Monthly Archives: May 2014

Immigrants: Good or bad for an economy?

I was going to post something on immigration in the future, but seeing as Malusi Gigaba brought the topic into discussion, I decided to throw in my two cents. This is one of those interesting times when I actually agree with someone from the ANC. Our Home Affairs Minister has come against the South African status quo, and said that we should not be fearing immigrants. I agree with him, within certain limits.

Now what does the average South African think about immigrants? I guess it’s no secret that South Africa is a Xenophobia hotspot. We are also a riot hotspot… and what happens every single riot? At some stage in the riot, the locals start looting foreign shops and burn down foreigner’s houses. But one must ask why? Why do they apparently hate immigrants so? When asked about it, they always state that the foreigners “steal our jobs”. (Very ironic, because if you run your own shop, your not stealing any jobs, but rather create jobs for others.)

Now let’s go one step further. If you go to your typical employer – someone in the middle class who employs a domestic worker or gardener – and you ask them who are the best people to employ, then they will almost always name some people group from another country: Zimbabweans, Malawians etc. And the reason is very simple, in general, immigrants work harder and better, are more trustworthy and complain less. For obvious reasons, they can’t mess up in this country, because then they can get deported, or jailed in a foreign country. Also, they already left their country in order to grind out a better living for themselves, so their very mindset is more focused on hard work, and that is what transpires.

Now please note that I am not limiting this to South Africa. I believe it can be seen across the globe. In the USA it were always immigrants who fueled their economy. Firstly Irish, then Italians, Jews and later Asians and it just goes on. There is something that I like to call “First generation immigrants”. These are people who gave up their life and country so that their children would have a better future. Their whole lives are focused on working hard and earning a good income. Their children usually have a lot of that as well, but less, and then from the third generation they are just plain locals. So those first generation immigrants are the best thing an economy can have. They will keep your workers on their toes, they will work hard and complain less.

But are there dangers in getting a lot of immigrants into your country? Yes of course, if you do not monitor and control it well. We saw this happen in liberal Great Britain and Europe. They allowed everyone in, for any reason. And the result was that a lot of uneducated lazy people flocked to Europe, only to become a drag on the economy.

So how should you control immigration? I would firstly suggest that you tighten your regulations to only let people in who are more educated than your average locals. Now of course in South Africa that is very easy, as our literacy rates are among the worst in the world. Secondly have a criteria list to see whether they will be able to offer a positive contribution to our economy. If they will, then by all means, support that. If they will be brilliant entrepreneurs, let them open shops and stimulate the economy. Let them do what they do best, and the whole economy will benefit from it. But watch out to make sure that their children also get educated and trained in profession, so that the second generation won’t have to much of a back-lash.

In Conclution: I believe that well controlled immigration is a key to the growth of any country. You should always ensure that you have a healthy amount of “first generation immigrants”, for who knows what they will accomplish before they work their way to citizenship.

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2014 election results: Moslty bad, some good – what can we learn from it?

Ok, so here are the 2014 general election results (Source: news24.com):

2014 South African general election results

And here are the results again, also showing changes from the 2009 general election (source: wikipedia.org):

2009-2014 South African election change

And now for the good, the bad, and the ugly:

The good:

  1. There are only three parties that increased their voter-share from 2009. The DA, the UDM and the FF+. So the FF+ is one of the only three established growing parties in South Africa. Well done for them. We saw a slight change in voter sentiment towards the FF+ in opinion polling before the election, and I mentioned that it will be great if they can somehow keep the momentum going. It seems they have. Not only have they increased their share of the vote since 2009, they almost doubled in their vote-share from the 2011 municipal elections. So on the books, they will have to be considered the conservative’s strong suit in South Africa at the moment.
  2. Even though the ACDP lost a considerable (proportionate) part of their voter share, they still managed to retain their three seats in parliament. So on the books, the loss will not be felt. But if they don’t tidy this up soon, they might end up fading from existence come next election.
  3. The ANC has lost 3.75% of its support since 2009, and did not make the dreaded two thirds majority required to change the constitution. Any loss for the ANC can be considered good for South Africa at this stage.

The bad:

  1. The combined conservative vote has decreased a lot. From very small to minute. The IFP lost half it’s support, the UCDP has disappeared and lost their seat in parliament, and the ACDP is shrinking. The conservatives lost a combined 10 seats in parliament (roughly 2.5%).
  2. The EFF has exceeded all expectations, and are sitting comfortably on 6.35%. They have more than a million votes and 25 seats. This extremist far-left party can only be bad for South Africa. They are going to be a thorn in the flesh in parliament, and unfortunately, might spur the other lefties in parliament on to become more extreme.

The ugly:

  1. Compared to 2009, the ANC has shrunk, and the DA has grown. But if you compare it to the 2011 municipal elections, you will see that not much has changed. The ANC has stopped shrinking for the most part. Even though more than 50% of South Africans don’t trust our president (according to opinion polling), still more than 60% vote for the ANC. This just shows that democracy is failing in South Africa. The opinion polling last year led us to believe that finally after 20 years, the people were ready to move on, but unfortunately it seems like that time has not yet come. We have 5 more years to go until our next reality check. Let’s hope for the best.
  2. Everyone thought that the EFF will steal a chunk of the ANC vote, but it seems like they are actually stealing the opposition vote, so this does not help South Africa at all. At this stage we should hope that the EFF goes the way of COPE, even though they had 7% of the vote in 2009, internal politics ripped the party apart, and now they have less than 1%. Will the EFF follow suit?

Some thoughts:

To all the conservative parties still alive I would ask this:

Is now not the time for a merger?

We lost one of the conservative parties in this election, who will follow next? I still hold to the idea that the conservatives will be stronger together than alone. All the conservative parties are shrinking, or barely growing. We have well known, respected leaders in the parties, that people look up to. If they were to combine forces, and stand together, will they not be seen as a more credible opponent? If we have Kenneth Meshoe, Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Pieter Mulder on the same poster, will that not spurt voter confidence? If we can move away from the “Christian party”, the “Zulu party” and the “Afrikaner party”, and have just the Conservative party? Honestly I don’t know the answer to that question, and would like to hear some of your thoughts on it?

Other than that, I would say this to all party members of the above-mentioned:

Put away your champagne glasses (or tissues). 2014 elections have passed, and 2016 municipal elections have began. Start working for your votes today! At this stage in our history, resting is a convenience that the conservative voice does not have.

I dare not fall into despair at this stage, in spite of the results. The conservatives are squashed, but we’re still here. The voters are still here, still looking for someone to convince them that the conservative parties deserve their votes. So come on IFP, FF+ and ACDP, make it happen.

 

 

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