• Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA)
• Dr Pali Lehohla
• Prof Somadoda Fikeni;
• Ms Xolelwa Kashe-Katiya;
• Dr Tara Polzer Ngwato;
• Dr Asghar Adelzadeh;
• Mr Andile Sangqu;
• Members of Academia;
• Leaders of Civil Society;
• Ladies and Gentlemen;
Our ability to explore each other’s points of views, beliefs, findings, and solutions, is our strongest tool to discover how to steer the nation on a trajectory of recovery and cohesion. To engage in a national strategic conversation is to learn from one another, make collective decisions, and take action in a manner that serves the needs of a nation in trauma.
The time for dialogue has never been more pressing in South Africa’s democracy than it is now. As we examine the Indlulamithi Scenarios and planning models, we gather again to deliberate on the researched and quantified data and interpretations of science to understand what needs to be done to save South Africa from injustices of the past, injustices of the present, and the injustices of poverty on people in the future. Saving the country from the ravages of an escalating pandemic, saving the youth from a buckling education system and joblessness, saving hungry families from famine, saving businesses from collapse, saving the nation from violent tension, and saving us all from the corrosion of unity. These are just some of the injustices that require our fullest attention and dedicated dialogue.
The Indlulamithi Scenarios and 2021 Barometer have scoured South Africa’s state of mind, state of being, and state of flux, to get to grips with what is actually happening on the ground. Alongside ADRS’s Six Pillar Policy Reforms and other possible post-COVID economic recovery pathways, we have certainly a lot to talk about. These series of conversation, however, must not stop here in the virtual dialogue, it is our duty and responsibility to discuss the findings and solutions widely, and impose the data on those who should be listening and making decisions. It is also important to acknowledge that the discussions around scenario modelling are not new to South Africa and have been used to sway the country in the right direction in the past.
The scenario planner and strategist, Clem Sunter, proposed models in the 1980s that influenced apartheid South Africa into opting for a “High Road” scenario of political settlement, in contrast to the “Low Road” strategy of further violence and possible civil war. South Africa was in the grip of a decades-long crisis in the 1980’s, and it was scenario planning that illuminated a possible pathway to democracy.
The “Mont Fleur” scenario exercise in South Africa between 1991 and 1992, showed the power of models to bring people together, think collectively about their future and discover new ways forward with an out-of-the-box approach.
A climate of conflict and uncertainty was evident during the period between February 1990, when the late Former President Nelson Mandela was released from Robben Island, and the African National Congress (ANC), Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), South African Communist Party (SACP), and other organizations were unbanned, and April 1994, when the first democratic elections were held.
The following scenarios are the four models that they believed to be plausible and relevant at the time, and which were developed into logical narratives to communicate to the wider public:
• Ostrich, in which a negotiated settlement to the crisis in South Africa is not achieved, and the country’s government continues to be non-representative.
• Lame Duck, in which a settlement is achieved but the transition to a new dispensation is slow and indecisive.
• Icarus, in which transition is rapid but the new government unwisely pursues unsustainable, populist economic policies.
• Flight of the Flamingos, in which the government’s policies are sustainable and the country takes a path of inclusive growth and democracy.
Although the “Mont Fleur” project was part of a larger project of forums across the country and did not resolve the crisis in itself, the articulation of the “Mont Fleur” planners’ visions, contributed to a shared vocabulary that not only leaders could draw on, but trade unions, communities, civil society, the private sector, and ordinary people could use as a language for dialogue. This dialogue boosted a common understanding between parties and people, and created a climate that lent itself towards promoting mutual agreement and settlement. The purpose of “Mont Fleur” was “not to present definitive truths, but to stimulate debate on how to shape the next 10 years.” By the end of 1992, the project had met its measures of success and the team dissolved.
Similarly, in 1997, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) September Commission Scenarios sought to provoke debate and highlight critical challenges within the federation through the use of three scenarios.
COSATU noted that the three scenarios were not stories about the strategies of COSATU, more so, they were stories about the forces and factors outside of COSATU that the federation deemed as beyond its control. The September Commission presented the following three scenarios:
1. The Desert
2. Skorokoro and
3. Pap, Vleis and Gravy.
1. The Desert
In this scenario there is no economic development, no RDP delivery, and a high level of class conflict. South Africa finds itself in the desert instead of the promised land of the RDP. Could socialism provide the way out of the desert and towards the Promised Land?
There are massive demonstrations against the worsening conditions of the masses and placards are seen asking questions such as, “Where is the RDP? Where is the promised land?” and, “We the masses are in the desert – where is our Moses?”
Powerful organisations of the unemployed, the youth and the communities emerge, while the government detains a number of leaders. Government leaders promise to look into the people’s legitimate grievances, but warn against false prophets who mislead the people.
In this scenario there is some economic growth and modest delivery. The main features are, on the one hand, increasing social fragmentation and conflict, and on the other hand, the rapid self-empowerment of black business and the black middle-class. South Africa is a skorokoro zigzagging from problem to problem.
Ethnicity, racism, provincialism and regionalism become very powerful as a result of lack of delivery and conflict over resources. Patronage and corruption become the order of the day in government and in civil society.
On the ground there is a lack of cooperation or violent conflict in communities and on the shop floor. The rainbow nation does not exist.
The culture of self-enrichment and the growth of a black middle-class could undermine the unions’ culture of solidarity.
3. Pap ‘n Vleis and Gravy
In this scenario there is massive economic growth and development. Jobs are created and the RDP delivers. There is pap and vleis for most people. The unions are involved in deal making, joint decision-making and co-determination at all levels of society. But are they getting caught in the gravy?
Over the next six years (from 1997 onward) there is tremendous growth in all sectors. All kinds of small and medium companies flourish. This means that there is a wide range of new jobs and new workers. Many women are employed in low-paid and vulnerable sectors – for example, seasonal workers in the tourist industry. Millions of people are still unemployed and many work in the informal sector.
Companies are under tremendous competitive pressures. Managers put pressure on workers and their unions to assist in improving productivity and quality, and to work harder, faster and smarter. There is also continual pressure for wage moderation in the private and the public sectors. Over the years RDP delivery increases. Millions of houses are built, but there are still huge shack settlements.
Despite tremendous progress, the successes of the new South Africa seem shaky. There are questions over the political direction of the ANC government, and over the prospects for continued economic growth. Will there still be pap ‘n vleis for most people? Who will get the gravy? What about those who have still not benefited from growth or the RDP?
(End of COSATU Scenarios.)
Also intended to stimulate action-oriented conversations among the public sector, private sector, and citizens were the Dinokeng Scenarios of 2008. In its summary and conclusion, The Dinokeng Scenario Team posed the following critical questions about the future of our country:
• How can we as South Africans address our critical challenges before they become time bombs that destroy our accomplishments?
• What can each one of us do – in our homes, communities and workplaces – to help build a future that lives up to the promise of 1994?
The Dinokeng Scenario project stated that although South Africa had achieved a great deal, there were also serious mistakes that threatened the future.
Many difficulties, similar to the crises at the dawn of democracy, still haunted South Africa at the time, with critical economic and social challenges in relation to unemployment, poverty, safety and security, education and health. All of which were exacerbated by the global financial crisis of 2008.
The Dinokeng Scenarios offered three possible ways that South Africa might walk into and so create a distinct future:
1. We Walk Apart. In this scenario, the state becomes increasingly weak and ineffective. A disengaged and self-protective citizenry eventually loses patience and erupts into protest and unrest. The state, driven by its inability to meet citizens’ demands and expectations, responds brutally and a spiral of resistance and repression is unleashed.
The message of Walk Apart is that if we fail to address our critical challenges, if we fail to build state capacity, and if citizens do not organise to engage government constructively, we will experience rapid disintegration and decline.
2. We Walk Behind. In this scenario the state becomes increasingly strong and directive, both enabled by and enabling a civil society that is increasingly dependent and compliant. The state grows in its confidence to lead and direct development. However, it does not by itself have the capacity to address our critical challenges effectively. The demands of socio-economic development and redistributive justice amid a global and domestic economic crisis place strain on the state’s capacity to serve all.
The message of Walk Behind is that state-led development cannot succeed if state capacity is seriously lacking. In addition, a state that intervenes pervasively and that dominates all other sectors will crowd out private initiative by business and civil society and create a complacent and dependent citizenry.
3. We Walk Together. This scenario tells the story of a state that becomes increasingly catalytic and collaborative; of an enabling state that listens to its citizens and leaders from different sectors; a state that engages with critical voices, that consults and shares authority in the interest of long term sustainability. This is also a story of an engaged citizenry that takes leadership and holds government accountable, a citizenry that shares responsibility for policy outcomes and development.
The message of Walk Together is that we can address our critical challenges only if citizens’ groups, business, labour and broader civil society actively and effectively engage with the state to improve delivery and enforce an accountable government.
South Africa’s past relationships with scenario modelling, clearly illustrates how this methodology for planning can be a valuable tool for organisations ranging from government, to educational institutions, investment firms, organised labour, and communities to evaluate possible future events.
By analysing the discrepancies between possible futures, decision-makers can facilitate research into how their decisions around certain situations could directly impact the country. By creating a multitude of possible scenarios, entering varying inputs of data, and then contrasting them against a common basis, scenario modelling offers a definite and unmistakable advantage over traditional forecasting.
After 2008, for reasons that hopefully Dr Pali Lehohla and Indlulamithi Scenarios team could elaborate on, the project and methodology of scenario planning, dwindled and fell away.
It was with the dawn of the Indlulamithi SA Scenarios in 2017, that scenarios were resurrected with a team of economists, researchers, business leaders, and passionate activists to create a new set of models that offer South Africa the potential to future-proof itself.
We are undoubtedly at another crossroads in the development of South Africa, and today’s layered crises present an opportunity to decide what is important to us and how we respond to a moving target.
In 2018, The Indlulamithi SA Scenarios 2030 released a forecast of what South Africa could look like by 2030 and named three possible futures: iSbhujwa; Nayi le Walk; or Gwara Gwara.
• ISBHUJWA: An enclave bourgeois nation torn by deepening social divides, daily protests and cynical self-interest.
• NAYI LE WALK: A nation in step with itself, where growing social cohesion, economic expansion, and a renewed spirit of constitutionalism get South Africa going.
• GWARA GWARA: A ¬floundering false dawn — a demoralised land of disorder and decay
Several years later, and at a time of great challenge and despair, the Indlulamithi Scenarios now offer an updated iteration that differs to past scenarios in that they have now instituted the Indlulamithi Barometer, which monitors levels of social cohesion to determine which scenario the country is tracking towards.
How South Africa fares in the three possible futures depends on the consideration of Three Key Driving Forces in the Indlulamithi Barometer which consists of 53 indicators that underpin the scenario narratives.
The Driving Forces include:
1. Resistance, Resentment, and Reconciliation.
2. Institutional Capacity and Leadership.
3. Social Inequality.
The results for each key driving force, tell us in which direction we are teetering towards: Nayi le Walk; iSbhujwa; or Gwara Gwara, and provides vital information with the intention to foster necessary dialogue to reach consensus in building a socially cohesive future.
Each scenario shows the impact – political, economic and social – of differing levels of social cohesion. The monitoring and evaluation gives us an authoritative insight into elements that should influence the country’s decision-making, namely: South Africa’s overall reflection on socioeconomic and political challenges; the lack of strategic thinking for the future; and the many ways in which organisations and individuals can utilize the Indlulamithi tools in their own planning to imagine alternative pathways to a socially cohesive nation.
Consequently, the Indlulamithi Barometer and Scenarios offer a chance for the nation to examine the fundamental changes over the past few years and to investigate these changes in relation to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
South Africa and indeed the world, are trying to catch up with this evolving situation – endeavouring to make sense of how and where to move their pieces on an unstable chess board. However, the rules that govern how to safely move across the squares have changed. What the Indlulamithi National Barometer has designed, is a mechanism to accurately and succinctly manage our perceptions and bias versus the hard facts of data. The Indlulamithi Barometer reveals what needs to be addressed, and what opportunities exist to rebuild our political, economic and our social structures in an ever-changing environment.
As the world rapidly morphs and alters itself, while at the same time in a seemingly constant fight-or-flight mode, we find ourselves responding to acute stress in a way that keeps us all on a heightened level of defence. Our automatic reaction, physiological and psychological, is a collective reflex to a perceived harmful threat to our survival. Indeed there are threats to our survival and more so now in a changing world with COVID-19. The nervous system of the world is under increasing strain and so embracing the maxim that “the only constant in life is change”, is perhaps one way for us to navigate ourselves through the extreme disruptions that are testing the strength of our democracy.
Indeed, change brings fear as well as hope, and it is for this reason why the Indlulamithi South Africa Scenarios 2030 is an essential tool for government, policy makers, businesses, civil organisations, communities, and all of society to conceive, plan, and then construct any kind of future for a South Africa that we dream of.
Working parallel to this constant change of life, is the Indlulamithi Barometer which tracks, records and responds to this change. In fact, the Barometer’s calibration is designed to feed off and function because of change.
Following, probing, and examining the country’s change, the Indlulamithi Barometer presents us with hard facts that keep our opinions and visions of South Africa grounded with updated reality-checks that allow us to more accurately investigate the direction that South Africa is moving towards.
So, when we find ourselves up against the compound effect of multiple crises, on top of tough historic challenges, we are placed in a position where the projects of nation building and inclusive economic growth become illusive and somewhat fantastical.
However, as the central nervous system of South Africa comes under attack and the nation’s already rapid heart rate and high blood pressure increases further to breaking point, we are offered some confidence in the knowledge that we have primed the body for action with a powerful tool for influencing decision-making. With the Indlulamithi Barometer, we are better prepared to perform under pressure and cope effectively with mounting threats. We can see them coming, we can track them down, we can strike with evidence-based intelligence, and we can allow the data to play a critical role in our survival.
The current tension and conflict across South Africa’s landscape, alongside the suffering and loss of a pandemic that hammers a society already broken by poverty, begs us to ask the questions:
What has changed?
Where have we come from?
How has COVID-19 changed South Africa in ways that we can learn from?
The need for survival of families, further exacerbated by rising poverty and agitated by grief, fuels a sense of rage below the surface.
The pre-COVID state in South Africa was not desirable or conducive to the NAYI LE WALK scenario: there was already a loss of normalcy for communities; the fear of economic decline was already entrenched; the loss of human connection was already apparent in the rising rate of GBV and hate crime; and the anticipation of further loss was already a dark cloud adding to the gloomy psyche of a nation at war with itself.
While the global focus is on recovering from COVID-19, the 2021 Indlulamithi Barometer and Economic Model highlights the ‘neglected’ threats and solutions, including Applied Development Research Solutions’ (ADRS) Six Pillar Policy reforms and other possible post-COVID economic recovery pathways to lead us to a NAYI LE WALK scenario.
It is important for us to acknowledge, that with the Indlulamithi Scenarios, we can find meaning in the process of economic and social recovery, and that through the data, we can find a way to heal.
The 2021 Indlulamithi Barometer shows a striking dimension of social inequality that leaves us dragging far behind other developing nations and way off the mark of where we had planned to be, this far into democracy. Unfortunately the GWARA GWARA scenario rears its ugly head in this situation and is sustained by the underlying socio-economic beasts of unemployment, poor health care, a failing education system, and lack of safety.
When considering isolation and segregation, the quarantine and lockdown measures are essential to stop epidemics, however, this long-term isolationism leads to economic collapse without offering any real protection against infectious diseases. These characteristics are evident in the findings of the 2021 Indlulamithi Barometer. The data shows it.
History, however, shows us that real protection arises from the sharing and use of reliable information, from collective vision, national and international solidarity, and decision making based on these principles. It could be said that the antidote to the challenges of COVID-19 and associated challenges, is collaboration and cooperation, but with Institutional Capacity and Leadership stumbling into the GWARA GWARA dimension at 43% in the 2021 Barometer, the data shows that there is less rather than more of the crucial antidote to a land of disorder and decay. The Barometer shows us that by February 2020 we had crossed the halfway mark into the realms of the GWARA GWARA scenario.
But where will we be in three months, next year, or ten years from now?
With the Indlulamithi Scenarios and Barometer, we can learn from our past, explore our possible futures, and indeed discover that within every crisis there is also opportunity. There are a number of possible futures for South Africa, and together with the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA), the Indlulamithi South Africa Scenarios 2030, the scientists, philosophers, policy makers, creative minds, and civil society organisations gathered, we hope to paint a picture of various scenarios, and map out possible pathways to create a South Africa we know we deserve.
With all this information at our fingertips and a nation slipping into a state of GWARA GWARA, the question that begs to be asked is: Who is listening? Who is taking the initiative to utilise these reports? What steps are being taken to ensure that South Africa is pulled out of the doldrums of GWARA GWARA?
All this is dependent on how government, the private sector, and society respond collectively.
We understand that dialogue among equals, will provide a platform to discover, share, and achieve a greater common good, through knowledge. This gives us a sense of autonomy to determine the future we know South Africa deserves. This gives us hope. But what we also understand is that hope is not enough.
To carry out our aspirations, we also need a solid action plan that is amplified by leadership consensus and the conviction of many.
Enter, the Indlulamithi Social Compacting Initiative that builds on the rich legacy of engagement in South Africa between all stakeholders through social dialogue, to address and resolve deep seated societal conflicts. This participatory process creates a platform for reflection, mutual understanding and motivation for a broad cross-section of society to unite through the principles of a social contract that guides us. Harnessing the power of dialogue, a compact acts as a social initiative that is underpinned by active citizenship and the pursuit of greater social cohesion as a pivotal point of national interest.
The Indlulamithi Social Compacting Initiative reinforces and echoes the significance and weight of one of the world’s most progressive and inclusive social compacts, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. As the supreme law of the land, the Constitution of the Republic sets the bar for which we should live up to and for which our renewal as a nation can be fully realised. But as the Indlulamithi Scenarios and Barometer have highlighted, are we living up to that bar?
Through the malice of pervasive corruption, a weakened state, and mounting poverty, have we placed ourselves in danger of compromising our constitutional democracy, of destroying democratic culture, of eroding the trust of the people? What of our commitment to uphold the Constitution?
At today’s Indlulamithi Day virtual conference and in all spheres of life, it is imperative for us all to add value to the discourse and to further unpack the implications of our possible futures against the backdrop of the Constitution.
Allow us for a moment to review the basic provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa:
“A Constitution is a body of fundamental principles according to which a State is to be governed. It sets out how all the elements of government are organised and contains rules about what power is wielded, who wields it and over whom it is wielded in the governing of a country. It can be seen as a kind of contract between those in power and those who are subjected to this power. It defines the rights and duties of citizens, and the mechanisms that keep those in power in check.”
The Indlulamithi Scenarios, Barometer, and Social Compacting Initiative are tools for us to breathe life into the Constitution, to embrace its principles, and to decisively take action in a manner that we can step together in a choreographed harmony to reach a future of NAYI LE WALK.
Allow me to conclude by stating that in this climate of uncertainty and fluid change, what may stabilize the vital signs of our country are the choices we can make. We can even choose to live by principles that guide our choices and strengthen our conviction. We can live by these characteristics of ethical leadership and unite a nation at odds with itself. We can choose our attitude. We can choose how hard to fight. We can choose how much empathy we have for others. We can choose to listen and take action based on research. Life demands of us that we embrace change, and it is with the Indlulamithi South Africa Scenarios 2030 that we can make informed choices that reflect our principles of humanity and carve out a new, productive, equitable, and inclusive future for all.