Rhodes University Logo
Rhodes > Matthew Lester > Latest News

3 images that turn dreams into nightmares of uncertainty

Date Released: Tue, 10 May 2016 10:16 +0200

By Matthew Lester*

Matthew Lester and one of his dogs.

I subscribe to the view that dreaming makes life bearable. So I take the dogs out regularly so they can walk while I dream about the future. But there are three images that today turn my regular dreams into a nightmare of uncertainty.

The National Development Plan was based on the actuarial society population estimates of 2008 when the HIV/AIDS pandemic was at its height. It showed that SA’s population would level off at around 60 million. And one can be forgiven for thinking that the rest of the NDP is heavily dependent on that assumption.

Thanks to the limited roll out of anti retroviral treatment SA’s death rate has dropped substantially.

So if one goes by the recent population estimates of the department of statistics SA’s population is growing by more than 600 000 per annum.


So, by D-day of the NDP, 2030, there will be 6 million more of us than the NDP projects. And the principle architect of the NDP, Trevor Manuel, has left politics.

Now some would say that SA will drown under the burden of the grant system. That’s not true. The child grant is lost as a 19th birthday present and, unless disabled, only regained at age 65. Those between 19 and 65 have the right to vote, but not much else.

So SA is fast developing a bulging middle of those between 19 and 65.


Now dream into the long term with the help of National Treasury estimates of 2015.


South Africa has to create 9 million new jobs in the next 50 years. And we are making little or no impact on the backlog.

It would appear that only Julius Malema and the EFF are actively campaigning to the younger South Africans. The rest look like old crocks.

Now some say it will take many years for the EFF to achieve an overall majority. But perhaps the glory days of the EFF is far closer than one would think.

If things carry on the way they are for another 5 years many predict that the ANC will lose its overall majority and we will be talking coalition politics.

So if we get to coalition politics will it be the DA or the EFF that does the deal with the ANC?

Whoever does the deal will be the Kingmaker of SA politics and will have a huge say in future policy direction.

Of course today the EFF would vow to never make a deal with the ANC. But 5 years from now is a long time in politics.

  • Rhodes University Professor Matthew Lester was educated at St Johns College, Wits and Rhodes universities. He is a chartered accountant who has worked at Deloitte, SARS and BDO Spencer Steward. A member of the Davis Tax Committee investigating the structure of aspects of the RSA tax system, he is based in Grahamstown.

Source: http://www.biznews.com/matthew-lester/2016/05/10/matthew-lester-3-images-turn-dreams-nightmares-uncertainty/