We have seen our once-established and principled leadership eroded at national and provincial level. Negative defining moments for South Africa were the shootings at Marikana, Nkandla, the case of Omar al-Bashir, economically disruptive load shedding by power utility Eskom, the expansion of the executive to more than 70 members and the removal of Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister, all following in close succession.
The bloated executive structure is costing you and I, as taxpayers, hundreds of millions of rands. All of this at a time when unemployment affects more than 30% of potentially economically active citizens.
Bloated structures like this do not happen without cause. We do not want uncritical citizens who see every criticism as from the enemy or racists. By accommodating friends, acquaintances and hangers-on to use the party as a ladder to positions and wealth, our beloved ANC has weakened itself, the alliance, the economy and the country.
We have created a climate of policy uncertainty, at best, and policy vacuums at worst. External voices fuelled with hungry self-interest have seemingly found a welcome seat at the main table.
BEE has failed. While a few have been empowered, I do not only see endemic unemployment, but rampant poverty and hopelessness wherever I visit. There are those who are punting the development of “black industrialists”, with billions set aside to implement a skewed and misinformed policy that may only have an effect on employment in the distant future. As much as entrepreneurs are not created at will by declaring them, handing out key infrastructure and other tenders to cronies and relatives won’t work either.
Some members of the youth eloquently quote the writings of Karl Marx in attempting to detract from the fundamentals behind poor economic growth. I beg them to look around and read about the failings of socialism in countries such as Poland, the former USSR, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and other nations. The people will not eat slogans. The ANC is not a socialist organisation, never has been and never should be.
We, as the ANC, govern, but run a considerable risk if we forget that we govern on behalf of those who elected us through the ballot box. Government is currently presiding over a struggling economy and, some will argue, a fastapproaching failed state. We were all astonished when Nene was removed in December. Fearless questions need to be raised about our leadership when such actions lead to the global impoverishment of our political and economic currency. We need the facts about these decisions and need them soonest. Unsubstantiated political spin will not keep us from approaching the economic cliff. With the indeterminate effect of the drought and other global economic events, we need to be aware, prepared and ready for what may transpire.
We must be careful that we never argue with those who believe their own distortions.
Recent demonstrations are by far not over in the higher education sector, which is in no shape to take fee write-downs and debt forgiveness. To ensure long-term education and skills delivery, these consistently underfunded institutions need to be strengthened.
The calls for free services will continue and reach a crescendo, as government has made widely popular but economically unsustainable decisions in the past to please the masses. The next time you hear that government has made a decision to fund something, remember that government is 100% taxpayer funded. What right does anyone who pays no taxes have to demand that someone else should pay more? Remember, I am one of the people who pays for all the “free” services. I want to see value for money, economic growth, a bigger tax base, sustainability – and nothing else.
The much-debated National Development Plan (NDP) is not a plan for government, but a plan for society – therefore, for all of us, developed by all of us. Decisive leadership – that is not populist, survivalist and corrupt – must take steps to make the NDP the only national strategy for development.
Criminalising racism will only fill our courtrooms and correctional facilities. It will also lead to further racism and entrench differences in society further. Our leadership must address racism through its actions. When a political leader starts supporting racism by commenting on social media, we are in dangerous territory. Our leadership must be strong in its condemnation but even stronger in