LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Pacts and protests lack the power for change

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Union Buildings in Pretoria. (Gallo Images, file)
Union Buildings in Pretoria. (Gallo Images, file)

As government struggles to recover from the pandemic, it should perhaps consider a government of national unity to get it back on track, writes David Gant.


William Gumede's erudite and persuasive call for social compacts between government, business and civil society is appealing, but it is doubtful that pacts will have the power to extricate our country from the crisis that it finds itself in. Nor for that matter would street protests as called for by many citizens in and on media platforms. They are rarely fully supported in these Covid fatigued times.

What South Africa needs is an active government that can take the right decisions and implement them urgently, confidently and powerfully without fear or favour and concern for internal party factional or mindless electoral push back.

A Government of National Unity could do this.

Typically, this type of government comes about when a nation has suffered the ravages of some sort of war and has come to the realisation that recovery and restoration cannot be left in the hands of one partisan political party, albeit the majority one, and requires a wider consensus decision making and implementation establishment - that is to say, a Cabinet, made up of the best possible leaders from across the political, business and civil society spectrum.

Such a Cabinet could grasp the nettle that is crippling South Africa as opposed to the grasping at straws that characterises the ANC government.

South Africa has been and still is in a war against disease, racism, poverty, crime, corruption, incompetence and national illiquidity, if not bankruptcy. The ANC led government has proved beyond doubt that it cannot on its own and with its current weak Cabinet win this war.

President Ramaphosa has the ability to forge a Government of National Unity. As a start and as an example, the appointment of a Minister of Public/Private Sector Partnerships and Privatisation, drawn from the banking sector, say, and with a mandate to partially or fully privatise our SOE's within two years would not only relieve us of the wordy but ineffective current Minister of Public Enterprises and establish commercially efficient enterprises, but also pour billions into our empty state coffers.

There are many such examples of how the President could structure a new widely representative Cabinet that could responsibly and effectively rule, rather than ruin our country and which could  harness the support of the majority of our citizens across traditional political divides.

- David Gant, Kenliworth


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