The “End blame game” 3rd November is useful to the race debate. Yes, we can blame colonialism, Apartheid and racism for all that goes wrong, however -the blame game has and will lead nowhere.
Since we require solutions, political and social leaders must think deeply about the blame game and the issues that we ignore because it is awkward. For progress I will focus only on economic growth.
A relative who is an elderly carpenter is kept busy building kitchen units for the rising black middle class in Langa and Gugulethu etc. Enquiring, on why he was so popular, he clarified that customers valued attention to detail, quality work, reliability, honesty and his ability to stick to time frames. He was in demand because township carpenters lacked the proficiency that township customer required.
Likewise, township and city folk support foreign traders because they sell a quality product at a reasonable price -are well sited and have an interactive and an agreeable attitude.
My mechanic contacts enjoy working for township folk as they pay cash and show gratitude for quality work. The gratitude is a result of being deceived to often with shoddy work by township mechanics.
The point is, when township mechanics, carpenters, traders and businesses or professionals like accountants, doctors etc deliver a quality product or service at a sensible price, business will improve.
Irrespective of race or background most people want quality products and service at affordable prices. Thus when a shop assistant is inept, customer are not concerned with the ethnicity or history of the person but rather with lack of service as no-one enjoys wasting energy in a queue or with ineptitude.
Is it possibly that the ineptitude amongst black business and professionals compels black customers into the economic sphere of other service providers thus fortifying the economic gaps as it exists.
How else can we explain why blacks with medical aid snub black professionals? Is it the unsuitable locations, the quality of the service or concern about black expertise? How do black doctors build fiscal reserves and private clinics which are black owned if their own people consult elsewhere?
Yes, we can blame colonialism, Apartheid and racism that ruined prospects for millions over centuries, but what then? What does transformation denote and how does this effect service delivery?
Do we replace one ethnicity of official with another which ensued when colonialism ended and Apartheid began? Does the new official serve the needs of the poor better than the former or will we emulate what ensued under Apartheid and restore bloated “sheltered employment” with nepotism?
The question is how we move beyond history or do we allow history to define what our future holds.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress