Steady ship needed dur­ing these tur­bu­lent times

Sunday Times - - Business Opinion & Bits -

In “In­for­ma­tion-age con­fu­sion blinds us to real is­sues — and so­lu­tions” (July 8), Ron Derby high­lights un­cer­tainty, par­tic­u­larly the gov­ern­ment’s call for land re­form, which needs clar­ity or the re­sult will be disas­trous.

This is­sue, if not han­dled sen­si­bly, will cause a greater flight of cap­i­tal.

The gov­ern­ment’s claim that only 13% of land is in the hands of black peo­ple is mis­lead­ing — the land owned by mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and the gov­ern­ment is sub­stan­tial. White own­er­ship of farms pro­vid­ing food se­cu­rity and other crops earn­ing valu­able for­eign cur­rency prob­a­bly ac­counts for about 10% of the coun­try’s land mass.

The court rul­ing on the is­sue of BEE share­hold­ing, that once em­pow­ered is al­ways em­pow­ered, of­fered some cer­tainty on the mat­ter, but the gov­ern­ment clam­our­ing for a new Min­ing Charter is fur­ther de­lay­ing in­vest­ment.

The dis­as­ter of Ja­cob Zuma’s ad­min­is­tra­tion will be felt for many years. The lev­els of sovereign debt ran amok. Bell Pot­tinger, hired by the Gup­tas to try to sani­tise their ne­far­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties, helped sow racial di­vi­sions, cre­at­ing slo­gans de­mon­is­ing white mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal — yet with­out it, busi­ness will grind to a halt.

Un­cer­tainty reigns, with fake news play­ing its part and the rul­ing party fail­ing to un­der­stand the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of its poorly ar­tic­u­lated vi­sion, not recog­nis­ing that its past mis­takes are of no help in these times, which re­quire a steady ship in tur­bu­lent waters.

Ted O’Con­nor, Jo­han­nes­burg

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