Freedom Day is good; More Freedom Day would be better – IRR

26 April 2022 - The greatest sin of apartheid – judging black people inferior and therefore undeserving – was a crime against freedom: the freedom of South Africans to live where they chose, marry whom they chose, work as they chose, associate with whomever they chose, elect their government and freely express their opinions.

The greatest sin of apartheid – judging black people inferior and therefore undeserving – was a crime against freedom: the freedom of South Africans to live where they chose, marry whom they chose, work as they chose, associate with whomever they chose, elect their government and freely express their opinions.

 That all South Africans now have those rights deserves emphatic recognition and celebration.

But today it is apparent that South Africans would be much better off with more freedom. Hard-won civil liberties and economic freedoms currently under threat include:

  • The freedom to own property and not have it confiscated by the state;
  • The freedom not to be a victim of crime;
  • The freedom to enter into employment without excessive constraints;
  • The freedom to choose a school for your child;
  • The freedom not to have arbitrary state power imposed on you, as was done under the state of disaster.

Much of the progress achieved between 1994 and 2008 has been undermined and reversed. Policies such as cadre deployment, preferential procurement and BEE, and the legislation arising from them, have given bureaucrats more power and enabled the politically connected to accumulate great wealth. But these policies have locked ordinary South Africans out of the job market, diminished their prospects of earning an income and building their own, and the country’s, prosperity, and condemned them to sub-par public services.

South Africa can about-turn, but to do so would require more than mere tinkering at the edges.

IRR CEO John Endres explains: “For the country to realise its promise, property rights need to be protected with iron-clad guarantees. Labour regulations have to be relaxed, the horizontal application of bargaining agreements abandoned and race-based laws eliminated. Parents must be free to choose which school to send their children to. The state has to become serious about keeping South Africans safe from crime, and getting value for money in its procurement processes.”

To fully realise Freedom Day, a sound start would be to reject proposed laws such as the Employment Equity Amendment Bill and the Basic Education Amendment Bill. These would, if adopted, severely restrict South Africans’ freedom to work and to earn a living, and in the latter case further reduce the freedom of parents to choose the best schools for their children.

South Africa has the potential to see meaningful growth and reverse its record-high 35.3% official unemployment rate – but only if better ideas and policies are implemented.


Media contacts: Gabriel Crouse, IRR Head of Campaigns – 082 510 0360; gabriel@irr.org.za
Chris Hattingh, IRR Deputy Head of Campaigns – 083 600 8688; chris@irr.org.za
 
Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za

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