With a turbulent 2017 almost behind us, I suppose all of us will approach this time of the year with an eagerness and glad that the festive season, with its usual holiday atmosphere, family reunions and celebrations, is drawing near and that we can try and relax at least for a while.
UASA had an exceptionally challenging year. On all fronts! While inflation remains within the target range, our hardworking, loyal and committed members kept on losing jobs while economic growth prospects have been adjusted downward at more than one occasion.
At the retirement funds the constant growth in our members’ investments, which we so desperately need on a daily basis, was not forthcoming due to the tremendous fluctuations of the markets as well as an unstable rand, albeit of the fact that we were able to keep the ARV’s (actuarial reserve values) levels of their investments at more or less the same levels. It could have been much worse, so we are thankful for the independent specialists in our midst who made it possible during this financial cycle.
In addition, we are all concerned about issues such as corruption, water shortage, crime, unemployment and the ANC elective conference just around the corner where a newly elected President of the organisation will be elected. Never before in the history of our country has the election of a new President been as important as at this juncture in our history.
We desperately need visionary leadership that can mobilise South Africa Inc. towards working together so that we can get our economy growing again and tackle the scourge of unemployment head-on.
As the festive season approaches, let us spare a moment for the millions among us who cannot afford to make a proper living. Let us count our blessings and encourage one another to confidently tackle 2018 when it finally arrives.
Let us remain hopeful and keep the faith. Relief always comes at a time and fashion when we least expect it. We might not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own. You can make a difference!
In conclusion I wish all UASA’s leaders, the NEC, our staff, our membership and their loved ones a blessed festive season and may you all enjoy a well – earned rest. May you return to work in the New 2018 year with zeal and zest, refreshed and invigorated to tackle the challenges of 2018 head-on with your characteristic diligence and commitment.
Please join me in 2018, let us be courageous and let us never underestimate the importance we can have. May you and your loved ones have a blessed and prosperous 2018!