LETTER: Zuma not only issue – Business Day, 21 September 2016

The cadre deployment policy that enables corruption retains the support of many of Zuma’s critics. Racial preferencing laws that increase the costs of goods and services and allow inexperienced people to be promoted to jobs they cannot do will not be repealed when Zuma goes.

By Frans Cronje

IT HAS become popular to publicly "call" for President Jacob Zuma’s resignation. But the idea that his departure will fundamentally reverse the corruption, ineptitude, weak economic performance, erosion of the rule of law and official indifference to suffering that blight our country is naive. SA’s problems lie very much deeper.

The cadre deployment policy that enables corruption retains the support of many of Zuma’s critics. Racial preferencing laws that increase the costs of goods and services and allow inexperienced people to be promoted to jobs they cannot do will not be repealed when Zuma goes. A number of his critics are strong proponents of the labour market regulations that price poor people out of work. Many go further to also support the raft of laws that threaten property rights and so deter new fixed investment.

Contempt for the rule of law and the Constitution is also not something that infected the government and the ruling party only when Zuma came to power. The HIV and AIDS policies of the Thabo Mbeki government are a benchmark for official indifference to the plight of poor people.

The only call worth heeding is for a fundamental reworking of SA’s policy framework to scrap cadre deployment, repeal racial preferencing laws, deregulate the labour market and secure property rights.

Match that with a hybrid constituency-based electoral system that makes half of our MPs directly accountable to their constituents, and SA has a good chance of staging an economic and governance reversal.

Short of that, the future is likely to remain a variation on the themes of the past decade — sometimes a bit better and often a lot worse.

Frans Cronje
CEO, Institute of Race Relations

Read the letter on Business Day here.

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