I watched the brilliant red orb of the sun set in the distance from my
22nd floor hotel room in Johannesburg, South Africa. The next morning
the sun rose but was obscured by light air pollution.
Which of these sights best represents the future of South Africa?
The sunset argument centers around an incompetent government beset by
internal strife, corruption, and bad policies. The ruling ANC party has
fallen greatly from the glory years after the ending of apartheid.
The truly great moral authority of Nelson Mandela controlled tribal
rivalries and allowed all sectors of society to grow and receive many of
the fruits of the hard won freedom. His moral authority stopped the
vicious authoritarianism that has ruined Zimbabwe. He is perhaps the
greatest moral authority of any leader in the post WWII era.
But stepping down from power has allowed the sectarianism that underlies
much of South Africa to burgeon again.
Politics in SA is both about policy and tribal rivalry.
One of the key problems in SA is that there is a strong strain of
Communism in running the country. One of the three most powerful forces
in the country is Cosuto which is an avowed communist organization.
Their influence stabs the forces of progress and freedom in the back on
a daily basis.
The sunrise argument has some strong support as well.
One main argument centers around the unbelievable natural resources of
the country. We all hear about precious metals mining but the country
has many other resource such as natural gas and oil that could be
released through fracking and an abundant agricutural sector.
I heard Robert Kiyosaki speak at the National Achievers Congress in
Johannesburg where I was also a speaker. He half jokingly said that SA
was the richest country in the world. Why else did the white man come
down and steal all the natural resources? (Unfortunately, he doesn’t
realize that the whites were in SA first, not the current tribes of blacks!)
There is also a tremendous well of human capital waiting to be unlocked.
Good government policies would help further this development.
Unfortunately there is little going on here.
Finally, the monetary policies of the central bank have been pretty
good, better than most other countries. That has produced the best
monetary background of any African country.
In sum, the country can go either way. As long as it does not break down
into sectarian or tribal violence, I think that SA will continue to be
the best country in Africa.
While I was in SA, I met with two true South African insiders. One was
in business and the other a powerful, well connected finance executive.
Unfortunately, this description doesn’t really give the extent of his
power. I spoke to a local South African and he said that there are 4000
people in a queue waiting to see him and I jumped to the head of the queue.
They were working on projects to unleash the human capital and improve
education. I have high faith in these gentlemen to succeed. This will
have an important impact on the future of SA.
I was told about a woman who was a high level consultant. She decided to
move to SA when she could have gone anywhere. She was asked why she
chose SA. She said that it was a country where she could actually see
real progress caused by her consulting whereas the same consultation
would be a drop in the water if done in developed countries.
I was also struck with the incredible opportunities available for people
to make money in SA. There is a rising middle class and a very good
I personally plan to set up a company in the next couple of months to
take advantage of many of these opportunities.
I have spoken highly of the opportunities in Indonesia in the past. The
opportunities are probably less than in Indonesia but still very high.
This would be a great place for a young person to really make their
mark. It is also a great place to invest for a more mature person who
has some skills to really maximize the value of those skills. It is far
possible to dominate an industry in SA than in the developed world.