2014-04-21 15:55

South Africa faces the pressing problems of unemployment, poverty, material inequality, poor service delivery, failing education and health systems, and a sluggish economy. It still remains unclear where the ANC is taking the country on key policy matters such as state intervention in the economy, fixing the education system and land reform. In the 20th year in democracy it is clear that at this juncture the ANC government is unable to provide the kind of inclusive and cohesive leadership required to solve the country’s main challenges.

The most economically successful countries have had periods of ‘inclusive leadership’ where the head of the country has managed to bring together disparate groups to work together towards the betterment of the country. Unfortunately, the current ANC government continues to fail us in that regard. With regards to minerals resources, freedom charter states it very clear that minerals belong to the people as a whole and should be governed by the democratic developmental state in the interests of all South Africans. Nationalisation of mines and other strategic sectors of the economy should have a developmental impact and promote job creation. The state should also capture an equitable share of mineral resource rents and deploy them in the interests of long-term economic growth, development and transformation.

There is undoubtedly a connection between political freedom and economic freedom. If a government places equal opportunity above freedom, then it must infringe upon the liberties of individuals. Furthermore, a society of economic freedom requires a robust, resilient, courageous, principled and decisive leadership that will bring together the range of stakeholders in South Africa to solve the country’s challenges, such as those pertaining to the economy and health and to education, will provide a foundation that will drive the country into a new era in governance. In addition, such a path has the capability to ignite institutional transformation that will contribute to reviving the country’s sluggish economy. Indeed, all South Africans deserve the dignified and prosperous life aspired to in the constitution and the ANC leadership has had a duty to carry out that mandated  but failed to deliver that to the citizens of this country. What they have done is to reduce us to praise singers, undermining the foundations of our democracy, by treating citizens as if they are chess pieces. We are human beings, all with real hopes and desires.

20 years of democracy has shown, that their approach to development has failed to meet the expectations of South Africans. What it has done is to enhance the ability of ANC politicians and civil servants to turn governance structures into instruments of plunder to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor people. More important is the fact that, throughout these years in power, ANC government has failed to change the electoral system. The one-party state system failed to enhance the ability of South Africa’s post-independence government to create jobs, economic transformation effectively and deal with poverty other critical societal problems. Instead, it stunted political development and enhanced the ability of state custodians to engage in opportunism and enrich themselves through extra-economic means. The increased levels of poverty, collapsing health and education system, lack of employment and the inability of these economies to create the wealth that they needed to meet their needs and deal effectively with societal problems. As South Africans began life in the new democratic state, poverty, unemployment, health system, education system, lack of service delivery, corruption  and inequality have become pervasive throughout the  country and threaten to derail any efforts at building viable and sustainable governance systems.

This one-party state system is used effectively by the incumbent government to suffocate civil society and monopolize all aspects of governance. Moreover, massive state control of economic activities enhanced the ability of state custodians to engage in nepotism, corruption, and rent seeking. Government intervention in private exchange also stunted indigenous entrepreneurship, discouraged wealth creation, and significantly impoverished the masses.

In conclusion, I believe that a Young generation who aspire to be economically liberated will  realise an ideal South Africa is about us South Africans uniting irrespective of our colour and gender to solve our own problems. Of course this is not an easy task given that we can’t exactly take out the uncomfortable issues in the equation such as corruption and colour of one’s skins. But that said, I remain a believer! Yes I believe we South Africans can beat poverty and corruption. I believe we have it in us to show one another compassion. Most importantly, I believe we have it in us to show the ANC government that the whole collectivism ideal is not a myth but a reality that can be realised by remembering that true service is about serving others.

The new government  of the people is needed to engage in an aggressive war against corruption, poverty and deal with other societal problems, such as illiteracy, pervasive unemployment (especially among the youth), skills development, health and education system- and that will require a more activist role for the state. As part of its activist role, the state should also be expected to use its regulatory powers to redistribute income and wealth in an effort to eliminate existing inequalities and inequities in the distribution of resources.

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