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Inclusivity: For the people and by the people

Wresting the initiative from government to prevent reckless radicalisation.

SWELLENDAM – During those widespread protest marches recently, I asked my son whether he was going to join one of them.

“It won’t make a difference,” he replied.

“But it will to you,” I said.

Few things are more powerful than a group of people actively and vigorously pursuing a noble cause. The outcome becomes a secondary issue. In that moment each gets to experience the fulfillment of embracing and being embraced by a community or group. It is the essence of inclusivity in a much broader and more relevant sense. While lofty, often purposeless debates and actions are formulated around structure, systems and policies; the real issue is missed – that it is about human behaviour. We are clearly in an era when the former have lost touch with the latter. That is the most pressing issue of our time.

Globally, inclusivity has been severely impeded by centralised political and economic power; technology increasingly replacing real human connection and productive effort, and a monetary and financial revolution that has deeply widened disparities in wealth and opportunities to the exclusion of many, especially the youth.

More intriguing is the extent to which inclusivity has begun to transcend and indeed overshadow traditional debate around left and right; capitalism and socialism, and other conflicting theories that have preoccupied humanity for centuries. Today it is about the “establishment” versus the “populace”: in itself an expression of whether people feel included or excluded, and ultimately questioning the legitimacy of power.

Governments’ role in enhancing inclusivity – or perhaps more accurately: rolling back exclusivity – is a key concern at ballot boxes and in the streets. It is a greater issue in South Africa than elsewhere. It’s a subject I covered in a previous article (see here) and still requires much unpacking. But it could be argued that government itself has been the biggest stumbling block to inclusivity through failures in service delivery, education and of course patronage, corruption and maladministration – to name just a few. Its current rhetoric is a deflection of blame and indeed counter-inclusive. It has created some dysfunctional paradoxes in promoting inclusivity through implied dispossession or exclusion of certain groups.

Business too has to do some soul-searching. It is by nature the most inclusive activity in free and open societies. With some deplorable exceptions, it serves society as consumers and customers. On average, it pays about half of its income to outside suppliers, creating multiples of opportunities for others. The remainder represents its own added value, or wealth created, and on average 45% goes to labour, 25% to government in the form of company and employee personal income tax, and 30% to profits. Put differently, for every R15 shareholders get, R140 goes to the pockets of employees and government – a ratio of nearly 2½ to 1. (See Contribution Account here.)

Disturbing the delicate composition of that activity could have disastrous consequences. But that does not mean that it should not seriously review racial imbalances, particularly in top management which is only 15% black, and largely attributable to executive exclusivity. (See here.)

My criticism of business has always been that it does not fully understand, recognise, promote and act out its inclusive nature. It has defined itself narrowly as an exclusive servant of shareholder interest and, despite King IV prescriptions, expresses itself in a profit/cost rather than a wealth creation/distribution format. Its accounting is not inclusive. (See inclusive accounting here.) Too often this leads to misbehaviour, customer neglect, uncompetitive activities, and an absence of a moral compass.

It then also discourages common purpose and common fate principles and full involvement by all stakeholders, especially labour, in the destiny of an enterprise. The net result is a warped public image, broken hearts in the workplace and easy prey to business-unfriendly rhetoric including that implied in radical economic transformation. (See article “The untold story” here.)

The people, however, hold ultimate power. Relying on systems, structures, policies and politics discourages and denies the overwhelming role that individual behaviour plays in inclusiveness. Economic growth itself is an unknown, and speaks to only one part of inclusivity: employment. It’s an important part, but ignores the fact that many of the employed still feel excluded and the number that could be rescued from unemployment is questionable. Inclusivity should not be viewed solely as an outcome of economic growth, but rather as a factor contributing to it.

One does not need a message from the pulpit to identify many areas where we can act more inclusively. It brings to mind Edmund Burke’s immortal aphorism:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.  But the message does not mean only confronting evil. It also means simply spreading good as a counter to evil.

Probably more threatening than standing by and doing nothing, is doing something and no one knowing about it. That creates the darkness where evil flourishes and politicians play their dirty games. There are many, many activities in South Africa (government included) that simply belie the notion that inclusivity is not being actively pursued. Apart from thousands of individuals daily reaching out to others, there are corporate social responsibility projects; many social entrepreneur activities; very active NGOs, NPOs and charities; church activities; and private sector projects, that on balance have probably done far more than government itself – apart perhaps from the social grant. One that deserves mention is agriculture, where farming groups have done much to effectively empower people – arguably more than what could be achieved with land grabs. (See project list here.)

That more can, and should be done by all of us is an imperative, and a counter to coercion and autocracy. Inclusivity is a manifestation and embracing of our humanity. It is an embrace of empowerment and enablement. We cannot allow petty politics to contaminate it; ideologues to warp it; megalomaniacs to abuse it; academics to distort it; economists to disparage it and media to ignore it.

It is the ultimate human project. It’s when individual hearts become a collective shelter from despair. 

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talk talk talk – very easy but no action. transformation starts with land and so far I hear no offers from the “haves” about repaying the gains they made by buying land that was only available to the 10% before 1994. I still hear discussions that the western cape was actually “owned” by the khoi-san who fortunately are no longer around to claim what was theirs. you guys can gnash your teeth as mush as possible, and walk down every street in the country wearing your designer clothes while your domestics are busy at your luxurious home doing the work that the “madams” refuse to do. the reality is that apart from Africans (ie Zulu sotho etc) everyone else is an immigrant/settler to the country and you are there at their behest. suggest you start placating them in a hurry. oh yes aus just made temporary work visas even harder and more expensive – so forget that

And as the sun set over Sydney harbour, Rob arises.

Many articles, with evidence from DNA proof, reflects that nearly all the African tribes also immigrate to this south point of Africa. That is history, and maybe its time to read up on it again, and see who the real “colonial devil” for this situation is, the same British settler colonials who now so pleasingly accept you on their shores.

I was wondering if you also throw your remarks on Aus websites, about the atrocities’ of the UK- Aus white immigrant/settler/jailbirds on the true indigenous original inhabitants of Aus.(ie Aborigines), or are you just dishing out on the folk out here, while pleasing your “host” with “he is so good, for you”,…and you can never come here…

I may be of a white minority, complain about the politics, economy, about black, yellow, brown and believe me even white, but I am indigenous to this country by language, culture, society and history…I am the indigenous white tribe of South Africa.

hmm “evidence from DNA proof” – reminds me of the arguments put forward by Hitler and his lunatic scientists. i’ll say this again – Africa is for the Africans – and unless you are Zulu, Sotho etc – you are NOT African. If you don’t believe me – speak to anyone from your local national government – or even better – the EFF

I have to agree with Robert, your ancestors might have arrived to the
country long before the Zulus but as things stands you will never be
accepted by the majority as an African. As the government and the EFF continues to polarise the population and using racist legislation, for a long time you will be regarded as an invader who stole the land and resources.

@The Hun

at last – a supporter – thank you!

They bought the land. It’s their land. That is how capitalism work. Thank god for that.

My uncle has a very large maize farm in Kwazula Natal. He employs over 200 people, has built houses for all of the workers for free. The farm produces cheap maize that feeds thousands. He has a very basic lifestyle and works really hard. Wakes up at 4 am and gets home at 7pm every day. Please explain what “gains” he has made that he needs to repay. In my opinion the man deserves a medal for the good he does for society, not some bull about repaying unearned gains. By the way his great grandfather bought the farm. He did not get it for free.

maybe you can send the proceeds from the property you sold when you ducked to oz- BACKSEAT DRIVER

But Robert surely the same argument applies in your part of the world. Unless you are an aborigine you can’t be an Autralian! You a e forever an immigrant.

good point and one that is frequently thrown at me. can use same argument with Europeans invading south and north America, new Zealand and of course Australia. what is different in sa? well a lot. in these countries the indigenous population form a minority of the total population. both in nz and aus there have been treaties and legal formulas instituted over many years as to how the indigenous peoples claim to the land is to be dealt with. in nz (where indigenous people make up 17% of the population) there is a treaty of Waitangi which was renewed in 1975. in aus (where aboriginals are 2.4% of the population) there are the Mabo agreements. not sure abt Canada and USA but I know these issues have been dealt with. these all deal with land. in sa all you have is the 1913 lands act where 90% of the land was given to 10% of the population – that sir is your issue AND it will continue to be a major issue until it is rectified. all the mumbo jumbo claptrap abt economic systems will not solve it.

I agree with your comments, to me it seems that the SA whites do not want to accept what needs to be done to bring the country to a level playing field. They live in a false utopia where trying somehow to deflect the problems they have got, onto other continents. Please wake up and accept the inevitable before its too late.

Robert the only reason that your aborigines are such a small portion of the population is that when you lot arrived you hunted them down and shot them for sport. The abuse continues today so I do not think an Aussie immigrant is in any position to lecture South Africans on the subject.

ditto America and the Red Indians. Robert try reading ‘Bury my heart at Wounded Knee’

I did many years ago. But cannot see the point u trying to make. Sa appears to an outsider to be on the verge of a major racial conflict – it may already be there. USA is not & neither is NZ or AUS

this might be of interest – bbc talk on sitting bull. very interesting and how native Indians were forced off their land by white settlers.

unfortunately this will not solve your particular problem – cause native Africans are way in the majority in sa. no doubt you will say – that’s not fair – and you will be 100% correct. Life is not fair! why should my children be living the life of riley down under whereas your and your contemporaries children don’t what tomorrow will bring – if indeed whether there will be a tomorrow! the answer is that someone took a very painful decision to leave their country of birth so that their children can lead a better life

Another rousing, windbag sermon from Schuitema.

Please, Jerry, stop wasting our time writing this tear-jerking stuff we already know.

It’s easy to churn this out by the ream. But these writings add NO VALUE. Nada! (except to you because somebody must obviously be paying money for you to fill up their blank spaces).

What DOES have value to SA would be a (credible) SOLUTION.

Can you do THAT, Jerry???

You cannot offer a solution to a problem to those who ARE the problem. “Cynicism is self-imposed blindness”. Stephen Colbert.

Sir – you have not replied to my observation that the wrongs of the 1913 lands act must be corrected before any real transformation can occur. Marching down streets & booing JZ achieves nothing. How come u guys weren’t protesting when many young boys (me included) were forced to fight in foreign lands to ensure white facist rule continued in sa?

Don’t be ridiculous, Robert. You contradict yourself on an ongoing basis. For example you state that the only way to make money is to take a massive leveraged bet (my words) on the Oz property market. Then you state that the property market in Oz is a bubble. Recently you state that you care deeply about the [white] South Africans left behind in the ANC inflicted morass. Previously, however, you have stated that the only way forward for South Africa is to raze the country to the ground and start from scratch. This will, of course, impose widespread and immense suffering on the populace which seems to have escaped you- or has it?

Some facts when considering the land issue. In most advanced countries a very small portion of the population or corporations own the farmland. This is because small scale intensive farming is simply not economical compared with large scale extensive farming. This is the reason for the ongoing urbanisation phenomenon observed globally for the last century. A Zimbabwean style solution will thus be a populist, punitive measure done on a racial basis (anti white, especially Afrikaner) and most farms will end up abandoned and stripped as the lack of capital and skills drive the owners to the cities – as currently happens. The other edge of the sword is the lack of output, soaring food prices, exacerbated unemployment and poverty, food import dependence and destruction of the currency.

Q: Surely the most responsible distribution of land would be that which maximises the value of the land by maximising the output of the land?

In 1913 whites constituted more than 20 per cent of the population in the Union, not 10 per cent.

Your attitude to white South Africans, despite your protestations to the contrary, shows a complete lack of empathy (maybe worse). In my experience those who display these traits are generally spectrum disorder aspies (the lack of friends and intense narrow focus in life is the clue), sociopaths (easily spotted: brash, go ballistic when challenged, never assume responsibility, crush people like a button, bullying etc.) and supremacists i.e. those who subscribe to group identity politics and who consider themselves superior to the rest of humanity (subtle clues but can’t help but betray themselves in time, birds of a feather).


The point you raise about the 1913 Lands Act is certainly of interest, but whether resolving that will actually change the outcome is VERY doubtful.

One only has to look at the countries north of us for your answer.

The land issues there (whatever they may have been) were COMPLETELY settled in the indigenous peoples’ favour. DECADES ago.

And as the subsequent history shows, this has made NO DIFFERENCE at all.

Africa had plenty of time to get their ducks in a row (except they all seem to have sunk!).

I agree the land issue is hugely emotive and will remain so politically (despite much of it now actually being state and communal tribal land).

The solution lies elsewhere. And Africa needs to come to terms with that fact.

“You cannot offer a solution to a problem to those who ARE the problem.”

This is quite the breath-taking riposte, Jerry!

Where is the logic in this statement? Is this a general rule of a lifetime’s wisdom applicable to every time one is faced with an awkward question??

So to this logic, it would be pointless for a court to offer a solution to disputing parties?

Debaters in Parliament to offer an opposing view??

And parents to advise their rebellious teenagers of other options???

One’s mind boggles at your logic here, Jerry. Because there is NO sense to this at all.

“Cynicism is self-imposed blindness”.
You do realize that this statement (seemingly meant as some sort of epithet?) now applies EXACTLY to YOU, and perfectly describes your own cynicism?? The irony, Jerry!

Let’s be clear on the issue here.

SA is a troubled land with many deeply serious and unresolved issues. It is not that the issues are mysterious and hitherto unknown. Quite the reverse in fact.

What IS a problem, is that there seem to be very few credible solutions being offered. Instead, every economist and his brother-in-law is climbing on the bandwagon and making money off the side with interesting and erudite articles which DESCRIBE the problem, but are SHORT on offering a CREDIBLE solution.

These are just empty drums creating a LOT of noise. And are just a USELESS substitute for, and impediment to, real debate.

Or, in your repeated case, Jerry, NO SOLUTION AT ALL !

Coming from your background of an undoubted vast repository of experience, wisdom and sheer talent, this is just not good enough, Jerry! It is instead the lazy thinking that one would (perhaps!) tolerate from those with less experience and talent. Oh, and also less “integrity”.

So let’s cut to the chase, Jerry.

Do YOU actually HAVE a solution? Yes or No??

If yes, please post it and enlighten us.

If NO (and I now strongly suspect this is indeed the case, huh?), then you – for your own personal growth – NEED to find the strength to confront the troll in your own mind.

It is NOT enough to merely provide a repetitive analytical discussion OF the problem. That’s all been done already. By you. And others.

The VALUE of your contribution (and your OWN personal/academic/professional growth) lies now in offering a SOLUTION.

So Papa Billy Goat Gruff Schuitema, can you now find the courage to defeat this troll, and cross the bridge to a solution, and lead us all to the promised land???

PS Jerry.
I say the above as a friend, and with respect and warmth to you, and genuinely look forward to seeing your solution. I’m not expecting perfection (I haven’t got the perfect solution either), but I’m at least expecting you to give an honest try.


Johnnox inclusivity has become the greatest issue of our time. Restating problems in a new and more threatening context makes self-evident solutions more pressing especially when the problems are caused by our behaviour and the solutions lie in changing that behaviour — either stop what you are doing (as per my three headings), or simply change the behaviour. It means simply — REACH OUT.

I’m sorry you did not see that or felt that it is too Hallmarkish, but I am fairly well assured by responses here and elsewhere that most did.

Your crass attempts at satire have always been personal, insulting and vindictive. You know NOTHING about me. (suggest you access my CV on my website). You know nothing about what I am paid or even IF I am paid. Courtesy in all things is noble trait that you clearly have not learnt and distinguishes the adult mind from the puerile and adolescent. You can learn a lot from Richard the Great on how to be provocative but still engaging. But you need a sharp mind for that.

I leave you with a life lesson in my Billy Goat gruffness. Winter teaches us that sometimes to ensure warmth you simply have to close some doors and windows. This is one that I am going to close.


Actually, I HAD looked at your CV before I took you to task.

And found that this was ALL THE MORE REASON to call you out.

Since you have so much to say on SA’s problems, it would appear from your CV that you consider yourself to be some sort of oracle in these matters. And, I am happy to concede, it would appear with some justification.

So I again asked you (as I have fruitlessly asked you before) a very simple – and legitimate – question:

Given your impressive CV, have YOU formulated a useful solution to SA’s problems. Yes or No?

It’s clearly evident from your irate, and frankly, immature and quite-hilarious Donald Trump-like egg-dance and irrational non-response, that awkward questions from the lowly peanut gallery is an embarrassing hot-button for you, and far beneath your haughty dignity to respond to (see also your lordly non-response to RobertinSydney, for example).

Do you REALLY have NOTHING (that’s worth anything) to contribute in this department?

That’s a great pity. And a seriously missed opportunity in professional growth for you.

You have done only yourself a disservice by responding so.

Some empathy and humility would have been the better and more rewarding approach.

There’s apparently a widely-regarded training manual on “Empathy” you could usefully consult. You should check it out. I believe you know the author quite well!

Replying out of pure unilateral courtesy to you robertinsydney — I was responding to Johnnox, and as a general observation to those so blind and so deaf. Have never had an inclination to unpack comments/observations from those with skid-marks in distant lands. Except this once. Take care.

all very well to carry on about giving back the land, does that apply to Sandton and Hyde Park too or only the farmers who will lose everything. The Sandtonite can still live in a flat or hotel and carry one working, but the farmer loses it all, plus the nation will go hungry.

Not the whole nation will go hungry, just the poor. The rest will just buy imported foods from Woolies.

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