Letter: Post-1994 policies have worsened SA’s economic woes - Businesslive

10 August 2022 - Speaking ahead of US secretary of state Antony Blinken’s address at the University of Pretoria, international relations & co-operation minister Naledi Pandor declared that SA has “no choice” but to address its socioeconomic crisis.

Speaking ahead of US secretary of state Antony Blinken’s address at the University of Pretoria, international relations & co-operation minister Naledi Pandor declared that SA has “no choice” but to address its socioeconomic crisis.

This misrepresents long-running trajectories in dealing with the issues confronting us. Yes, the roots of our problems — low growth, unemployment, and poverty — lie in our past. But policy post-1994 has often proven counterproductive and compounded them.

The labour-relations regime has undermined employment creation, locking millions out of work. A heavily regulated economy enforced by an indifferent, incompetent bureaucracy has weighed heavily on small firms. Empowerment policy has created a voracious appetite for patronage at the expense of entrepreneurship.

A fixation on the state’s “developmental” role has precluded necessary consideration of alternatives such as privatisation — even while the ANC has illegally politicised the state, undermining its potential to act in a developmental manner.

Over the past few years, a flagship endeavour has been the push for expropriation without compensation. This offered little to address the failings of land reform, but a great deal to disincentivise investment.

Each of these represents choices made and adhered to. Tragically, the ANC has disposed of a comfortable majority that might have given it latitude to change course. There is scant evidence that much change is likely. The ANC’s recent policy conference, and its reaction to the Zondo commission, have confirmed a dogged faith in these choices.

Until a different set of choices are made, SA will itself have “no choice” but to suffer through an indefinite malaise.

Terence Corrigan, Institute of Race Relations

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/letters/2022-08-10-letter-post-1994-policies-have-worsened-sas-economic-woes/

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