Letter: More of the same - Businesslive

14 July 2020 - The message from the ANC in its discussion document on SA’s post-Covid-19 economy — “Reconstruction, Growth and Transformation: Building a New, Inclusive Economy” — is that things will continue as they have for years.

The message from the ANC in its discussion document on SA’s post-Covid-19 economy — “Reconstruction, Growth and Transformation: Building a New, Inclusive Economy” — is that things will continue as they have for years.

The use of the word “strengthen”, which tends to signify continuity, is used 41 times in the document. Reform, associated with change, is used only 10 times, and many of these involve carrying on with existing initiatives. “Structural reforms” are alluded to, but apparently their content must still be worked out.

Unsurprisingly, a benevolent (and strengthened) state features prominently: “This moment presents an important opportunity to reset and begin to more effectively build a capable, ethical and entrepreneurial developmental state that is able to direct development for the benefit of all, especially those who have been left behind.”

This has been the message for years, bearing little relationship to the state we actually have; there is no indication that the factors behind its current incapacity, such as the politicisation of the public service, will be reversed.

Meanwhile, it calls for greater attention to “the domestic drivers of economic growth and development” but offers no respite on expropriation without compensation. In fact, it barely mentions this, noting only that the constitutional amendment is being processed and that “it is further proposed that to acquire land for redistribution, the programme to expropriate land in line with the existing legal and constitutional prescripts should be continued”.

And so, despite the investment-killing concerns expropriation without compensation has raised among farmers and business people, the document does not even try to offer “clarity” — except perhaps that expropriation without compensation is still intended to become reality.

If this is the envisaged basis for economic policy, SA has little hope of joining a post-pandemic recovery.

Terence Corrigan, Institute of Race Relations

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/letters/2020-07-14-letter-more-of-the-same/

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