It’s little wonder that South Africans are inclined to duck below the parapet as daily new disclosures of this corruption or that deception fly around the media doing untold harm to our country’s reputation. Seemingly without there being any real punishment for the perpetrators.

John Matthews, President, Master Builders South Africa

But suddenly, somewhere in this endless inventory of misery we hear of someone having to pay the big price for practicing to deceive. The irony is, of course that former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene had been one of the good guys. But, after shocking the nation with a disclosure of meetings with the Guptas, he lost his job and apparently his political career.

For most South Africans, this was good news because for once someone was going to pay the price, and bad news, because in reality, a man who had previously turned down a R600 million bribe, should perhaps have been shown some leniency when he strayed. That’s a matter for discussion, but the Nene case awakened us to the almost non-existent concept of accountability on our political landscape.

We should be heartened by President Ramaphosa’s actions related to Nene, as it was clearly painful for him to lose one of his stalwarts. But if we are to believe in a South Africa capable of better governance, then we should be demanding a lot more of the same from our country’s leader.

And that is the further lesson for us all in our own daily lives and work. We are not dependent on political leadership to set our moral compass – in fact experience right now tells us that’s a remote possibility. As independent thinkers, and practitioners in an industry that has suffered badly from the fallout of misdeeds on a grand scale outside of our area of influence, we need to be even more morally accountable.

I would like us to end this tumultuous year on a note of regeneration and hope based on reasonable prospects of improved trading conditions in South Africa, backed by our own hard work to keep up the pressure for honesty and accountability. I wish President Ramaphosa the greatest success in the implementation of the investment strategy and the conversion of financial pledges into reality.

We are still only seeing a glimmer of the light we need to put South Africa back under the golden glow we enjoyed briefly after 1994. That glow may well have been based on illusion – but let’s now consolidate the good and embrace the necessary measures to ensure equality of opportunity for our entire nation. That’s the way forward.

Now, at the threshold of the holidays, thank you, all my colleagues, fellow-members and executive of MBSA for putting your confidence in me during 2018. I will do all in my power for the rest of my tenure as your President and onward, to further our cause and serve the association. I hope the coming Season proves to be what we all hope for – a time of peace, and family connections. Next year is probably going to be similar to 2018, but there’s no harm in making a few attainable resolutions that stand half a chance of lasting.

My very best wishes to you all.



South African Builder wishes all its readers a peaceful, safe and relaxing holiday season

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