Is the SA show friend or foe?
ho are the enemies of transformation? This question arises from a slide that was shown at a recent meeting of the Black Management Forum depicting the Institute of Race Relations as “an enemy of transformation”.
The slide was shown by Jimmy Manyi in his capacity as head of the Progressive Professionals’ Forum. The forum is a suspected front organisation for the ANC. It was set up to stop the outflow of black middle class support from the ANC by putting pressure on young, black professionals to align themselves with the party if they wanted to advance in business.
The Institute of Race Relations’ opposition to affirmative action and “empowerment”, as practised by the ANC, is well documented. Our view is that these policies are a means to enrich a small group of politically connected business leaders and corrupt government officials.
They offer nothing to the poor and the unemployed. In fact, in the past two decades, while more than R500 billion was spent on “empowerment deals”, the number of unemployed people rose from 3.6 million to 8.3 million.
What the ANC and Manyi call “empowerment” will not change this. Rather, it is empowerment for the very rich that often comes at the expense of the very poor. It is insulting and deeply racist, considering that the majority of the poor are black.
We must be clear about who the real enemies of transformation are.
They are the companies who pay bribes to win inflated government tenders and so steal an estimated R30 billion a year directly from South Africa’s people.
They are the councillors who appoint their friends and family to senior jobs while water pumps break down and refuse is not collected.
They include the business leaders who say they support affirmative action, yet appoint black staff to jobs with no responsibility.
They are the tenderpreneurs who built Nkandla and the officials who gave them the contracts.
They include the policemen who killed the striking mine workers at Marikana, and the officers and politicians who sent them there.
The government officials who ask for bribes from investors – who build their factories in other countries rather than paying a bribe – are enemies of transformation.
So, too, are the nurses who allow patients to die on the street outside public hospitals. The Cabinet ministers who destroy jobs in tourism. The land department officials who delay sound land restitution claims. The cadres who intimidate the Public Protector, threaten the independent media and ignore court orders.
The housing department staff who allow destitute pensioners to die in squalor while government lawyers squabble in courts. And the metro cops who burn hawkers’ stalls.
These are all enemies of transformation and yet each one of them is an example of the ANC’s “transformation” policies in action.
What we need instead are empowerment and affirmative action policies that improve the lives of all South Africans. We must hold existing policies up to scrutiny and insist on better options. Otherwise, South Africa will never achieve redress for the wrongs of apartheid.
Cronje is CEO of the SA Institute of Race Relations he Progressive Professionals’ Forum is an independent, nonracial, non-xenophobic and non-Afrophobic organisation drawing its membership from across all professions with a vision to being the think-tank of South Africa.
The forum is unapologetically and unashamedly pro-ANC. We believe the ANC is the only organisation whose policies and programmes are responsible for the growth of the black middle class, the backbone of this economy.
Enemies of transformation, like the DA, Solidarity, AfriForum, the Free Market Foundation and the SA Institute of Race Relations, continue to undermine our intelligence by making politically correct statements that sound progressive when, in fact, they harbour racist undertones.
They are quick to use the failure of some people as an excuse to generalise and label all black people and the ANC as incompetent and corrupt. They continue to stigmatise race to maintain and exacerbate inequalities for selfish interests.
Some of them, like Solidarity, have taken employment equity cases to court and lost all of them. The court rulings affirmed the credibility of the Employment Equity Act – which was found to be rational and constitutionally sound. The DA uses black people on the front line, yet their policies continue to entrench and protect white privilege.
These enemies of transformation continue to feed a false and tired narrative that posits a view that broad-based
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at R1.50 black economic empowerment benefits a few connected elite. This is despite abundant evidence to the contrary.
Leon Louw of the Free Market Foundation was rudely awoken by his own research team to the following facts:
The number of black people earning more than R400 000 a year grew 1 000%, from 120 000 to 1.2 million, between 2000 and last year; 90% of these are in the private sector.
The black middle class grew 333%, from 1.8 million to 6 million.
Between 1996 and 2011, total black disposable income grew 370%, from R161 million to R756 million, and personal income grew 300%. There are more middle class blacks in formerly white suburbs than the entire white population.
Black literacy is up 50% since 1994. Youth illiteracy is nearly nonexistent at 4%. Black life expectancy defied Aids and rose from the age of 53 to 60 in five years between 2006 and 2011. Private schools are 72% black, and blacks have more than half of all degrees. Blacks living on less than $2 a day fell from 16% to 2.5% since 1996. You be the judge.
The Progressive Professionals’ Forum does not condone the ridiculous overpricing by certain black service providers who give ammunition to the doomsayers.
It is crucial, however, to underline the defectiveness and unconstitutionality of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act – which failed to fulfil its intended objective of empowering the historically disadvantaged by creating categories of preference.
Instead, the act rewards the lowest price as envisaged in section 217 (1) to the detriment of its own founding enactment. This law seeks to marginalise black business and entrench white oligopolies. It must be suspended with immediate effect, and the entire public service must be exempted from it.
Manyi is president of the Progressive Professionals’ Forum