It’s 2020 and another year of matric results and the associated conflated discussions and opinions surrounding these results has come and gone. As always, much focus is directed at the positives such as the increased pass rates and how well the top achievers have done.

But ignored all too often are the other vital statistics that really matter – the bits in between. For instance, how many of those learners that started grade one in 2008 actually made it to matric, and passed? Are those that finished eligible to study further? Are they aware that there are skills shortages in industries like ours? Do they know that our industry is in the midst of change and that the novel and exciting technologies that they use every day are responsible for these changes? Those are figures that Government doesn’t like to talk about, let alone make public. If they even have such data.

Likewise, the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland has raced by. This is a conference much like a school science fair: You present your best projects and hope that the judges (read: Investors) notice your endeavours. Notably absent from class this year was one Cyril Ramaphosa. Instead of attending, the presidency announced that Ramaphosa has taken this decision “to give attention to pressing domestic priorities and preparations for the governing party and cabinet makgotla”. “The President is further currently engaged with preparations towards South Africa’s assumption of the Chairship of the African Union at the 33rd African Union Summit on 9-10 February 2020,” it offered.

Perhaps it would have been good for Ramaphosa to attend seeing as he is actually the school principal and not just a learner at this institution of South Africa, but instead it was Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni who was sent in to put on his best all-is-well-here face. The WEF wasn’t buying it though and in light of a worsened growth outlook for the country for the year ahead and beyond, we need only use one word, perhaps it should be the word of the decade for the country: Accountability.

Highly acclaimed CNN Business Editor and journalist Richard Quest wasn’t beating around the bush when it came to team South Africa: “We’ve discovered just how awful State Capture at state-owned enterprises was… You tell me how anybody who has come here for the past five or 10 years saying, ‘South Africa is going really well’, suddenly turns around and says, ‘Well, actually, the entire economy was hijacked… and we’re not even sure we’ve dealt with it’… How many people have gone to prison so far?”

Quest continued: “South Africa’s government has minuscule credibility following the Zuma years and the capture of state-owned enterprises. The potential in South Africa is enormous! But you [referring to Ramaphosa] cannot turn around and say ‘I saw nothing and heard nothing!’”

Accountability then, according to Mboweni looks like this: Government’s reform agenda must gather momentum; Policy certainty needs to be secured; Investment needs to recover at a fast pace. “Government remains committed to policy reform and to providing policy certainty, particularly on the areas relevant to a conducive business environment, that is energy, land and telecommunications,” mused Mboweni.

But seeing is believing, as they say. In the face of downgrades we must look forward because we don’t have a choice. We are all accountable and it doesn’t have to start at the top. So how do we direct this – we direct it to upskilling and creating value, that in turn does the same.

Read on to see what one training centre has achieved in its first year in operation and how it plans to further develop skills. In this issue you’ll also see what some foundries are doing to position themselves as amongst the best in the world. It’s called hard work and dedication. We all need to collectively defeat the institutional mechanisms and systemic nature of corruption and state capture through accountability. One such measure is The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture. Will accountability come of this? We deserve it.

Damon Crawford
Online Editor