SPEND ON THE POOR

MATHEWS PHOSA

CityPress - - Business & Tenders - LE­SETJA MALOPE and JUSTIN BROWN le­setja.malope@city­press.co.za

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

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