Cape Town – "Your intention with radical economic transformation, Mr President, has merit but your approach is flawed."
This is how Mangosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), typified President Jacob Zuma’s insistence on radical economic transformation when delivering his 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Thursday.
Buthelezi was critical of the ANC-led government’s abandonment of a number of economic policies in the past, such as Gear (Growth, Employment and Redistribution), which was introduced in 1996 and Asgisa (the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa), which was steered under former President Thabo Mbeki.
"These policies weren’t flawed, but the ANC abandoned them," Buthelezi said. "Maybe you’ll one day also say that the NDP (National Development Plan) was flawed. Already some of your tripartite alliance partners are of the view that the NDP doesn’t work."
Buthelezi said "evidently" Zuma regards white monopoly capital is the impediment to growth. "But if we shift our focus from growth to redistribution many South Africans will go hungry. There’s simply not enough to go around."
He urged Zuma and his government to rather focus their policy efforts on growth. "We need to grow our economy and workforce through skills and development," Buthelezi said.
Bantu Holomisa, leader of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) said in his speech the progress made in the past 22 years was marred by an increase in the politics of patronage, high unemployment, lack of development, widening inequality and chronic poverty.
Holomisa further said his party believes that no individual political party has the ability to provide sustainable solutions to South Africa’s problems.
The ANC’s policies lack coherence and is threatening investor confidence, Holomisa said.
"We therefore resolve to in prep for 2019 have a consultative conference which will be open to all citizens to take stock of 22 years of democracy, identify areas of intervention for meaningful economic transformation and develop mechanisms to root out corruption," he said.