To paraphrase really badly, they say that if you feed a hungry man, then you will have to feed him for the rest of his life, but if you teach him how to feed himself, then you will never have to feed him again. As you can tell, I am hungry. Just joking.
It is my humble opinion that the current social grants debacle we find ourselves in is caused, in part, by those who never learnt how to ensure that they are always fed. I am not referring to those who can honestly justify the grant they receive, but those who simply see the cash as a mini lotto payout. I know I am not the only one who continues to state that there are people who refuse to find employment or to create opportunities for themselves, simply because they have a guaranteed cheque at the end of every single month.
How do we explain the thousands of young people who receive this cash injection, but are physically and mentally able to get a job, at the least? This is not how we are going to cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship in our country, instead, we are producing an entitled generation that cannot seem to do anything for themselves.
I refuse to accept that this is an issue that we will always have. We are a resilient people who are always looking for a solution. We have so many problems that we should be experts at crafting the most appropriate solutions for them.
One of the items on my bucket list happen to involve our leaders, and it is all about thinking out of the box. Just like we have other ministries, we need a ministry that deals with innovation. We have intellectuals in academic institutions and in the private sector who can treat this is a case study: how to gradually reduce the number of people who exclusively depend on our grant system.
On a regular basis, I hear of university students and professors being roped in to solve issues such as incomplete bridges in Cape Town, but we cannot think the same strategy can assist us with something as severe as people’s livelihoods. Instead of a commission of inquiry, how about we set up a commission on innovation? These are people who will eventually come up with workable solutions. What they will need from us is to entertain their ideas, as “out there” as they may seem.