As crisis deepens, SA must get real

13 July 2021 - Mounting losses in lives and livelihoods and economic damage running to billions of rands are forcing South Africans to confront the harsh but unavoidable reality that only real reform will #SaveTheEconomy and stem looting and pillage in the long term.

Mounting losses in lives and livelihoods and economic damage running to billions of rands are forcing South Africans to confront the harsh but unavoidable reality that only real reform will #SaveTheEconomy and stem looting and pillage in the long term.

The shocking scenes of lawlessness in key centres reflect the desperation of many millions whose poverty, joblessness and despair have robbed them of any hope of a better life, and left them with nothing to lose.
 
For weeks, now, these truths have been front and centre of the Racism Is NOT The Problem (RNTP) movement – an initiative designed to focus attention squarely on the problems that really do matter, and remain the biggest obstacles to a fair, prosperous and stable future.
 
Inescapably, one of the biggest obstacles is race-based policy that fails to help those most in need while benefiting a corruption-prone elite, damages the economy, deters investment, and breeds racial and ethno-nationalist division.
 
It is with this in mind that the RNTP movement has sent letters to leaders in government and business this week challenging them to step up to the plate and scrap BEE.
 
This apartheid-styled racial policy has done irreparable harm to the South African economy, and it must be scrapped if there’s to be any hope of saving the economy.
 
While President Cyril Ramaphosa rightly spoke out against the ethnic division being stoked in recent days, he should remember that he and his party have used these same tactics, and continue to do so.
 
Decades ago, African National Congress leaders insisted that people of any descent qualified as “African” if they lived on the continent. In the years since, however, the governing party has turned the “African” in its name into a term of racial exclusion in order to implement its race-based policy of BEE.
 
The government has also failed to act with purpose in protecting the lives and property of immigrants from elsewhere in the continent and the world, who contribute to the South African economy in the trucking sector, in wholesale and retail, and in the “kasi-economy” more broadly, on which millions depend. Periods of wanton looting repeatedly expose undefended and helpless African immigrants to grave risks.
 
Ultimately, the scenes we have witnessed over the last few days are the product of the ANC’s long use of ethno-nationalism and anti-property rights dogma finally being turned against it by criminals, ideologues, and agents of terror.
 
While BEE was initially intended to uplift those unable to uplift themselves, it has now turned into a tool for a greedy elite to enrich themselves and their associates, damaging rather than improving race relations. BEE has meant that inflated tender contracts, nepotism in appointments, and race hustling have become part of the standard operating procedure in South Africa.
 
It doesn’t need to be that way. The IRR’s alternative empowerment model – Economic Empowerment for the Disadvantaged (EED) – would scrap race as a proxy for disadvantage and, instead of enriching a greedy elite, would deliver help directly to those in need of it.
 
EED would use a means test similar to that used by the social grants system to determine who qualifies as candidates for empowerment, and it would implement a new scorecard for business that would recognise measureable contributions to growth, jobs and upliftment.
 
Our polling shows that South Africans do not believe that BEE is the best way to improve their lives, and that even those it is intended to help do not want it.
 
According to the data:
 

  • 72.8% of South Africans think more jobs and better education are the best means to improve their lives;
  • Just 3.3% of South Africans think more BEE is the best way to improve their lives; and
  • 60.5% of South Africans think appointments should be made on merit with special training for the disadvantaged

 
This is why, against the backdrop of the economic devastation of recent days, we have sent letters to the following leaders challenging them to take a stand against BEE:
 

  • Minister of Employment and Labour
  • Minister of Finance
  • Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
  • Minister of Small Business Development
  • Minister of Tourism, Minister of Trade and Industry
  • CEOs of the five big banks

 
Said director of RNTP Gabriel Crouse: “Everyone who has tried to govern South Africa as a series of groups defined by heritage, whether you call such groups tribes, ethnicities or races, has soon found it to be ungovernable. Only by implementing equality before the law for all people, regardless of descent, will rights be guarded and potential unlocked. If there is a lesson to be had from the mayhem it is that race law’s time is up.”
 
If you would like to add your voice to our campaign and help us #SaveTheEconomy you can do so here.
 
If you would like to find out more about the RNTP movement, click this link.
 
If you would like to read our full report on EED click here.
 
Media contacts: Gabriel Crouse, Director of RNTP – 082 510 0360; gabriel@irr.org.za
 
Duwayne Esau, IRR Campaign Officer – 081 700 0302; duwayne@irr.org.za

© 2020 South African Institute of Race Relations
CMS Website by Juizi

Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | PAIA Manual | Accuracy Guarantee | Sponsors & Donors

m