What are the positive challenges that Covid-19 has laid bare, which deal with how well we as a nation can be? Perhaps it is these early-stage realisations that are the most positive, and that will lead to constructive behaviour change for individuals and companies.
As an economy:
- South Africa needs to make the things that we consume, and we need to buy our own stuff from ourselves.
- We need to be more self-reliant. Being self-reliant is not the same as being isolationist.
- We need to build real productive capacity to be able to respond to crises.
- We need to make work for our own people, in factories that produce what we need – in good and bad times.
- Political leaders need to be held accountable when the cash reserves of the State are robbed blind: We cannot start another future crisis with a bad hand of cards.
As a society:
- We need to be more law-abiding as a group of people. The rule of law has to be respected on a daily basis, so that we can appeal to the ‘common good’ when it is necessary.
- The law has to work for everyone.
- Government has to prove that it deserves respect – respect is like a currency with a trading value.
- We need a new citizenship project in which we are all active players. No more free-loaders, no more delinquent citizens. Active participation on the part of all.
- We need to design with the highest common multiple, not with the lowest common factor.
- We need a different form of capitalism, where best value trumps lowest price. Our obsession with lowest price makes us unwell.
- Pro-poor development outcomes – not ‘policies’ – need to be our priority.
- We need to enable people to make a decent living and to live in decent environments.
- We have to realise that we are part of a community, and that we all rely on each other.
- We have an individual role to play as citizens, first of all, to design the society we want through our own actions. Design by doing.
What will this crisis deliver?
- It will show up system failures in service delivery for what they are: Life-threatening.
- It will make us reassess every part of our businesses as a company community.
- It will deliver strong and mobilised communities that will not take empty promises any longer.
- It can cause a deep change in the working relationship between Government and Business, based on trust and mutual interdependency.
- The decades-long disdain and mistrust between Business and Government could be swept away by working together to tackle this crisis.
- It can lay the basis for a new social compact around the Ruling Party’s central mantra: ‘A BETTER LIFE FOR ALL’.