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 Praat Saam. RSG current affairs programme.

2015-03-18 00:00

From left to right: Ivor Price, Jody Hendricks, Dr Wilhelm Verwoerd, Dr Rhoda Kadalie and Prof Andries Bezuidenhout.

Black people should govern with responsibility and stop blaming apartheid. There are areas all over South Africa where people of different races live together harmoniously. I'd rather focus on the positive aspects of racial integration in the country than being a part of the “race industry” that continuously hammers on division.

These were the sentiments of Dr Rhoda Kadalie, political commentator and director of the Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre, Friday morning on RSG's call-in current affairs programme Praat Saam. Together with Prof Andries Bezuidenhout, industrial sociologist at the University of Pretoria and Dr Wilhelm Verwoerd, who handles conflict resolution at Beyond Walls Ltd, she shed light on the issue of social entrepreneurship.

Dr Kadalie said that a distinction should be made between what politicians and the media say about race and what actually happens on the ground. “I don't agree with the opinion that people do not get along with each other.”

In reaction Dr Verwoerd said that he does not agree. He argued that there is still separation in terms of neighbourhoods. “People may interact socially, but afterwards everyone goes back to their own neighbourhood.”

According to Dr Kadalie however, this is not racism.

Prof Bezuidenhout said that social entrepreneurship essentially entails the application of business principles in order to resolve a social problem in society. There is a big gap however, between production that takes place on ground level and the formal economy. “People produce something, but don't understand the market and how to access it.”

Dr Kadalie said that in the business world people talk about a return on investment. In social entrepreneurship it is referred to as a return on social investment and business principles are used to understand the social value that is created in a community.

“The social return on an investment is for the long term and it takes longer for value to come to the fore. This is compared to the business world where profits must be realised as quickly as possible.”

According to Dr Verwoerd the concept of social capital must be added to this. It involves the building of trust across traditional social boundaries and creating an environment within which successful economic activity can take place. This dimension of trust is often forgotten because of an exclusive focus on economic activities.
Prof Bezuidenthout added that government policy can also help to facilitate this process.

Dr Kadalie noted that South Africa is lagging behind with social entrepreneurship. As one of the Brics countries, social entrepreneurship accounts for 35% of the country's GDP. This compares poorly against Brazil and India where it contributes to 60% of their GDP.
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