The Citizen (KZN)

Radical economic looting

- Sydney Majoko

The chorus of laughter that has been echoing down the corridors of power following South Africa’s second downgrade to economic junk status must have a lot of people throwing their hands in the air in despair, finally confirming what some South Africans have always thought: our rulers are not only intransige­nt, they are downright dumb.

That’s a very simplistic view of things and it does not help in focussing the citizenry on what matters. The strategy from the Jacob Zuma administra­tion has always been: capture Treasury and loot as much as possible in the little time that remains before someone else steps in.

Dudu Myeni, Nomvula Mokonyane and Danisa Baloyi understand perfectly the effects of junk status, but while all of us are marvelling at how simple they must be to applaud this catastroph­ic decision, they know their plans are fully in motion now. There is no longer anyone at Treasury standing in their way.

In their desperatio­n to ensure their looting plans continue unabated they’ve had internatio­nal public relations agencies attack their own comrades using fake Twitter accounts. It was never a coincidenc­e that locally we’ve had a TV station and a newspaper to report on “alternate” news favourable to the government. It was all part of the plan.

That the focus was moved from state capture to the demonisati­on of Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas is no coincidenc­e either. Someone had to be sacrificed, and that someone had to be Gordhan because he stood between the looting in the form of the nuclear deal and the committing of the public purse without explaining anything to the electorate. It is no surprise the deal could be finalised as early as June and the country will be tied down to a contract similar to the arms deal with only Zuma and his inner circle reaping the benefits.

What of the radical economic transforma­tion that is touted as the reason for the ill-thought reshuffle? Well, you tell me. Name just one thing Gordhan stood in the way of that would have benefitted the “poorest of the poor” in whose name this ill-defined radical economic transforma­tion is being pushed down our throats?

South Africa’s economic problems are huge. That we have the world’s worst wealth gap between rich and poor cannot be denied. But our path towards addressing that problem needs to be clearly defined and committing billions (or trillions) to a nuclear build programme does not, in any way, accelerate transforma­tion.

We’ve all been lulled into debating non-issues like whether Gordhan is revolution­ary enough and whether Zuma’s praise singers in the ANC Youth League, the Women’s League and MK Vets understand economics. The point is they do but their agenda requires that they play dumb and preach a philosophy so ill-defined they wouldn’t know what to do if that’s all they had to focus their attention on.

The historical mission and calling to present-day South Africans is a simple one: resist this looting with all our might and ensure that we carve out ways to address that which the looters are claiming as their reasons for all this misrule.

The more we ignore our realities the more they will have to base their lies on.

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