Why South Africa's economy will not get any better

There is a worn out old saying that states: "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." And in South Africa there is no more relevant a saying than this.

Watching President Cyril Ramaphosa announce his new cabinet via a televised press conference last night, I couldn't help but wonder if the president really believes that his 'leaner and meaner' group of new ministers will actually achieve the lofty targets of prosperity envisaged in the National Development Plan [NDP]?

Late at night, when he (the President) is lying awake in bed - does he honestly think that moving around a few posts here and there and playing the political games that all politicians do is really going to create a new South African economic dawn; where poverty, inequality and indebtedness is eradicated, and in its place will emerge a unified, happy, safe, prosperous country where everyone works together for the collective good of us all.

There is a worn out old saying that states: "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." And in South Africa there is no more relevant a saying than this.

The South African culture - formed and moulded over centuries of colonialism, entitlement, exploitation and abuse - is one where the people of this country are divided, distrusting of each other, unequal and very much happy to stay in the preordained box into which they were born into. Many South Africans actively deny that this kind of divisive mindset even exists, but those honest enough to own their self awareness will be fully aware of what I'm referring to.

There is very little urgency for those 'who have' to start a brand-new, heart-felt crusade to now try and include those that 'have never had'. We're not even talking about a willingness to give up existing property rights or tangible assets of value in some kind of reparation of past injustices; we are simple referring to the willingness to actively allow inclusive participation. We are unwilling to learn each others languages, customs, ideas and stories, because somehow we just feel more comfortable sticking with our own.

That's our culture and there is no indication that it is about to change anytime soon.

As an innovation practitioner in South Africa - somebody with a track record of being able to produce business growth from the design / redesign of organisational structure and value chains - I've come to accept that the South Africa culture is extremely uncomfortable with change and innovation. We like to keep things as we know them. We like to work and do business with the people that we play golf with. Asking us to step out of that circle is excruciatingly painful. Innovation and innovative-thinking require a culture of detachment from the known and an embracing of uncertainty and vulnerability - the antithesis of what we value and find pride in.

South Africa does not have a culture of inclusive innovation. South Africa does not have a culture of co-creating new visions of the future. South Africa does not have a culture of building equal opportunity for all. And because of that, it is very difficult to see how President Cyril Ramaphosa and his new cabinet are going to change the present path that we are taking into the future and magically produce the economic growth we so desperately need.

It's not impossible for this cultural shift to take place, but at this stage there doesn't appear to be any high-level recognition that it is even needed or exists for that matter.

So as a country we're going to happily throw more good money after the bad, but still we sit with no plausible plan as to how we are going to change things for the better.

I wish the president luck with his 5-year term of office, along with the new ministers and deputies, but can't for the life of me see how they are going to produce the results that we so badly want.