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South Africa – The Next Critical 5 Years

With the announcement by the ILO – International Labour Organisation that South Africa’s unemployment will slip to 6th highest in the world by 2020, down from its current position as 8th highest, together with the downgrading of our economy by the various rating agencies, there is no doubt that the next five years will be critical for the secure future of our country.

Unemployment is arguably the most serious challenge facing South Africa, at a time when worldwide, there is a tendency towards less employment opportunities being created owing to robotics, automation, computerisation and the like.

In my day you joined a company and all things being equal you could retire 40 or so years later, having achieved a senior position within the same organisation. Those years are now long gone and the onus will increasingly be on the individual, creating his or her own employment opportunity.

In South Africa we need to find innovative ways to create more employment. Our education system continues to bedevil the future of many of our youth. Desperation will lead to the most vulnerable succumbing to negative peer pressure and this can lead to crime which in turn makes our communities unsafe.

I firmly believe that South Africa has the potential, in terms of people and resources, to do far better, even beyond our imagination. Sadly, we seem as a nation, to be regressing and not progressing in a number of vital areas, including that of purposeful leadership.  Surely we must arrive at a time when we say “Not on Our Watch!” If we are to leave a legacy for our youth and posterity, then the next five years, must be the time when we stand together as one, while asking the question “What can I do to make a difference that will truly matter in the years to come for myself, my family, my community and my country?”

It we can achieve success, as a unified nation, with a definite goal and plan in which all can play an effective role, then I believe South Africa will go on to achieve greatness. We need to take hands and demonstrate that we are capable of a second miracle for South Africa, one that will earn the respect and appreciation of the world. This is now what South Africa desperately needs, just ordinary men and women, standing tall, willing to be counted.

I believe, that many future leaders, within our communities, who do not even think of themselves as leaders, will as a result of circumstances, become motivated to develop their extraordinary potential and go on to impact the lives of many in wonderful and positive ways.

Sail on good ship South Africa. The time is soon coming when you will lead the world in ways that many countries will emulate. Let us make sure that we don’t squander the next five years, wondering what to do, but rather use this precious time to embrace and shape our future. A future, that will make our children glow with pride of having followed a track, one that will empower them to build and leave their legacy for their children and posterity. This means that we should build the legacy not just for our youth but rather in partnership with them. The words of a poem come to mind “Let us not be prisoners of our fears but rather new South African pioneers”. Indeed we are all pioneers in this great land now ready for visionary leadership. What an exciting time the next five years will be, as we gather our numbers and begin building together. Another line from the same poem “The clarion call echoes across our land, join this great adventure as we grow this glorious band”.  Joe Cook

Joe Cook is an ex SA Navy communications trainer, turned businessman for a number of years, until finally adopting a business and social entrepreneur approach towards the challenges facing business and our communities. As a father and grandfather, Joe is determined to leave a legacy for the children and youth of South Africa. Joe is the founder of BBN – Building Bridges Nationwide and the BBN 5-Star Community Challenge plan. This plan has been launched as SAVision2020 – GOAL – PLAN – DEADLINE. The mission is to develop a business, public and youth partnership to make our communities effective centres of employment creation (5-Star Status) by December 2020. BBN’s SILT – Smart Impact Leadership Training develops the leadership to roll out the BBN Community Success Methodology (Plan) within our communities nationwide. Joe can be contacted via SAVision2020.org.za

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