Monday, January 5, 2009



Sunday Times
Johannesburg, SA
By The Editor, The Times Newspaper
Jan 05, 2009

The key question is whether we can hold the line on economic policy
THE year 2009 will be the year that the chickens of the global economic meltdown come home to roost. And, just as the full force of the crisis begins to hit South Africa, we will be holding a defining national election amid unprecedented political upheaval.

We will be severely tested this year.

The key question is whether we can hold the line on economic policy as the demand for our resources continues to decline and domestic spending continues to contract.
The temptation to divert resources from stimulating growth to unsustainable, state-led interventions will grow as the ANC’s left allies press the government to intervene with a heavier hand.

A general election in the context of a slowing economy and rising joblessness will further pressure the ANC’s populist leadership into moving in a statist direction.
It will be a defining election because the ANC is being challenged on its home turf by Mosiuoa Lekota’s splinter party, Cope. If the election is not marred by violence, South Africa will have earned its democratic stripes.

Though we will have to endure hard times, our gaze will be lifted to the 2010 soccer World Cup. We should not underestimate the effect this spectacle will have on our nation’s fortunes, lifting our mood and focusing world attention on our country’s infrastructure.

All the signs are that we will get it right and live up to our promise to host the best World Cup ever. The 2010 benefits of global goodwill, infrastructure investment and a positive mindset will help carry us through the difficult years ahead.

Our cricketers have shown the way: we must follow their example and stare down adversity and show a determination to become a winning nation.

This is the time for true grit.