Letter: With no-one to bail us out, we must save ourselves - Businesslive

2 February 2020 - Whether these policy drives emerge from ideological obsessions, intraparty jockeying or a desire to extract ever more from business and citizens, matters less than the destructiveness and recklessness they embody. And at least we know President Cyril Ramaphosa isn’t coming to save the day either. That means civil society, business and all who hope for a prosperous future need to speak boldly against these plans, and hold to account anyone tempted to sneak a side-deal at the cost of the rest of society.

Tom Eaton correctly makes it clear that no-one is coming to rescue us (“Brace yourself — no-one is coming to save SA”, January 27). But it is not insignificant that international financial journalist Richard Quest would speak with the despondency and cynicism that he did.

In this, Eaton articulates what most South Africans know, and Quest reflects how they feel. As James Bond is not coming, what to do? With no-one to bail us out, we must face the reality that things are likely to get worse.

Consider the determination to place the state at the tiller of the economy to keep SAA on life-support, force through expropriation without compensation (diluting the courts’ role), prescribed assets and a National Health Insurance system grafted onto an administration unable to manage it, and the promise to not only maintain counterproductive empowerment policies, but to “strengthen” them.

Whether these policy drives emerge from ideological obsessions, intraparty jockeying or a desire to extract ever more from business and citizens, matters less than the destructiveness and recklessness they embody. And at least we know President Cyril Ramaphosa isn’t coming to save the day either. That means civil society, business and all who hope for a prosperous future need to speak boldly against these plans, and hold to account anyone tempted to sneak a side-deal at the cost of the rest of society.

It also means being willing to seriously rethink some of the country’s axioms, such as the racial basis of empowerment and labour market policy. Difficult as this may be, we need to investigate a new model that incentivises growth and explicitly targets deprivation.

In politics, as in life, there are no guarantees. But who knows — maybe this will one day be worthy of a film?

Terence Corrigan
Institute of Race Relations

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/letters/2020-02-02-letter-with-no-one-to-bail-us-out-we-must-save-ourselves/

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