Moeletsi Mbeki, Xolelwa Kashe-Katiya and Jakkie Cilliers gave very different answers to this question, looking at it from diverse angles - and posing further important questions for South Africa.
They were very engaging speakers in a frank, productive dialogue with skilful facilitator Ottilia Maunganidze and a great audience of active participants.
During an insightful discussion, they all shared crucial insights.
Great speakers contributed to the debate carried live on several platforms:
* Moeletsi Mbeki, Deputy Chairman, South African Institute of International Affairs
* Jakkie Cilliers, Chairperson of the ISS Board of Trustees and Head of African Futures & Innovation, ISS
* Xolelwa Kashe-Katiya, Director, Project Management, Mistra, South Africa
Ottilia Anna Maunganidze, Head, Special Projects, ISS, provided exceptional facilitation as the chair.
Jakkie Cillilers, Head of African Futures and Innovation at the ISS, sketched insights from recent research of his team. He outlined the protracted economic crisis South Africa has been facing for years, where low economic growth leads to a decline in average incomes and the country falling further behind its peers. COVID-19 has further escalated the situation of huge inequality and wide-spread poverty.
The long-term forecasts show that a resolute adoption of evidence-based economic policies could set the country on a more hopeful path, accelerating economic growth and societal development.
Xolelwa Kashe-Katiya, Program Director at the Mapubgubwe Insitute, called for strong leadership to facilitate honest conversations and an inclusion of youth and other marginalised groups into a renewed national project: "When one looks at countries that went into social compacting, it was usually in repsonse to a crisis and I want to argue that we have such a crisis. It requires honest dialogue about race in this country. If that is not happening, we will see continued (protest) . There has to be an greement between the state and citizens on a common vision or common goall"
Moeletsi Mbeki, Deputy Chair of the South African Institute of International Affairs, provided a historic overview of macroeconomic policies the country has seen before and during the Apartheid time and since the onset of democracy in 1994.
He expressed doubt about the feasibility of concluding a promising social compact anytime soon, pointing to historic burdens, different interests of stakeholders and a lack in good governance as well.
His strong views he voiced at the seminar on Black Economic Empowerment and affirmative action as the biggest contributors to corruption - which the country is so seriously suffering from - made headlines.
This was the short video invitation outlining topic and speakers:
Read the insightful News24 article reporting about the event here:
WATCH a recording of the event on the News24 YouTube Channel: