THE mindset of South Africa’s racially polarised political and economic leaders needs a shake-up if the country is to unite in a shared future, according to former Port Elizabeth schoolboy Dr Mcebisi Ndletyana.
A matriculant of Zwide’s Khwezilomso High School, Ndletyana has been a research specialist in the democracy and governance research programme at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and has taught at various universities in the United States, including City University of New York and State University of New York.
He is currently the head of political economy at Johannesburg’s Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflections.
Ndletyana will address the inaugural Jupilog Enterprise Development/Old Mutual Downright Dialogues – quarterly sessions aimed at stimulating social and economic development in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Speaking from Johannesburg yesterday, Ndletyana said post-apartheid South Africa had progressed in leaps and bounds in terms of its infrastructure development, while its robust justice system and sound financial institutions had meant investors flocked to the country.
"But racial polarisation and differing ideologies between South Africa’s predominantly black political leaders and its mostly white captains of industry meant a lack of focus on its future.”
Instead, there needed to be a cohesive attempt at uniting South Africa’s social, economic and political leadership to create a "shared vision for the future”, he said.
"We have failed in creating a sense of common commitment. There is a lack of trust between the political elite and capital elite. We have not developed a sufficient multicultural awareness that we share a common destiny; that we each benefit from what the other has, which will result in shared benefits.
"[To achieve this shared purpose] you have to have platforms outside of the adversarial forums; spaces outside of the political and formal channels where there is a lot of posturing.
"It requires a reorientation of our leadership. It’s not about being just a business person or political activist, but having a vision of a shared future.”
This morning at the Kelway Hotel, Ndletyana will speak about the relevance of the National Planning Commission’s plan for the Bay.
"The thrust of the talk is that development is multifaceted and involves a host of partners, including political leadership and civil society.
"Citizens have to be politically active for the leadership and institutions to function optimally,” he said.