CityPress - - Voices -

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

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