South Africa, it is time to turn potential into achievement!


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Can this African nation that won the admiration of the world for its peaceful transition to democracy after generations of white supremacy rule conquer the bitter divisions of its past to turn itself into the biggest mover and shaker of the African continent? Or will it become even more admired in foul governance, racial tension, poverty, corruption, violence and decay to turn into yet “another” African state? South Africa is a land of contrasts! It has immense mineral wealth, with 90% of the world’s known platinum reserves, 80% of its manganese, 70% of its chrome and 40% of its gold, as well as rich coal deposits; yet 43% of its population live on less than €3 a day. It has sky-high unemployment yet at the same time suffers from crippling, basic skills shortages. It was the first country to perform a heart transplant, yet its people’s health record is among the world’s worst. And, leaving aside war zones, it is one of the most violent and crime-ridden countries on the planet. Ignoring South Africa (and Africa) today is like failing to invest in emerging markets in the 1990s, in south-east Asia in the 1970s and 1980s or in Japan in the 1950s!


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slide 1: South Africa it is time to turn potential into achievement May 2010 Pytheas Market Focus By Harris A. Samaras

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Copyright © 2010 Pytheas Limited 22 May 2010 2 Can this African nation that won the admiration of the world for its peaceful transition to democracy after generations of white supremacy rule conquer the bitter divisions of its past to turn itself into the biggest mover and shaker of the African continent Or will it become even more admired in foul governance racial tension poverty corruption violence and decay to turn into yet “another” African state South Africa a country synonymous to oxymoron and antithesis South Africa is a land of contrasts It has immense mineral wealth with 90 of the world’s known platinum reserves 80 of its manganese 70 of its chrome and 40 of its gold as well as rich coal deposits yet 43 of its population live on less than €3 a day. It has sky-high unemployment yet at the same time suffers from crippling basic skills shortages. It was the first country to perform a heart transplant yet its people’s health record is among the world’s worst. And leaving aside war zones it is one of the most violent and crime-ridden countries on the planet. Although with a reasonably modern and well developed transport infrastructure a road system that is extensive and in relatively good condition air and rail networks that are the largest on the continent and seaports that provide a natural stopover for shipping to and from Europe the Americas Asia Australasia and both coasts of Africa the vast majority of black South Africans does not own a car or dream of owning a car. In reality South Africa is no more than a middle-income country with a GDP per capita of around US10000. On a per-head basis it is the seventh richest country in Africa by some measures but this average hides huge disparities. Although most white South Africans have done rather better than most of their black compatriots since apartheid ended enjoying a better life helped by cheap domestic help and first-class private medical and schools many now complain about falling standards. Most blacks still live in shacks without proper sanitation in poor crime-ridden townships outside the main cities. Their schools and hospitals are often in dismal state. Although it has the world’s 24 th biggest economy South Africa ranks a dismal 129th out of 182 on the UN’s Human Development Index. When the African National Congress ANC took over in 1994 it inherited an economy that was virtually bankrupt following international sanctions and violent protests. Since then exports have doubled in real terms to reach 91 billion in 2008 accounting for 33 of GDP output per person has risen by more than a quarter having fallen throughout the previous two decades public debt has halved to 23 of GDP in 2008 inflation in double digits throughout the 1980s has shrunk to 5.1 well within the government’s target range of 3- 6 and interest rates charged on bank loans are at their lowest level in nearly three decades. The economy as a whole which had been growing by less than 1 a year in the decade up to 1994 expanded by nearly 5 a year in the five years to 2008. Not a bad record but modest compared with growth rates in other emerging markets which started from a much lower base. Last year South Africa’s economy slipped into recession for the first time in 17 years shrinking by 1.8. Although most forecasters are predicting growth this year that is still not nearly enough to create jobs on the scale needed to absorb the legions of the unemployed.

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Copyright © 2010 Pytheas Limited 22 May 2010 3 Officially South Africa has an unemployment rate of 25 the highest in the world. At its peak in March 2003 it reached 31. Last year a net 870000 jobs were lost. The racial divide is again stark: 30 of blacks are officially unemployed compared with just 6 of whites. Fully half of those aged 15-24 are without jobs. If those too discouraged to look for work are included the adult unemployment rate jumps to 35—more than one worker in three. The Bureau for Market Research thinks the true figure could be as high as 40. And South Africa does not have a thriving informal economy where the jobless can take refuge. Many of the unskilled used to work in mining and agriculture but both these sectors have been shedding jobs. Mining now accounts for a mere 2.3 of employment and 3 of GDP down from around 14 in the 1980s. Having been the world’s biggest gold producer for more than a century South Africa has fallen behind China Australia and America. Some of its mines are nearing the end of their productive lives. But gold continues to be an important contributor to the economy earning 49 billion rand in foreign exchange last year. That makes it the country’s second-biggest export after platinum where South Africa is the global leader. It is also the world’s largest producer of manganese chrome and vanadium as well as the fourth for diamonds and fifth for coal. The world’s biggest diamond company De Beers is South African and two of the world’s biggest mining companies BHP Billiton and Anglo American originated in South Africa. Agriculture makes up 5.1 of formal jobs and a mere 2.2 of GDP. Manufacturing is relatively small providing just 13.3 of jobs and 15 of GDP. Labor costs are low but not nearly as low as in most other emerging markets and the cost of transport communications and general living is much higher. Services are much the biggest part of the economy accounting for around two- thirds of GDP. The government is keen to promote tourism another potential source of unskilled jobs. The number of foreigners visiting the country has leapt from 3.7mn in 1994 to nearly 10mn last year. Two decades ago South African companies were largely restricted to their national base but as trade and exchange controls were eased after 1990 they began to compete internationally. Today the country has a cluster of world-class companies such as SABMiller a brewer Illovo Sugar a low-cost sugar producer Alexander Forbes a risk and benefit consultant Nampak Africa’s biggest packaging manufacturer Sasol a petrochemical company MTN a mobile-phone operator Rembrandt a tobacco and industrial holdings group and Investec a financial-services firm. But in the economy as in so much else South Africa is a country of extremes. The World Economic Forum’s latest Global Competitiveness Report ranks it among the top ten of 133 countries for the sophistication of its financial markets investor protection the strength of its auditing and reporting standards the efficacy of its corporate boards the soundness of its banks and the regulation of its securities and exchanges. But it is among the bottom ten for the rigidity of its labor market its mathematics and science education the cost to business of The Cape Flats Cape Town Cape Town business district a view

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Copyright © 2010 Pytheas Limited 22 May 2010 4 crime and the availability of engineers and scientists. Overall it comes a middling 45th for global competitiveness but attracts relatively low foreign direct investment. There are many reasons why the region’s leading economy so rich in mineral resources is failing to keep up with other emerging markets such as India or China. First South Africa is a relatively small country without the advantage of a huge domestic customer base. Although the African continent contains a billion potential consumers they are locked away in sovereign states with myriad different currencies regulations and policies along with poor infrastructure and transport systems. Distances are vast making trade more difficult. Second South Africa has for decades had an unusually low rate of saving and investment partly because of political uncertainties. Third it has long had an inadequate education system resulting in an acute shortage of skilled manpower. Fourth it has a strong and volatile currency which deters investors and makes its exports less competitive. Fifth its infrastructure though far better than in the rest of Africa suffers from severe bottlenecks including power shortages and urgently needs upgrading. When the ANC first took over Eskom the state-owned power utility had excess capacity of 20. Now because of underinvestment mismanagement and rapidly expanding demand it is seriously short of generating capacity. For the past three years South Africans have struggled with repeated power cuts and rolling blackouts. In January 2008 the entire grid came close to collapse forcing mines and other businesses to shut down. Last year’s recession helped to ease the pressure but shortages are likely to continue at least until 2013-14 when two new clean-coal power plants are due to come on stream. Eskom is now pushing ahead with a massive 385 billion rand expansion program. To help finance it it has been granted permission to raise tariffs by an annual 25 this year next year and in 2012 having already almost doubled them over the previous five years. In April the World Bank agreed to lend it 3.75 billion the bank’s first loan to South Africa since 1994. But Eskom is still seeking finance of nearly 200 billion rand over the next seven years. More than ever before South Africa’s fortunes depend on what happens in the rest of the world particularly in India and China. Last year China overtook America Japan Germany and Britain to become South Africa’s biggest trading partner with bilateral trade reaching about 120 billion rand over ten times what it was in 1998 when formal diplomatic relations were established. Chinese investments in South Africa totaled 7 billion over the period. South Africa hopes that China and others will see it as the gateway to around 170mn consumers in the Southern Africa Development Community SADC a 15-country regional group. KwaMhlanga Pretoria Pretoria a city view

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Copyright © 2010 Pytheas Limited 22 May 2010 5 As South Africa emerges from the recession business confidence has reached a three-year high. But government debt has started rising sharply again and is expected to reach 40 of GDP by 2013 nearly double its level in 2008 as the government keeps spending on education welfare service delivery and cutting crime. Land reform is another high-minded black-empowerment project that has gone awry. Under the 1913 Land Act blacks were not allowed to own or even rent land outside special black reserves. By 1994 some 87 of agricultural land was in white hands. The new black majority promptly announced plans to redistribute 30 of white-owned land to poor blacks within five years. This was to be acquired by the state on a “willing seller willing buyer” basis at a “fair” market price. So far barely 6 has been handed over and the government has already run out of money. Many of the new owners have neither the skills nor the funds to run big farms so fertile land often lies fallow. Additionally the great majority of black South Africans do not want to become farmers. According to a survey by the Centre for Development and Enterprise in 2006 only 9 of black non-farmers have clear aspirations to farm. Only 2 identified rural land as a priority. And although less than 6 of agricultural land has been transferred to black South Africans in terms of government schemes more than 25 million hectares are either owned by the government or are in the former homelands. Private non-recorded land sales might have transferred as much as 7 of agricultural land to black owners. By the end of 2009 29 of redistributed farms had failed and 22 experienced declining productivity. One of the main causes of the failures was the inability of the government to provide the necessary support and assistance. South Africa urgently needs successful and sustainable land reform it could otherwise head for a situation that it could be no much different than that of its Zimbabwe neighbor. Media horror stories about dirty and overcrowded hospitals long waiting times lack of medicine and a shortage of medical staff transform many South African hospitals into death traps although the government is injecting over 100 billion rand into the system this year which amounts to 12 of its budget and 3.7 of GDP. The main problem is once again an acute shortage of qualified staff. Many thousands of public-sector doctors nurses and other medical practitioners have left the country fed up with the poor pay and appalling conditions. Others have gone into the rapidly expanding private sector. Studies in 2007 found that one-third of public medical posts were unfilled. In some hospitals the vacancy rate for nurses is as high as 60. The public sector now has just one doctor for every 4570 inhabitants against one for every 600 in private medicine. For specialists the disparity is even greater. Red tape and lumbering bureaucracies are visible at all governmental levels undercutting productivity encouraging commerce outside the formal sector and fuelling corruption. Purposeless foreign exchange controls are annoying to the extent of harassment… The judicial system is slow and race laws and unclear Soweto township Johannesburg A view of Sandton Johannesburg

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Copyright © 2010 Pytheas Limited 22 May 2010 6 regulations hinder investment. Lack of awareness of what is called the ―costs of compliance‖’ – costs incurred in meeting regulatory requirements are immense. Import and export restrictions services market barriers import and export permit requirements burdensome technical standards non-transparent government procurement procedures weak enforcement of intellectual property rights inconsistent customs administration and corruption add to the cost of trade. According to the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom the overall freedom to start operate and close a business is relatively well protected under South Africa’s regulatory environment starting a business takes 22 days compared to the world average of 35 days. But is this good enough Is this issue and all of the above discussed real incentives attractive incentives for a potential investor Shouldn’t the governmental machine be designed and operated in such a way to make the life of the foreign and local investors easy How can the top income tax rate of 40 and the top corporate tax rate of 28 ever be attractive to a foreign investor Additionally non-transparent regulations rigid labor laws and crime are disincentives for investors. Moreover establishing foreign exchange accounts most purchases of foreign exchange payments capital transactions and transfers are subject to unnecessary restrictions controls and prior approval… For South Africa to prosper political will economic capacity democratic stability and institutional capacity need to be present. A fundamental revolution in leadership’s mentality is required. This would ensure that South Africans experience good governance respect for human rights development that is equitable and sustainable. The most important quality that South African leadership needs to embrace and that is desperately lacking not only in South Africa but across the continent is a sense of service to the people in whose name leaders govern. But this revolution cannot be confined only to the ruling elites. Even the poorest and least empowered of South African citizens need to rid themselves of a culture that tolerates systemic corruption inefficiency and mismanagement of state affairs. Such a system also privileges one ethnic or socio- economic group over another If only South African leaders invest more in education and the creation of sustainable employment options and inclusive economies and if they are more concerned with the welfare of their people and not only their own direct or indirect enrichment… It is also important to note that a prosperous South Africa would set a good example of a country that has managed to reconcile and overcome ethnic divisions whereas a South Africa that fails in this effort would send alarming signals throughout the continent. South Africa’s potential is vast Opportunities are great And South Africa is not poor Ignoring South Africa and Africa today is like failing to invest in emerging markets in the 1990s in south-east Asia in the 1970s and 1980s or in Japan in the 1950s

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Copyright © 2010 Pytheas Limited 22 May 2010 7 Disclaimer Opinion: Sixteen years ago South Africa was a mess economically politically and psychologically. The world treated it as a pariah. A racial conflagration seemed not only possible but likely. Since then it has come a long way led by people who were completely new to running anything much let alone a big sophisticated and highly complex country. It was inevitable that mistakes would be made. Today South Africa is a lot happier wiser and more prosperous. It has been welcomed back into the international community is a member of the G20 group of important countries and is the biggest mover and shaker in Africa. Today’s state economy and social order are largely the outcome of colonization white supremacy oppression narrow minded and hasty policies discrimination and reverse discrimination high illiteracy rate tribalism that neglects its own children unimaginative greed… The Afrikaner has not yet digested that the paradise that has been created through hard work and exploitation is no more. The Black South African has not yet digested that he is free that this country is really his and that by robbing and raping it he only dooms himself and his children. Additionally the new South Africa’s relations with the world are often confused almost schizophrenic as it struggles to understand what it is and what it wants to be. On the one hand it likes to see itself as the hegemon of southern Africa and a global leader of the emerging world along with China Brazil and India. On the other hand both its economy and its values remain closely allied with those of the rich world. In Africa it is an economic giant yet despite its black-led government it remains a political pygmy unable—or unwilling—to solve problems even in its own backyard of Zimbabwe. Its foreign policy is a muddle… Freedom has yet to deliver on its promise. Vast numbers of South Africans continue to live in grinding poverty as the rich get ever richer. Hundreds of thousands are scythed down by diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Others succumb to criminal violence or the carnage on the roads robbing families of breadwinners and businesses of employees. The economy cries out for more skilled workers yet millions remain unemployed and unemployable. Universities dumb down their courses to boost pass rates only to turn out graduates who are not much good to anyone. The government seeks to woo foreign investors but some of ANC’s executives send shivers down their spines by insisting that mines and banks will be nationalized within the next few years. Rising discontent in the poor black townships threatens to boil over into renewed violence. Revolutions as Plato noted tend to start with rising expectations not when conditions are at their worst. Even if the government could give the jobless everything they are demanding which it cannot that still might not be enough. There is no doubt that social and political instability a marginal concern since 1994 could become a determining factor in South Africa’s future. Some feel South Africa could still go either way either gradually sliding into a corrupt third- world mess or making slow progress without ever fulfilling its potential. But others remain doggedly optimistic despite the country’s obvious failings. Pytheas believes that South Africa has the prerequisites and the potential to become one of the world’s most majestic countries prosperous and efficient. One is for sure today’s South Africa is not for the faint-hearted. Everything is in flux and nothing is certain. The Country requires leadership and vision but most of all educated citizens that will eventually contain the greed and weaknesses of inadequate governments and negative social components.

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Copyright © 2010 Pytheas Limited 22 May 2010 8 The above notes have been compiled to assist you however actions taken as a result of this document are at the discretion of the reader and not Pytheas Limited or Harris A. Samaras. All rights reserved. The material in this publication may not be copied stored or transmitted without the prior permission of the publishers. Short extracts may be quoted provided the source is fully acknowledged.

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