We Dare Not Miss out on the Tide of Positivism

Cape Times (South Africa), February 21, 2018 | Go to article overview

We Dare Not Miss out on the Tide of Positivism


He certainly was presidential, I thought as President Ramaphosa concluded his first Sona, and a stark contrast to his discredited predecessor.

Here was a smiling, erudite man who, while, jogging along the Sea Point promenade early that morning, had acceded readily to requests for selfie photographs with members of the public, and who now had drawn warm applause - even from his most ardent critics - for a resounding, and potentially nation-changing speech inParliament.

He had covered most subjects relating to governmental work, from corruption to mining, and agriculture to education and employment.

"What was missing from his speech?" an eNCA anchorman asked a political analyst. "Climate change and nuclear power," she responded immediately. Had he asked me - and it is most unlikely he would want the views of this mere maritime scribe-cum-teacher - I also would have responded immediately, but with a different answer.

"Shipping!" I would have blurted out, for that is an important sector, and, at the risk of eliciting howls of allegations of bias, I believe that shipping should be raised to premier status by President Ramaphosa's government.

Promising attempts by the Zuma regime to move the maritime sector to the front burner via Operation Phakisa became bogged down by endless rounds of talk shops, lunches and politically correct resolutions with very little action.

Some of the action that was claimed to have stemmed from that operation was in the pipeline (or had been suggested) well before the start of Phakisa.

Other actions were badly implemented, including the introduction of maritime-related subjects at some schools without first ensuring that adequately-trained, knowledgeable and enthusiastic teachers were available.

Frequent offers during the past decade to train teachers properly in the two maritime subjects have fallen on deaf ears.

However, the president's positive stance on many issues augurs well for the shipping industry, clamouring for an agreeable economic climate in which it can operate and thrive, and a relaxation of serious red tape that hampers its endeavours, rather than releasing them to soar. …

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