The untimely death of former Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza has me reflecting on the words 'Only the good die young', immortalised by Billy Joel in 1977, but which can be traced back to a poem written in 1814 by English romantic poet William Wordsworth, called The Excursion: 'The good die first / And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust burn / Burn to the socket.' Searing words.
First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.
Whether 63 is young is relative, but what cannot be debated is that Jabu Mabuza's contribution to the South African business environment, as eloquently outlined in an obituary by Hlubi Xaba, has been cut short.
Mabuza was a self-made man who was equally at home on the street as in the boardroom. He will be remembered for, among other things, standing up for what he believed was right, and helping to mend the broken relationship between business and government.
As South Africans have learnt, a balanced relationship between government and business is required for the welfare of the economy and the nation.
The relationship was tainted by distrust during the Thabo Mbeki era and was left to fester and rot during the...