her husband, Brian, was born in Cape Town. They immigrated to Australia with their two children in 1980. The couple run an eco-sensitive country lodge - Lily Pily B&B Country House - on their dairy farm in Belligen. Brian was a banker and Felicity a special education and infant school teacher. After working in Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore and London, they moved to Belligen.

CANADIAN SANGOMAS

Duane Lee (30), a Canadian, recently completed three months of sangoma training at Baromeni village in Acornhoek, Mpumalanga. He said tht he arrived in South Africa with endless headaches and swollen legs. No doctors in Canada coud help him. Duane was born and raised in Toronto, and learnt about sangomas from a fellow Canadian, Rebecca Jones, who went to the same sangoma training school in Mpumalanga in 2006. Duane received the ancestral name Gogo Ashane, meaning son of the ancestors. He learned how to make and use muthi. He gave up his job as a marketing manager of a private company in Canada to do the training.

ORGAN DONORS

The Organ Donor Foundation (ODF) of South Africa is always looking for donors. When you pass away and your organs are found to be viable, you can change the lives of more than 17 people. Register with the ODF and they will send you an information brochure, a credit card-sized card to fill in and carry in your wallet. They will also send you two small stickers to put on your ID document and on your driver’s licence. The ODF recommends that you discuss your decision with your next-of-kin, as ultimately they will have to give consent when you die.

SA PROF BEHIND SURGICAL PROCEDURE

Professor Donald Nuss was born in South Africa and now ives in Virginia, USA. Twenty-one years ago he developed a ground-breaking surgical method - the Nuss procedure, a minimally invasive way of correcting a birth defect known as pectus excavatum (concave or sunken chest). A concave chest is a condition when the chest does not curve outwards but inwards towards the spine. In severe cases, it leaves sufferers short of breath. Prof. Nuss developed the procedure while performing the traditional method, which involved breaking the breast bone and removing varying amounts of cartilage attached to the ribs.

FARMERS ON THE NET

South African farmers are using the Internet to reach out. Agri Wiki is part of Wikipedia and was founded by two Colesburg friends. Sarel Wessels (31), an accountant, and MJ van Wyk (25), a farmer, created the site to help other farmers country-wide share their knowledge and experiences.

SEASIDE TV

Hout Bay and Llandudno have their own TV channel. The recently launched TV channel, 790Tv, is Internet-based. It aims to communicate with and entertain residents and businesses in Hout Bay and Llandudno through video-ad clips. It took 8 months to develop and 4 weeks of on-line testing. Content is provided by local video journalists.

THE FLYING SEMIGRANTS

More and more Gautengers are semigrating to the Garden Route and commuting 1000km to work. The breadwinners live in Gauteng from Monday to Friday, while their spouses and children are safer from the high crime rates in Gauteng. The private airline Venture Air has seen a rise in the 60 to 70 passengers the airline ferries on return trips each week. About 23% of them are regular passengers flying between Johannesburg and George/Plettenberg Bay. Some work away from home two weeks at a time. Many semigrants fly traditional airlines but Venture Air offers a door-to-door service.

BUSY ELDERS

Saxonwold Primary students love Uncle Ian (Ian Rossetenstein, 69) who is there every Tuesday to help the Grade 2 and 3 students improve their English by reading them poems and short stories. The former factory manager uses different voices for each character, pulls faces and acts out the stories. He is one of 54 retired volunteers who form part of Second Innings, a voluntary organisation co-ordinated by the Jewish Community Project. The pensioners visit eight primary schools in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs once a week. Although some of the Orange Grove, Lyndhurst, Glenhazel, Orchards, Bramley, Houghton, Saxonwold and Parkhurst primary schools are located in posh suburbs, many of their pupils come from townships and shack settlements and need extra help learning English. The children’s English marks have improved from 60% to 80% since the volunteers joined them. Another volunteer, Fanny Golding (80), helps out at Lyndhurst Primary School. She was an administrative clerk at Wits University’s Law School for 35 years.

DESPITE THE ODDS

Louis Neethling (37) doesn't listen to advice, well-meaning or not. His dream was to work in television, but as a young boy he was told by a teacher he wouldn’t be able to work in television. He went on to get a job as a runner at the SABC. Film crews laughed when he said he wanted to produce and direct. Today, Louis, who was born deaf, has proven them all wrong. The son of deaf parents, he was born and grew up in Springs, and is now an award-winning film-maker with his own company, Mutt & Jeff Pictures, in London. He recently finished a short drama for The National Deaf Service in the UK. After working as a runner at the SABC, he became a researcher before he, together with scriptwriter and producer Louise van Niekerk, started Dtv and created a magazine programme on SABC for deaf people. He won a Rotary Scholarship to study at the National Film and Television School in the UK and then returned to South Africa to work in film. The BBC’s See Hear approached him to direct a new deaf drama called Switch and he moved to the UK in 2001. He lives with his wife and two children in Hillingdon.

TOP SA TEACHER

Sarietjie Musgrave (36), a teacher at Eunice High School, a girls only school in Bloemfontein, was placed second in the community category at Microsoft’s recent world-wide Innovative Teachers Forum in Hong Kong. Her class project, Spread the Sunshine, saw her competing against more than 250 teachers from 64 countries, and helped at least 300 people in the Free State. The computer applications technology teacher introduced the project this year to Grade 10 students. The students had to research various disabilities and come up with technological solutions for people with those disabilities. The 64 students helped more than 300 people with disabilities ranging from dyslexia to Down Syndrome. Vaia Tsistsi worked with a dyslexic pupil and taught her to read and write using drawings. Some students reconnected an elderly woman with her family in Greece, by teaching her to use e-mail. Other students used their own laptop computer to teach a paralysed six-year-old, living in a shack, to write her name. Some of the girls went to other schools asking pupils to donate R1 for each hearing ear they had. The proceeds went towards cochlea implant awareness.

SA-BORN CEO FOR ARSENAL

Arsenal Football Club recently appointed Ivan Gazidis as their new CEO. The 44-year-old South African-born Oxford graduate starts in January, ending his 14-year association with the American Major League Soccer. Ivan is a solicitor and amateur soccer player. He joined Major League Soccer in April 1994, two year’s before the League’s inaugural game, as a member of its founding management team. He was born in 1964 in Johannesburg, and moved to England when he was four years old. Ivan attended Oxford University, graduating in 1986 with a Master's Degree in Law. While at Oxford University, he was twice awarded an Oxford soccer Blue. He took the Solicitor's Final Examination at the Guildford College of Law in 1987 and worked as a corporate lawyer in London and Los Angeles until 1994, when he was recruited by Major League Soccer.

PORT ELIZABETH'S CUPIDS

Christine Gerber is Port Elizabeth's Cupid, having matched 107 couples in the last 14 years. She's also been a guest at most of the weddings. She started a singles club, Date-a-Mate, in 1994. Christine got divorced more than 18 years ago and is happily unmarried although she is in a 18 year relationship. Another of Port Elizabeth's Cupids, Eva Davey, started her singles club more than 20 years ago after her divorce.

SOUTH AFRICANS SUCCEED IN AUSTRALIA

The Australian Census reports have revealed some interesting statistics concerning South African immigrants, according to studies by Professor Dharma Arunachalam, a professor in political and social studies at the Australian Monash University. Looking at the 2006 Census, South Africans who have moved to Australia generally have the best jobs and earn the most. They have better qualifications than immigrants from Europe and America, and also live in the wealthiest suburbs. They are generally younger than other immigrants and are well-qualified with professional and managerial skills. Most bring their families and earn more than any other group. They live mostly in wealthier suburbs in Queensland and in the western part of the country. Before 1996, they were mostly English-speaking South Africans, but more Afrikaners, Indians and black people have since immigrated to Australia. The South African community in Australia has grown from 55 821 in 1996 to 104 129 in 2006.

MUCH-NEEDED BOOK


For all you guys who suffer with anti-rugby girlfriends or wives, a new book might help you out. The Girlfriend's Guide to Rugby, written a la Dummies style, aims to teach them about the manly game so they can spend happy times watching the game. The Girlfriend’s Guide to Rugby, by Jaco Louw a former rugby player, explains the basic rules of the game in a humorous way. It uses analogies, such as shopping and relationships, which girlfriends (even blond ones) can relate to. If this book sells, watch out for more titles such as Girlfriend's Guide to Cricket or Girlfriend's Guide to Soccer.

FROM BRIXTON TO MONTREAL

Ockert Greeff, previously known as Moord the trumpet player in the band Brixton Moord en Roof Orkes, was born in Karasburg, Namibia and grew up in Upington. A year ago, he left Johannesburg for Montreal, Canada, where he lives with his Canadian wife, Elizabeth. He's a drummer with Light Bulb Alley.

DOCTORS EXIT

The Calgary Herald recently carried an a feature article "Alberta bound: Why South African doctors are coming to Canada". According to Dr. Kgosi Letlape, chairman of the South African Medical Association, only half of the physicians trained in South Africa during the past 10 years are still registered to practise here. Many South African doctors are to be found in small-town Canada where clinics and hospitals, particularly on the Prairies, gladly accept them. Canada has a doctor shortage, especially in rural Canada. Small towns often offer incentive packages worth more than $50,000. About 2,100 South African-trained physicians now practise medicine in Canada, a quarter of them work in Alberta. A 26-year-old doctor, working at Cape Town's Red Cross Children's Hospital, takes home about $3,300 Cdn a month after taxes - after long days and unpaid hours of overtime. He's leaving for Canada where he could easily earn $8,000 a month. On top of that, he's getting a $10,000 relocation allowance and a $10,000 signing bonus. A provincial programme adds another $15,000 to $20,000 if he remains in the community for longer than nine months. The competition in Alberta for South African doctors is so intense that bidding wars have erupted between communities, with cars, homes and interest-free loans on offer.

11 December 2008

ANTON RUPERT MEMORIAL LECTURE

Transcript of the address given by Dr. Johann Rupert at the Anton Rupert Memorial Lecture, University of Pretoria, on 15 October 15 2008

Ambassadors, High Commissioners and representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, Vice Chancellor and principal of the University of Pretoria, Professor Callie Pretorius, The Registrar, Professor Nick Grove.

All protocol observed.

Thank you for the opportunity of honouring my late parents tonight. They met here as members of the University of Pretoria Students Representative Council. My father was the Chairman and my mother was elected to that council in her first year. Quite a formidable couple! I miss them very dearly - especially tonight.

My wife Gaynor is also a very proud ex-Tukkie and is our family's resident Blue Bull supporter. For educating her about quite a lot, except the finer details of rugby, also a big thank you.

Congratulations Professor to you and all your colleagues, and to the University on the celebrations of the centenary. When we look back at all the achievements both of the University and of your alumni, we have total confidence in your next 100 years.

Uit respek vir die Ambassadeurs is ek versoek om in Engels te praat. Ek doen dit graag.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I'm still what some of my compatriots call a "hairy back" or a "Dutchman", plus I prefer to write my own speeches. So please forgive me for grammatical errors and my pronunciation. And to the press, both the press and the television, please do not paraphrase. I have learnt long ago not to fight with people who buy ink by the barrel, and Doc Craven never said there will never be a black player playing for South Africa.

He said: "For as long as this Government is in charge, there will never be a black player playing for South Africa". You'll agree that there's a nuance. Or my favourite one: "You can say I like to shower twice a day, but once a week I have to have a bath." So if you cut the first few words out, you can say he baths once a week.

Please also speak to the editors who do the headlines. It's impossible to speak openly in our society if people try to stir fights. We need more debate. Tonight I'll attempt to highlight the plight of the future generation and look at some reasons why they're so much worse off than their counterparts in the rest of the world.

Where did we go wrong, and what can we do about it?

Africa's children truly deserve better. Too many die far too young. The lucky ones who survive childbirth and malnutrition lack potable water, with no roofs over their heads, stand to lose their brothers and sisters and parents far too young. The majority of the lucky survivors also face inadequate educational opportunities and therefore stand little chance of gainful employment. We have already suffered a number of lost generations.

Can we really stand by and lose another generation? Let's try and analyse the problem, the causes and the possible solutions to prevent this tragedy from getting worse.

How bad is the situation? Let's have a look at some key indicators.

Let's look at life expectancy at birth. I think you'll all agree this is a rather fair indicator.

Of the 193 countries reported, we rank in the bottom 5 when looking at the improvement of life expectancy at birth. The life expectancy at birth has decreased by 12 years from 1990 to 2006. By the way, all the other countries that performed worse than us are SADEC members. So today, it's gone from 62 to just over 50 which is a decrease of 12 years and those are the WHO figures. The CIA fact book estimates 42 years.

The global trend is that of an increase in life expectancies of 4 years, from 63 to 67. The Japanese are at 83 years. Africa, as a WHO region, has remained stable at 51 years for the last 16 years. This implied that most of Africa has improved and South Africa has worsened. This brutal regime of Zimbabwe has caused the life expectancy of its women to drop from over 60 to 34 in 18 years. The men are expected to live up to the ripe old age of 37.

Infant mortality rates: The infant mortality rate in South Africa has deteriorated from 45 to 56 infant deaths per 1000 live births over 16 years and ranks at 188. It's important to know that the deterioration has accelerated from 5 in the first 10 years to 6 in the next 6 years. Once again it should be noted that Lesotho and Swaziland are included in the 7 bottom ranked countries.

Let's look at the prevalence of TB per 100 000 people. South Africa ranks l77 in terms of, so called, "improvement". We have not improved. In 1990 there were 774 cases per 100 000, in 2006, 998. Again note that Lesotho and Swaziland are in the bottom ranking.

Let's look at the prevalence of HIV adults amongst adults aged 15 to 49. In 2007, South Africa had the fourth highest HIV prevalence in the world. Between 2001 and 2007, the prevalence increased from 16.9 to 18.1. At a time during which most other countries stabilised, Swaziland is the worst, Botswana second, Lesotho, then South Africa and I dare say, I do not trust Zimbabwe's figures at all because they are below us and they have miraculously improved from 26% to 15%. I do not believe that.

We Africans are really the ultimate consumers. We consume our infrastructure, we consume our forests and we consume our wildlife. We actually consume our children's future. Now in South Africa, are we a lot better off, or are we not showing signs of this African malaise?

Now I quote from a book, Africa in Chaos, by Professor Dr George Ayittey:

"Despite Africa's vast natural resources, its people remain in the deadly grip of poverty, squalor and destitution whilst buffeted by environmental degradation and brutal tyranny. Both external and internal factors can be blamed. Amongst the external factors are the legacies of colonialism, the lingering effects of the slave trade, Western imperialism and the pernicious international economic system. The internal factors include bad leadership, corruption, economic mismanagement, political tyranny, senseless civil wars, military vandalism, exploitation and the oppression of the peasant majority, denial of civil liberties and capital flight amongst others. Whilst both external and internal factors had played some role, the preponderance of the internal factors is evident. In fact, a new generation of angry Africans subscribe to the internalist school of thought. They lay greater emphasis on the internal causes and therefore advocate internal, that is African solutions."

Only Africa can reverse its decline. The criteria of success for economic policies must be the improved health and education of the population and increased employment and production. Therefore the agricultural sector which employs the vast majority of Africans is central to economic revival.

Now why did other countries in Asia, in the United States, Europe why did they succeed and why did we fail so miserably? Now this is very interesting, the last 150 years may prove in the history of time to be an aberration. That is prior to a century and a half ago, the standard of living was roughly the same all over the world. It didn't really matter whether you lived in New York, London, Paris, Mexico City, Johannesburg, Cairo, Nairobi, Beijing, Tokyo or Manila - the standard of living was roughly the same. I never knew this, but you can go and check. In the past century however, the standard of living in various countries has changed dramatically so that today we have developed nations and undeveloped nations.

During this period some societies clearly prospered, some trod water and others actually went backwards. Africa has gone backwards. It's got nothing to do with us being African or black, Forget this old racist line of ethnicity. If so, why did similarly educated people with the same ethnic background end up experiencing such different qualities of life? I was in East Germany just after the fall of the War. They were destitute. Why is the average South Korean nearly 6cm taller than his northern counterpart? The truth seems to be found in the choices made by societies as to the economic and social political system under which they choose to live.

In other words, we all choose the way in which we organise our society and how we are governed. It's got nothing to do with race.

Winning nations: academics, political, economic and social scientists point to three major reasons. They have sound economic policies which encourage open market systems, for example:

- unlimited and free transferability of property;
- protection of private property;
- ownership incentives for capital formation;
- strong and convertible currencies;
- flexible labour markets and entrepreneurship;
- socio-political policies that seem to succeed include democracy, free speech, honesty and transparency in government actions and a strict adherence to, and respect for, rule of law.

In this regard it is important to note that free market economics is a precondition to democracy: that is, there are no democracies that do not have free market economies. On the other hand there are still free market systems that are not true democracies. Such an argument leads many to conclude that a free and open economy takes precedence over a free and open political system, which, in turn, leads to an environment in which technological advance can flourish. We know what happened in Chile and, at present, China is a perfect example.

My wife and I were privileged to meet President Gorbachev many years ago and I asked him why he had stopped when he did and he said "well they would have called me ‘Gorbi the terrible'." But, he said, the Chinese will not make the same mistake. We were again privileged to meet President Vladimir Putin this year and, quite frankly, I think they have resolved law and order, or are in the process of restoring law and order, in Russia.

The Chinese have totally open market policies but they do not have a democracy. They understand that democracy will follow and I suspect that they are following the Chilean model.

Then there's a third leg. We have discussed the economic policies and the social political policies. The third leg is technology. After the creation of the industrial economy, we have to have the creation of the information or knowledge economy. In exporting congealed brain power, we have to export bits, not atoms. If we don't, our terms of trade will continue to worsen. We have to protect intellectual property.

Now we have clearly made the wrong choices. (Interestingly, the Mainland Chinese were poverty stricken in comparison to the Chinese living in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. They had also made the wrong choices but they have changed their policies.) The results are staggering. In stark contrast to the rest of the world, it's clear that the majority of sub-Saharan nations have made the wrong choices. So have we, for many centuries and the results speak for themselves. What have we done?

The Nationalists observed very few of the above-mentioned rules for success. We had a form of "nationalist socialism". We had control boards for everything. I bet you most of you don't know that we had a control board for eggs. That people who had restaurants and hotels had to have an "egg book"! I know, because there was a Swiss friend of mine who ran the Beacon Isle Hotel and one day an inspector came in and asked for his "egg book". Hans didn't know about an egg book, chased him out and this gentleman explained to him that he was going to be in serious trouble, "he has to have an egg book". All eggs consumed had to be put in this book and when Hans started laughing he said: "Don't laugh. I've got arresting powers"!

In any case, we no longer have those. We had so much protectionism. We had no real democracy, in fact, no democracy. We didn't have free speech; we didn't have honesty and transparency in government actions and certainly no respect for rule of law, for example, the removal of the coloureds off the voter's roll.

However, since the end of apartheid, we've had a miraculously peaceful transition to a democracy. We've further experienced successes such as the remarkable improvement at the Revenue Service - truly remarkable. The turnaround at Treasury. And the excellent management of the currency by the Governor of the Reserve Bank and his staff.

Our economic policies have generally been sound. We have not yet experienced unlimited and free transferability of property, yet our currency's been stable. It's not yet been convertible. I am a proponent for the abolition of exchange controls but I must agree with, and, in fact, I called Minister Manuel and I said we were saved by foreign exchange controls. I'm sorry there are a couple of banker friends of mine here and fund managers, but you would also have been seduced by the higher yields available n the sub-prime and other markets. So for once, thank God for foreign exchange controls.

Our labour markets have not been as flexible as those of our competitors and this will become an issue. In terms of our socio-political policies however, we have fallen woefully short. Citizens are not safe in their own country. We have a democracy but some of our fellow South Africans continuously threaten to resort to violence if they do not get their way - "we will kill".

Freedom of speech is guaranteed under the Constitution but any criticism of any government policy is viewed as counter revolutionary, racist and is stifled by a hypersensitive leadership. Honesty and transparency in government have been sadly lacking, very sadly. The perception is that corruption is not deliberately and efficiently combated.

The law of unintended consequences has also been at work in a number of areas. Let's take black economic empowerment, a very good idea. I lived in Malaysia, correction, I didn't live there, but we have a pretty big business in Malaysia. The Bumiputra asked us to give 25% of the company. Initially this had to go to cronies of the prime minister but we put it with the government pension fund, so it was triple B double E. In South Africa, there has been a real shift of economic power towards black South Africans and that is continuing apace. Too often, however, empowerment has resulted in the enrichment of the few rather than the many, leaving behind a vast army of uneducated unemployed. This can only be addressed by a far more effective nationwide programme of skills training. There are no unemployed carpenters, stonemasons, electricians or plumbers in South Africa or any where else for that matter. The apprentice system needs to be reinstated and the basic educational system orientated towards economically useful skills needs to be reinstated. SETA is totally mismanaged and it simply does not work. As anybody who has ever asked for a grant can tell you.

BEE has also led to the creation of some of the worst sub-prime credits ever. When a bank lends into a BEE scheme it often funds the select few lucky insiders to buy shares from the public. The public shareholders always include pension and provident fund where the workers have their savings. Should the company then approach the bank for funding of a new factory, for instance, which will create new jobs, the bank is forced to take the BEE exposure into account. It has to have a look at exposure to the industry and to the company. More often than we believe the bank's exposure will be limited and the factory may not be funded.

Furthermore, when will BEE end? Malaysian friends tell me that the Chinese are leaving. They'd rather create wealth in China, Singapore and even Taiwan.

Will our youth not feel the same?

Let's take employment equity. South Africa can only succeed economically and politically on the basis of a genuine partnership between black, white, brown and not on the basis of white privilege or black advancement at the expense of any form of competence. Now everybody uses the zebra as the principle, my friend Patrice (Motsepe) as well. But the zebras that they look at are only black and white. Where I come from in the Cape the Coloureds have been severely disadvantaged. They were too black in the past and now they're too white. So I prefer the Cape mountain zebra that at least had a bit more touch of brown in.

Now we all know, shoot the zebra and you'll die. We'll get back to that later.

We have to work together. One of the worst of apartheid's crimes was the Bantu education system, which resulted in an horrendous skills deficit, which has to be addressed and cannot simply be wished away. In 1986 only about 15% of graduates were black. These are the individuals who are now in their mid-40's. Employment equity codes will have it that they make up a far bigger percentage of senior management than 15%.

Are you going to put your money in the bank where they don't have the best management? Or are you going to put it where your money is safe? We sign on to codes without realising the results, the unintended consequences. And, by the way, who mentors the smart young black kids who come out of university now? An incompetent "suit"? I think not. We all want employment equity to work. It's not only the right thing, the moral thing, but it's also the smart thing. Between 94 and 2007 the numbers of black graduates have increased dramatically. I think by 2008 well in excess of 60% of all graduates will be black. The situation will resolve itself. Now we've all seen and experienced the disaster of this policy of advancement at the expense of any form of competence. Look at the institutions where experienced managers were "encouraged" to leave - Eskom, the Land Bank, SAA, I can go on and on and on.

By the way, regarding Eskom, when some business leader stated that "we're all to blame", they certainly did not speak for me. And, again the children suffer. The senior leadership of various parastatals and parts of the civil service, though not at treasury, revenue and the central bank, have been empowered to appoint at which in some cases they can no longer deliver basic services required of them. There has to be a successful mixture of old and new management for any of these enterprises to prosper.

This is also true at a local government level. For example, in Stellenbosch, my home town, the newly elected ANC town council fired one of the most impressive executives that I have ever met, Mr David Daniels. Interestingly, he taught Trevor Manuel at school. The problem with Mr Daniels is that he was too apolitical, too honest and too able to kow-tow to a group of individuals with a narrow sectarian interest. There goes another town into total disarray. Nearly every town failed. But how can it not happen when over a third of our local councillors are illiterate. I'm not talking financially illiterate, I'm talking illiterate.

Land reform is another area in which policy so far has resulted mainly in confusion as the plethora of unresolved and sometimes completely unfounded land claims have resulted in new black as well as white commercial farmers being reluctant to reinvest in their farms. There has to be an effective programme of land transfer, we all agree, subject to proper compensation and support for those acquiring the land.

But the department administering this programme is notoriously incompetent. Now this is a very dangerous thing to do on a continent and in a country that's facing food self-sufficiency problems. We already have, and I see Professor Victor Hesse over there, we already have problems with some of our woods where people have not replanted. There's a shortage of wood.

Now I want to give you a very personal example of this department. I'm a shareholder in a farm in Mpumalanga. Although no claim was lodged against the farm whatsoever, not even, as often the case, after the legal date had come and passed, the Land Claims Commissioner chose to gazette us. Thus we've been forced to go to Court. The case has been postponed four times and has dragged on for over two years and we have another year to go.

Now, which farmer will invest in a farm without knowing the future? Food production will suffer. Furthermore, once the claimants get the land they aren't given the implements to farm and, more often than not, have no farming experience whatsoever.

In the Malalane Komatipoort area the total claim amounts to between 2.4 and 3 billion Rand. If all the claims succeed at the going rate, that's what the state will have to pay. This goes to a tribe, loosely defined, of some 10 000 individuals. In other words the cost will be at least R240 000 per man, woman and child.

Now I don't know if any of you have been to the Shongwe Hospital. It's in total disarray. HIV Aids orphaned kids are looking after other children. Crime is rampant.

This has to be sheer and utter madness.

Farmers are being murdered and their property rights are not secured. Who will feed the population? And, why is no one thinking about the vast areas of our country that belong to the state? And, come to think about it, what about the totally under utilised areas under control of the "traditional leaders"? And it's not only the ANC that is to blame. Shortly before the election in the early 90's the National Party saw it fit to give away major parts of Kwazulu Natal to tribal leaders. People do not farm for the chief. People do not farm for somebody else. If the state's cow gets sick in the middle of the night, it dies. If it's your cow, you get up. Agriculture has never worked in a communalist or a communist state.

The difference is that China has given these lands to the peasants, to their citizens and given them title deeds and they're farming. Now this minister has to realise that she is for all practical purposes "the minister of food security and self-sufficiency". When this realisation finally dawns upon her, she will hopefully change her attitude towards the already beleaguered agricultural sector. Farming is not for sissies! You're prone to be violently attacked and murdered. Your land tenure is under threat. Your input costs are soaring and prices for your products are volatile and out of your control. If we want the children to escape another cycle of hunger we need the farming sector to be safe, happy and profitable.

We also have to realise that we cannot improve the lives of our children, the grandchildren, the kids, with a totally open border system. We do not possess the human and physical resources to house, employ, feed and educate the whole of the sub-equatorial Africa's refugees.

A friend of mine, Fred Robertson's wife, is involved in a charity in Cape Town. They are trying to get the kids to learn to read and write before going to primary school. And they had a particular problem with this one school where 10% of the kids could not cope. They went there and found out, in Cape Town, that the reason was not that they couldn't speak English or Afrikaans but that they were speaking French and Portuguese.

It's therefore imperative that we use all the powers at our disposal to force the removal of dictatorial despots to our North. We have to get those economies going, folks. President Bush senior did not sign NAFTA only because he was in ‘love with his neighbours. He signed NAFTA because he realised that, if he didn't improve the economies of his neighbours, they'd all flood into his country.

Now if our neighbours all fall apart - and you've seen the figures - do you really think that they not all going to come into our country? We can already not feed our own children. The head of the World Bank, Bob Zoellick, said recently that the most fundamental prerequisite for sustainable development is an effective rule of law. This is exactly what the head of the ANC Youth League and some others have been challenging, thereby spooking oversees investors and undermining years of work to improve South Africa's sovereign rating, and folks, without foreign capital we will not be able to provide a better future for our children, for the children of this country.

Luckily he was were slapped down and rule of law was defended by President Motlanthe, who'll hopefully continue to do so. Also, there cannot be an effective rule of law without a truly independent prosecutor. This principle was completely undermined in the Selebi case. Completely. The new regime needs to demonstrate that they've committed to an independent prosecuting authority. We furthermore need to protect our policemen, magistrates, judges from verbal and, now, physical attacks.

And I've got a word for some of the people who want it both ways. One cannot demand protection under the law if you're not prepared to live within it. It's noticeable that some people wish protection but they themselves do not consider themselves living within it.

The new leadership seems to be genuinely concerned in stamping out violent crime. They will be judged by results and what additional resources are directed to policing and how effectively they're utilised. All the evidence from every other country is that crime can be rolled back on the basis of a more active and visible police patrolling and not by any other means.

When I lived in New York you couldn't see a policeman in the 70's. Today when you go around there's a policeman on every corner. They say that's why their crime's down. I actually think it's because it's too expensive for any criminals to live on Manhattan.

That too still requires there be an effective investigative authority not interfered with by politicians. I personally would advocate the system used in some states in the USA, any crime committed with a weapon carries a mandatory ten year prison sentence, twenty years if the victim is injured, life if the victim is killed. No judge can give clemency. Three felonies and it's life. We have to remove these criminals out of our society.

Also, in our violent society it does not help when members of the executive committee of the ANC say "we shall kill". And others keep on singing "mshiniwami". Who exactly do they want to shoot with these machine guns?

Transformation is happening rapidly in sport as witnessed in the national cricket and rugby teams. Sport should be a unifying factor and will continue to be so if, and only if, the sport administrators avoid acting in politically motivated ways and coaches are chosen according to their ability. Now politicians have always messed up sport. Firstly it stopped non-racial sport.

No Basil D'Oliveira, no Maoris. Then, I mean can you believe it, they called the Japanese ‘honorary whites' because of trade and because of a Japanese jockey. I mean, I hate to think what my Japanese friends would think of that!

Now, it's ironical that South African Chinese are being called ‘honorary blacks' in order to be classified as previously disadvantaged. We really are very crazy. This is Saturday Night Live stuff.

Politicians and disgruntled individuals seem to want to ignore the woeful performance of our athletes in Beijing and the slide in Bafana Bafana's performance. We're now rated 85 in the world. This is behind true soccer power houses such as Canada, Burkino Faso, Bahrain and Qatar. What do they want to do? They want to wreck the only sport in which we're world champions! Sport should unite, it should not divide.

The worst feature of the Mbeki regime was probably the paranoid reaction to any form of criticism. Even from people like President Mandela, Bishop Tutu and Helen Suzman, who can scarcely be regarded as enemies of the state, or of not wanting South Africa to succeed. Like their predecessors, the nationalists, the ANC seems to mix the concept of a political party, the government and the state. When some of us spoke out against apartheid we were called "kaffir boeties" (especially, by the way, here in the far North), "Communists" and were described as "enemies of the State".

I was personally threatened by a minister and told that politics is a "cut throat business" and "I mean that literally".

I was so stupid I didn't think we had hit squads. Gavin Relly was present and he told me to take it seriously because he did believe that there were hit squads. The PW Botha government then shut all of Rembrandt's import permits for essential items such as filter tow and cellophane for ten months to teach us a lesson.

Now their successors, the ANC, have become as hypersensitive.

Folks, we live in a democracy, we're guaranteed freedom of speech. If some of us disagree with some policies, it's our right to do so. I believe it's even an obligation to do so. Who speaks for the children? If we don't address some of these issues, they (the children) are not going to believe that everything was (a disaster) because of colonialism or because of apartheid.

A major test for the new regime will therefore be whether it's prepared to listen to other points of view and accept some criticism as intended to be constructive.

We live in one of the most violent societies. We're truly at war with ourselves. I often wonder why our society is so sick. Did it start with white generals telling policemen that it was fine to murder dissidents, or did it start with struggle leaders telling the youth to disobey their parents, teachers, police and all forms of authority? Did it start with the "necklacing"? I really don't know.

We have so many problems I don't want to carry on. Poverty and malnutrition... etc

If the Treasury Reserve, Revenue Service and the Reserve Bank had not been managed so well, I actually think we would have been another failed state. And a note of caution to the politicians, it's not only the position of the Minister of Finance or Governor that's important to the markets. The integrity and reputation of these individuals matter more. Tamper with that trust at your, your country's and your grandchildren's future, at your peril.

Treasury, I hear, is blamed for withholding disbursements, leading to "lack of delivery". Now this is like a farmer who has a few sons. Two of his sons diligently work to repair the dam wall, saving as much water as possible. Having finally fixed the dam that they inherited they're able to expand it to such an extent that they have enough water for all the lands.

Their brothers, however, the other sons, are lazy and generally incompetent. They're the folks who are supposed to make sure that the irrigation pipes are laid to the fields and the drinking points. They appoint incompetent and even corrupt workers. Not only do they allow these pipes to fall into disrepair but they arrange for a few pipes to go to the neighbour's farms so that they can make a bit of money on the side. They fully intend to siphon off some profits for themselves without their father's knowledge.

The father then arrives and sees that the lands are bone dry. Now who does he blame? Not the lack of delivery system! He blames the poor guys who built the dam without checking why they were so unwilling to release the water onto the lands.

You cannot blame Treasury and SARS for the lack of delivery. I wouldn't allow any of the funds to go, knowing the levels of incompetence and corruption that exist n so many of these departments. Fix the pipes, fix the delivery system!

We all share, all of us, regardless of colour and beliefs, the dream of a country where we can live safely, be well educated, have houses, jobs, water and electricity and access to proper health services. Only this will give us and our children hope. How can we solve these problems? After everything I had to say you probably think that I am a total afro-pessimist.

I used to tell the story about the little girl who went to university and she wrote to her father - but I have to change the names with the audience. She went to university and she wrote a letter to her dad, saying: "Dad, the fire in the dormitory was not that bad. Luckily my boyfriend escaped before the police could catch him. The fact that I was burnt badly and will probably lose the use of my left arm, luckily my boyfriend and our unborn child was unhurt. Your loving daughter, Amy." And then she writes "P.S. Dad, I don't have a boyfriend, there was no fire in the dormitory, I'm not pregnant, I just wanted to point out to you that there's things worse than me failing economics 1!"

There are always worse things. I called Paul Harris the other day and I said imagine being an Icelandic banker. Now you laugh, you don't know what I'm going to say. Iceland, unbeknown to me, did not have the KYC, the "knowyour-client" or FICA legislation. So guess who put all their money there? Not people who wanted to be traced, and a lot of them, should I say, are from rather rough backgrounds. These folks have just lost all their money.

They are now in the know-your-banker phase, are looking for the custodians of their wealth. So there are always things that are worse.

I believe if we work together we can solve these problems. There are decidedly new things on the horizon in Africa. Change started happening in the mid-90's. Many African economies actually appear to have turned the corner and moved into a far steadier and faster growth. Our performance between 95 and 2005 reversed the disaster of ‘75 to ‘85 and the stagnation of ‘85 to ‘95. For the first time in 30 years we're growing in line with the rest of the world. The average growth for sub-Saharan Africa was about 5.4% in 2005 and 2006.

Some of this was due to luck, but a lot of this positive outcome was due to the adoption of some of the ways of winning nations. For us to succeed we really have to study and adopt these ways. Rule of law, and by that, exactly that. Freedom of speech, protection of private property, honesty and transparency in government actions.

Is this too much to ask for when the future of the children depend upon our generation? I think not.

We need to stamp out crime. We need open and fearless debates about the issues at hand without risking or being sneered at as being racist or counterrevolutionaries.

Tonight I've kept my word to Mamphela Ramphele who made a speech in Cape Town and said that whites should start speaking out a little bit without having the fear of being branded racists. We can easily reach consensus on our goals. The methods and the priorities will need more debating.

No poverty alleviation, provision of adequate housing, etc., can ever be achieved without a healthy, growing, private sector.

Folks, without growth, it's not going to happen, it's never happened anywhere else on earth. Governments do not, and should not, create jobs. Trade Unions protect existing jobs and when too powerful and rigid, actually destroy jobs. It's the private sector that has to create the wealth and tax base that will create jobs and prosperity.

I've tried to spell out the plight of the children what got us there; using the historical habits of winning nations', tried to highlight where we've gone wrong. I sincerely believe there is enough goodwill and talent in this wonderful country to solve these problems. We've been fortunate in having three good presidents in a row President de Klerk, President Mandela and President Mbeki. I feel particularly sad for the latter, whom I like and respect.

It was, however, becoming very clear that he was not well served by those close to him. He was never told the unpalatable truth and sadly lost touch with his constituents. As Patrice (Motsepe) and Laurie (Dippenaar) will agree, even "Big Business with Government" meetings were orchestrated "powerpoint exchanges". It was not frank dialogue. And whenever any of us wanted to speak out our fellow businessmen or should I say, lobbyists, made sure that we were kept quiet. So even the business leaders were very reluctant to criticise, preferring the lobbying route.

To President Motlanthe, Mr Zuma, Mr Vavi and even Mr Malema - we all have similar goals, we want to eradicate injustice, poverty, crime and hunger whilst improving health and education services. And, by the way, we are going to have to do it on our own because the rest of the world's got its own problems. And the Chinese are not interested in hearing about "the struggle", they've had their own struggles. Read "Wild Swans", read "Mao".

The ANC does not have sufficient resources to run this country exclusively. Look at the sub-prime quality of many politicians, local councillors and executives at either government or semi-state institutions. Let us rather join hands and create the society that we all dream about. The alternative, folks, is far too ghastly to contemplate.

If you shoot the Cape Mountain zebra, black, white and brown will all die. My first forefather came to this beautiful country in 1662. We're not planning to go anywhere. We're thus in the same boat, and, if somebody shoots a hole in the boat, especially with a machine gun, we will all drown.

In his inaugural address on the 10th of May 1994, Madiba said "To my compatriots, I have no hesitation in saying that each of us is as intermittently attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the Bushveld. Each time one of us touches the soil of this land we feel a sense of personal renewal. The National mood changes as the season change. We're moved by a sense of joy and acceleration when the grass turns green and the flowers bloom. We have at last achieved our political emancipation.
We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.
Let there be justice for all.
Let there be peace for all.
Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all".

To which I'd like to add, let us work together and achieve a better future for the children. We must really act today to secure a better future for tomorrow.

Thank you