SPEND ON THE POOR
Former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa has called for the reorientation of the state’s spending on the poor. He also wants a halt to be put on pumping fortunes into state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and an acceleration of land settlement.
Phosa, in an interview with City Press at his Bryanston office, said the state should reallocate the resources it uses for continuously bailing out parastatals to pro-poor programmes.
“I think the state should reorientate its spending towards the poor. I don’t care about the rich – they can look after themselves. But the poor – what must you do; you define them out of education. That’s not right, you define them into education because then you have a workforce that is not illiterate, and that is productive as well,” said Phosa, who is being touted as a possible presidential candidate.
Phosa said channelling billions of rands into SOEs as bailouts was equivalent to “rewarding disasters”, and that that money should be used for education. “Put pressure on those inefficiencies. Do not fund inefficiencies,” he said.
He added that he believed the impatience of the born-free generation was a good thing. “Each generation defines the frontiers of its liberation. The youth feels that what we defined before does not meet today’s expectations,” he said.
Turning to land, Phosa, said he realised land settlements were slow and that the state budget allocation was not adequate to meet the requirements of these settlements.
“What would make it faster? I don’t know, but it is slow. You don’t need emotional decisions about land – you need rational decisions,” he said, adding that 70% of land transferred to people in Limpopo was not being used productively because those transfers were not accompanied by support on how to make it productive.
“Accelerate what exists. Bring in efficiencies at provincial level so that the land that goes to the people is accompanied by capacity-building.”
Meanwhile, in a hard-hitting keynote speech delivered at the Junior Indaba in Johannesburg this week, Phosa was adamant that there should be consequences for those who do crime – if you steal money, you must go jail.
He was responding to a question by Junior Indaba chairperson Barnard Swanepoel, who asked: “In the ANC, where Mathews Phosa is in a leadership role, are there special deals for corrupt politicians to go to Dubai or do they go to jail?” – referring to a City Press report last month about an email trail between the controversial Gupta family and their employees. The report blew the lid off how they managed to do business with government, ingratiate themselves with senior officials and go so far as to help relocate President Jacob Zuma and his family to Dubai.
“It is debatable, but I think there should be no immunity. Those who steal money, and there are many, I think they must go to jail. That is where they belong,” he said.
Phosa confirmed this week that he was in the running to be ANC president at the ANC elective conference in December. “We need to fix this country and fix it quickly,” he said.
Phosa, who said he had mining interests, said during his speech that government and the ANC had been unable and unwilling to address “deeply embedded corruption”.
“South Africa is in dire need of dramatic political and economic change. At the very least, we need a new political leadership, changes in our economic policy, urgent changes in our education system, and consensus between all stakeholders on how we revive the rainbow spirit in our nation.”
“The president has raped the economy. What we have seen under this president is radical economic looting,” Phosa said, parodying Zuma’s “radical economic transformation” slogan.
“After apartheid, I regard the Zuma-Guptastan as the worst crime against the people of South Africa.
“The ANC has lost its way completely ... We are about to commit suicide.
“We need to change course. We have moved away from the values of the ANC as we know it to something else that we don’t know.”
IN FAVOUR OF EDUCATION Mathews Phosa