South African productivity

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By Cees Bruggemans, Chief Economist of FNB.

Congested highways into Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban even after 09h00 on workdays, and again on the way out even before 16h00 tell a story about dismal productivity which makes a disappointing 2%-3% growth performance all but inevitable.

In addition, I remember a tale being told about another country where the authorities in charge elected to erect hand railings in the middle of the main corridors at all the main government buildings.

This was done so that those arriving late would not collide with those leaving early, all of it of course at all times happening in the greatest hurry.

A remark this morning suggested the country may be on its way to an experience equivalent to that faced by the UK in 1980, but in our instance without a Thatcher in sight.

These are sobering thoughts, for growth, employment, and social and political stability.

Source: Cees Bruggemans, First National Bank, August 25, 2010.

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