I believe the President when he says he wants to fix South Africa; I do not doubt his sincerity.
The challenges that the President faces in order to execute what he deems necessary to achieve, cannot be underestimated. Within the context of the broken South Africa which he has inherited, his task is beyond natural capability. He will not achieve his objectives overnight. Both he, and the nation, will have to be patient. South Africa will take longer to remedy than it took to destroy. That will indeed be the case, especially when those who benefit through its failure will do everything in their power to derail the President’s efforts - and of course the efforts of those who hold up his hands.
It goes without saying that the task to turn South Africa around, is not only the task of the President, the political leadership and government officials who support his vision; it is the task of each and every South African. No matter who you voted for on 8 May 2019, you have an obligation to make South Africa successful.
All South Africans have the constitutional right (perhaps even the constitutional obligation) to vote according to their conscience, or even perhaps according to their emotions. However, no South African has the right to sabotage South Africa through what we do, or fail to do, or what we say.
We easily underestimate the devastating effect that our destructive words - which radically differs from constructive criticism - not only have on others, but on ourselves. It poisons and paralyses, not only ourselves, but also all those around us. ‘Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit’. This is an indisputable universal truth. Negativity never pays. NEVER!
Our words have the power to build, to motivate, to inspire, to encourage to persist, even against all odds, or it can discourage, paralyse and eventually destroy. What benefit does the barrage of blatant, or even subtle, negativity contribute to finding solutions, recovery and eventual prosperity?
With reference to that particular context, Esther 4:14 says: ‘And who knows if perhaps you have come to your royal position for a time such as this?’ It may just be the case that President Ramaphosa has been called for this duty at this particular moment in our history. It is not for me to say, but I am inspired to support him - and to give it my best to make South Africa work.
This opinion piece is by Gerhard Papenfus, Chief Executive of the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA). He writes this in his personal capacity.