Speech by Kanthan Pillay at the launch of the Capitalist Part of South Africa (ZACP), Rand Club, Johannesburg, 17 March 2019
Good morning. Welcome to the Rand Club.
The Rand Club is almost as old as Johannesburg itself. The gold rush of June 1884 triggered a massive influx of gold diggers into the area.
The city was founded in 1886 and the club itself was established a year later after Cecil John Rhodes strolled through what was then Marshall’s Township, stopped at the intersection of Loveday and Commissioner, and declared “This place will do for a club”.
This is a symbolic choice for us gathering here today.
This place was built from the riches of what became, and still is, Africa’s financial capital.
The Anglo Boer War (or the South African War as some of us still refer to it) ripped the fabric of this country apart. At the end of that devastation, this club stood as a symbol of British triumph.
Most of us gathered here today would not have been allowed through these doors other than as hired help if we were blacks, Jews, Afrikaners, coolies….
And yet, today, as one ascends the staircase of the Rand Club into this room, the Armoury, where firearms of the era still festoon the walls, it is a portrait of Nelson Mandela which greets us while the Queen of England’s looks on from the sidelines to where she has been relegated. My car parked outside bears a Rand Club membership decal on the windshield.
This should be a triumphant moment, symbolizing the end of colonialism and apartheid and that all of us gathered here today should do so as equals in a prosperous land.
But that is not the case. Today, we gather in darkness. There is a generator on the balcony outside burning diesel so that we may continue this gathering as planned. On a Sunday morning when the city and its businesses lie dormant with reduced demand on the grid, we have no electricity.
The absence of electricity that brings our economy to a grinding halt almost every single day is the most visible manifestation of a country that is now a failed state.
And the reason why we have reached this point is that we are victims of crime.
All of us in this wonderful nation are victims of crime. But the crime I speak of is not the crime of Marikana, or the crime of Life Esidemeni, or the crime of Nkandla, or the crime of State Capture. This is a crime of the most insidious nature; because we are not aware that it is taking place.
Every one of us in this country pays taxes, one way or another. For almost all of us, this comes in the form of VAT, of fuel levies, of motor vehicle licencing fees, of road tolls. In addition, our companies pay corporate taxes. And the single biggest contribution to our tax base comes from the middle class — every person who earns R6 500 per month or more.
And here is the crime. For every R100 rand that we contribute, our government spends R34 rand paying themselves.
Remember the days when you would go to school in the morning and the school bullies would be lined up to steal some of your pocket money every day? That’s exactly what happens to us now — R34 out of every R100 we taxpayers contribute goes to the public service wage bill.
I suspect many of us would have no problem paying 34 rand out of every 100:
- if we had hospitals that worked without killing babies through infection,
- if we had police who can defend us instead of needing to pay ADT to protect themselves,
- if we had preservation of our water supply instead of sewage flowing into the Vaal Dam,
- if we had public transport systems to allow us to get to and from work safely and quickly so that we may spend time with our families instead of four hours a day or more commuting with most of our income spent on transport.
But none of these things work. And they are never going to work if we continue down this path.
And this is all our fault.
Our best and brightest with top class marks go on to become doctors, scientists, engineers who can hold their own with the best of the rest of the world.
The next tier become MBAs, CEOs, lawyers, chartered accountants, academics.
Then we have artisans, mineworkers, construction workers, autoworkers, all of who do real things on a daily basis with real skills.
Even gardeners know what plants need sun, and which need shade.
Even domestic workers who know the intricacies of operating complicated machinery like Korean dishwashers and microwave ovens.
But who do we send to parliament?
Ask yourself: of the 400 people we elect to the National Assembly every five years, how many of them would be able to quit parliament tomorrow and get jobs in the private sector which would pay them as much as they currently earn?
We pay 400 people more than a million rand per year per person, and they are largely unemployable.
They have never created a business, but they want to tell us how to run businesses.
They have never created a single job, but they want to interfere with how we create jobs.
These are people who do not know how to change a tyre, but want to spend our money on an airline that most of us will never fly.
These are people who insist that a working mother taking home R5000 a month must pay her caregiver R2000 per month.
They send their kids to private schools, but they spend our money on schools where teachers cannot read, write, or count; where teachers impregnate pupils and no one gets convicted for statutory rape.
Schools where five year olds die in the most terrifying manner possible — by literally drowning in shit.
It was this picture, which I saw almost exactly a year ago, of five year old Lumka Mketwa on her first day of school. She had her whole life ahead of her. Instead, her lifeless body was pulled from the stinking morass of a pit toilet.
I’m a father with daughters; my youngest is three years old; and when I look at this picture, I see my children with their lives ahead of them cut short by the collective incompetence of the 400 people we have sent to parliament.
And I realised then that it is time to put an end to the tyranny of incompetence.
We need to fix this. And the only way to fix this is for those of us who actually know how to make things work stand up and say, “get out of the way, we’ve got this.”
It is harder than one would think. It is easy to persuade incompetent people to come on board in exchange for the possibility of a large salary. But competent people, strangely enough, are not driven by money. They are driven by passion for their vocation, and the monetary reward that follows is a consequence of that passion.
How does one persuade a brilliant young scientist filing patents for groundbreaking technology to give up her career and pursue politics? Or a lawyer in Johannesburg to give up time with his partner and children to commute to Cape Town?
So we needed to find people who are able to commit themselves to National Service without sacrificing their passion at the same time.
My first discussion was with Roman Cabanac and I met the following day with Neo Kuaho. Roman is a legal consultant who works independently and Neo is a serial entrepreneur, which leaves them both with time to devote to our project.
Our task was to find people who know how to make things work, and to recruit them to our cause.
Who are the people who know how to make things work? There is a collective noun for us.
We are capitalists.
South Africa is a capitalist country. The street vendor is a capitalist. The spaza shop owner is a capitalist. The minibus taxi driver owner is a capitalist. The factory owner is a capitalist. The farm owner is a capitalist. The mining boss is a capitalist. The woman who sets up a creche in a traffic island in Alexandra is a capitalist. And all of us capitalists come together to create jobs and prosperity for all of us.
Capitalism has unleashed the biggest wave of prosperity in the history of the human race.
By embracing capitalism, the people of South Korea are 17 times wealthier than the people of North Korea and they are on average 15 cm taller because of better nutrition from being able to afford better food.
By embracing capitalism, Russia will shortly overtake the UK in the size of its economy.
By unleashing capitalism on its economy, China is every single month pulling one million people out of poverty.
But here, in our beautiful South Africa, politicians have turned capitalism into a swear word. They make us feel guilty for working hard to improve our lives. And this guilt allows us to let them steal money from hardworking families and use the money for corruption.
We are turning that around. We are saying that if you are a taxpayer or if you employ someone and pay them or if you provide a service which people pay for, you are a capitalist and you should be proud of what you do to grow our country.
And what better name for a political party than to use the name that they have hurled at us as an insult, year after year?
And what of our symbol? Cattle are the most visible symbol of wealth for all of sub-Saharan Africa. Purple is the colour of prosperity. And in the words of Seth Goddin, “the only way to cut the hyper-clutter of products and advertising today is to innovate something new, unique and remarkable – like a purple cow.”
And so, my fellow South Africans, I am proud to introduce to you to the Capitalist Party of South Africa — the ZACP
Roman Cabanac – Legal consultant and co-host of South Africa’s most downloaded podcast, The Renegade Report, which discusses politics, global affairs and political ideology. He has a keen interest in political strategy and messaging, with the express focus on property rights, freedom of speech and the deepening of democracy.
Neo Kuaho – After qualifying as a software engineer and developer at Tshwane University of Technology, he has been a successful serial entrepreneur as founder and managing director of Letshoao IT Consulting as well as YDIDI (“Youth Development through Investigation & Dissemination of Information”). He is known for his 4th Industrial Revolution (FIR / 4IR) programme aimed at tech curious and inclined youth intent on building and fulfilling sustainable careers in this space.
Gideon Joubert – holds a degree in Economics from the University of South Africa, and is an airline captain by profession. He has been involved in the South African firearm ownership debate since 2014, and sees the issue as an inseparable component of civil rights in general. He is owner and editor of Paratus, a firearm ownership and information website.
Unathi Kwaza – After studying for Higher Diploma in Food Technology at Cape Peninsula University of Technology and working for a time in the food industry in Quality Control and Quality Assurance, started her own business in 2008 in direct sales and marketing. Assisted a non profit called INENG (Independent Entrepreneurship Group) working with small business owners looking at government policies that create unwanted red tape for SMEs. Currently a businesswoman based in Khayelitsha, Cape Town and board member of the Free Market Foundation.
Duncan McLeod – Founder and editor of the South African technology website TechCentral. A former technology editor of the Financial Mail, McLeod has won numerous awards for his writing. He is a classical liberal who believes that individual liberty and the market economy are key to resolving South Africa's challenges.
Sindile Vabaza – An aspiring economist with a BA in Communications and Psychology through Unisa, founded a tech company called Hand2Hand Applications. Also a freelance writer.
Louis Nel – Consumer champion at Louis Nel Blog. nodeJS developer and blockchain enthusiast.Works with consumer-related issues and how technology will disrupt industries by disintermediating traditional middlemen.
Katlego “KG” Mabusela —entrepreneur, business and life coach, professional speaker, radio presenter and author. With over 10 years of entrepreneurial and personal development expertise, he has shared these insights with audiences for blue-chip companies including ACSA, ABSA Capital, SEDA and HP.
Dumo Denga – Has a Masters in Business Science Founder of the ManPatria podcast and a firm believer in free speech and free markets.
There are ten of us. You may look at this picture and ask what we have in common? What we have are ten core principles that bind us together.
These ten core principles are Liberty, Equality, Freedom of speech, private property rights, rule of law, right to work, right to safety and security, free markets and international free trade, Firearms for self-defence, Fraternity.
We believe in the people of our country are tired of manufactured outrage. All of us, irrespective of where we come from, want to live comfortable fulfilled lives leaving our children better off than we were.
We believe that we are the only party that refuses to be held prisoner by the past and knows how to shape the future.
We believe that there enough people among our voters who share these beliefs. They are the 7 million people who were registered for the 2014 elections and simply did not go to the polls because there was no one who spoke to those beliefs.
To you, we say, take a leap of faith. Get out of bed on 8 May, go to the polls, and put your cross next to the purple cow on the national ballot.
When we get into parliament, we will campaign relentlessly for the ten plans we have outlined.
We will promise to give you feedback every week on our YouTube channel as to exactly what progress we have made, what the stumbling blocks are, and how you can help us to overcome them.
But before we do any of that, in the words of Steve Jobs, we have one more thing.
In recognition of the fact that 34 percent of our taxes go to the public service wage bill, the first piece of legislation we will table in parliament, will call for a 34 percent reduction in salaries across the board for all members of parliament, ministers, and the president as a show of our resolve to cut government expenditure and rebuild the economy.
We know the people of South Africa support us in this. We call on all other parties to join us in this initiative.