Maimane a poster boy of white privilege

2016-01-07 08:21

Mmusi Maimane will today launch yet another electioneering billboard in the centre of Johannesburg just as he did in 2013 ahead of the 2014 national elections. He launched a similar billboard with fanfare denouncing Black Economic Empowerment as not useful in job creation. In the 2013 billboard Maimane declared that for the economy to be fully representative, blacks must only enter it if they will create jobs or else it should be left as is with 9% white population controlling 97% of economic activity in South Africa. Our inequality shocked the global expert on inequality.

Maimane conflates transformation of the economy, the erasing of racial patterns of ownership with economic growth. Black Economic Empowerment has two sections to it, to transform a racial economy and to grow it. Maimane prefers only the latter and calls the former corruption.

This time around, the billboard to be unveiled by Maimane will, as he promises, show just how bad the jobs sector has been since 2009, the President Zuma years.

As propaganda would, the billboard will certainly not mark the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, 2009 ensuing Global Recession, 2013 Euro Zone Crisis, Emerging Market Constraints, Fragile Five currency war, Chinese slowdown, US Fed QE and now US Fed increase of interest rate.

These incidents shuttered the world and our customers abroad. It also caused for less foreign currency in our system which in turn put pressure on our own currency.

All the aforementioned ought to have seen South Africa at negative growth but somehow the interventions by Government managed to see country not entering into recession. Many of these include amongst others direct financial support by DTI to the car manufacturing industry, youth wage assistance, sophisticated machinery import assistance etc. The improved capital spending by Government has also acted as a stimulus into the economy. This made it possible to have a potential 1.4% growth projection as the World Bank continuously cut its global projection for growth.

South Africa, under the global circumstances and more importantly under its country customers strain has done satisfactorily. It is simple, you can not hope to make money if your customer is broke or in financial trouble. That is the scenario the country finds itself. When England goes to austerity, they buy less or nothing from us. South Africa's woes are compounded by the state of our region. Without a sound Zimbabwe, Mozambique we are to face hardship.

FDI has been bolstered in 2015 with over R130 billion, the first ever such amount in the history of the continent, committed to one country. These include Mercedez Benz, BMW and a slew of Chinese investments. Maimane's billboard will not show this.

What then is the problem?

South Africa's private sector which continues to be overwhelmingly white is on an undeclared investment strike. The sector as the Reserve Bank has reported is hoarding R800 billion in cash in banks, unused and unproductive. Research shows this money could be best used in improving wages, paying dividends to shareholders, investing in market expansion and research and creating employment.

Current growth is owed to government intervention, the private sector is outward focussed.

South Africa also has 1 million job vacancies that remain unfilled. 80% of these are in the private sector. Filling of these vacancies will eradicate unemployment altogether and have South Africa being a net importer of skills. Each job vacancy filled is a force multiplier by 3-6. We are well aware of Maimane's stance of Employment Equity. Like Black Empowerment, he does not want it for blacks to fill jobs saying race should not matter even when you are trying to undo damage of the past.

It is not farfetched to claim that the employers of South Africa due to historical reasons are members and supporters of Maimane's DA. His persuasion is needed wherein he invites his members to put country first and fill the vacancies they have whilst spending the cash they are hoarding.

The two major issues against South African progress are cash over hoarding and Jobs vacancies unfilled.

The ANC should immediately look into anti corporate cash hoarding laws and create disincentives for corporations to hoard cash. These laws must be immediately introduced by Minister Pravin Gordhan to enable country to be fired up. The easing of any exchange controls can not take place under the circumstances.

As Maimane unveils his propaganda billboard, the majority of South African are starting to see him as a walking billboard of white privilege.

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