Zuma’s 'radical economic transformation' is for his friends, not the poor and jobless
23 January 2017
President Jacob Zuma’s call for national government to rapidly speed up “radical economic transformation” is anything but “radical”, as the ANC government’s current plans only exist to empower the already enriched, and do little for the almost 25 million poor, jobless and dependent South Africans who are still economic outsiders.
South Africa is divided into two worlds: those who are part of the economy, and have access to wealth and resources, and those who are not. To merely re-empower the ANC connected elite is not the silver bullet for this dilemma. Rather, it serves only to cement the status quo of an insider/outsider economy, while further ostracizing poor, unemployed and hopeless South Africans who remain left out.
Our economy does not need a facelift, it needs an overhaul, and it’s high time the ANC comes to realise this point. At present, 16 million people in our country are dependent on the welfare of the state, and a further 9 million are without a job. That’s 25 million South Africans who are left out. Empowering those individuals, economically, is true radical transformation. Until we create an economic environment whereby those 25 million South Africans have access to the economy, transformation remains cosmetic and ineffectual.
It is the poor who need help. It is the unemployed, the shack dwellers, the subsistence farmers, the social grant recipients, the single mothers, the child-headed households and the homeless who rely on government for their survival. And they have been let down, because government’s plan has done very little, if anything at all, to ensure they become part of our inclusive economy.
Economic transformation which is truly radical would see the economy being opened up to those who have been left out. It would create an enabling environment for growth by investing in economic infrastructure. it would provide direct incentives for job creation as well as making sure that labour laws support job creation. It would support small businesses as the primary medium for growth, as well as support redress that truly empowers those previously left out – and not the already enriched and well connected.
Until the ANC government radically transforms its approach to the economy, any talk of meaningful economic transformation is empty rhetoric.
Issued by Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance , 23 January 2017