For Mboweni's growth plan to succeed the ANC has to give up certain dogmatic positions that were formulated when 7% growth was the status quo, writes Adriaan Basson.
As the ruinous
and divisive presidency of Jacob Zuma continues, killing off the fractured ANC
and decimating the beleaguered economy, it is also imposing onto the next
administration a thankless task.
that will take over the reins in June 2019, whether it’s run by the
increasingly buoyant opposition or not, will have no space to breathe. There
will be no honeymoon. By that time, Zuma’s ANC faction will have almost
completed his multifaceted ruin of our country.
finances will be in a mess. It will be back to mid-1990s scenario when the
Nelson Mandela administration took over a country that was literally broke
because the outgoing government of FW De Klerk had allowed public debt to escalate
as investments slowed due to apartheid sanctions.
book, A History of Inequality in South
Africa: 1652 – 2002, the academic Sampie Terreblanche remarked: “By
allowing government’s debt to escalate as sharply as it did, the De Klerk
government was guilty of reckless white plundering in the final years of white
worked hard, implementing unpopular fiscal policies, the Nelson Mandela and
Thabo Mbeki administrations brought the country’s balance sheet to a sound
footing. As a result, the government was able to expand the social grant system
that Minister Bathabile Dlamini wants to collapse.
the beneficiary of sound macro-economic management. He inherited a country with
a sound balance sheet. It was slowly rolling back poverty while growing the
black middle class. It was due to the policies of his predecessors that Zuma
had money to divert to create a bloated Cabinet.
fiscal base has dramatically evaporated. Government’s power over its own
finances is also in decline. With Zuma at the helm, South Africa will be
technically bankrupt by 2019.
apartheid government was guilty of reckless white plundering, Zuma is guilty of
reckless Gupta plundering. The Guptas, an Indian family that arrived in South
Africa in 1993, in time to hijack government and usurp the power of voters, are
the primary beneficiaries of Zuma’s rule.
have done in South Africa, with Zuma opening the doors for them, would have
been impossible in any self-respecting democratic country. They probably think all
South Africans are fools led by a fool-in-chief that we call our democratically
to usurping the power of ordinary voters by buying Zuma, they are waging a
fight with some of the most powerful South African business people – from
Rupert to Oppenheimer. They have taken up opportunities that should be given to
black South Africans in state-owned enterprises.
also threatening the financial stability of the country by waging a war on
sound banking regulations. And if they aren’t landing their wedding jet on our
military airbase, they are secured by military vehicles at their Saxonwold
By 2019, South
Africa will be indebted to some nuclear power that would have advanced a loan
government to build nuclear reactors that will benefit a Gupta-owned uranium mine.
The new administration will have the task of fighting to undo the nuclear deal.
The age of
austerity will return. Public expenditure cuts will be imposed by the largest
creditors. By that time, maybe the creditors will be the much-dreaded
International Monetary Fund or World Bank, who knows? Even the emerging Brics
Bank will not advance free loans. It too will demand fiscal discipline.
be no money for poverty alleviation programmes. More so because, thanks to the
credit downgrades caused by Zuma and applauded by ANC figures like Nomvula
Mokonyane and Collen Maine, a huge chunk of the budget is already servicing
that remains of investor confidence will have deteriorated as the full impact
of the credit downgrades will have materialised. Public and private sector
companies are already being downgraded, reducing their capacity to expand.
investments and expansion of production, jobs will not be created and there
will be no additional tax revenue for the state. Social expenditure will shrink
as social needs expand.
It will be
hard to convince the poor to wait while the new government fixes the fiscal
mess caused by Zuma. They will demand delivery. They will organise service
delivery protests. It will be messy.
will struggle to perform its basic constitutional duties including safety and
security. The government will find it difficult to keep close to a million and
a half civil servants on state payroll. Faced with militant unions and
political instability, it won’t be easy to retrench. Political tension will
in state institutions will diminish further. The new administration will have
to start afresh. Having witnessed the Zuma havoc machinery in full swing, it
will be hard to convince citizens to trust state institutions.
cynicism has been planted among citizens. This cynicism will have to be
converted to healthy democratic cynicism so that mistrust is directed at
politicians, not state institutions. And it will be at that moment that trust
will be crucial to ensure the restoration of the rule of law, respect for state
regulations including civic duties such as payment of rates and taxes.
or recall is urgent to minimise the task of the next administration to fix the
mess he has caused. The longer he stays, the more difficult it will be to
- Mpumelelo Mkhabela is a fellow at the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) at the University of Pretoria.Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.
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