SA right now - apart from the brawling and the burning that continue unabated - seems and feels like a huge talking shop. We're probably the best exponents of the Churchillian aphorism that to jaw-jaw is better than to war-war. Except we do fight as well.
We're a truly loquacious lot. If some smart alec in search of a quick buck were to come up with a world talking contest, we'd walk it with ease. We're that good at it. Instead of work we talk.
But talking can be useful. We shouldn't disparage it. After all, the Codesa process got us out of a jam when many had given us up for dead. There's a renaissance of these confabs, probably stimulated by President Cyril Ramaphosa who, in his inaugural state of the nation address, reeled off six or seven such summits and conferences and initiatives on jobs, youth unemployment, investment etc. And then there are the commissions of inquiry, which could give the impression of merely kicking the can down the road, postponing things, or a reluctance to take tough decisions.