Unpopular economic decisions needed
South Africa has spent a better part of the last 20 years diagnosing its own social and economic problems and experimenting with various neo-liberal economic policies, which proved to be a complete failure. While we cannot deny inheriting social and economic structures that were predicated on white supremacy to the obvious confinement of the black majority to the periphery of main economic activity, we cannot equally deny the unimaginative policy response to these historical problems that continue to persist.
Poverty and inequality continue to haunt the conscience of society. The notion that a society and an economy emerging from centuries of colonialism and apartheid would prosper under the free market economic system was misguided. The problems confronting South Africa cannot be reduced simply to a theoretical assessment of the Gini coefficient without due consideration of the racial aspect underlying them.
There has been an attempt to address these racial inequalities through Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) but this is a policy measure with pretences of social goals while it is dependent on the very system giving rise to the problems it seeks to address. To have thought that an economic system that is established with the sole purpose of advancing economic prosperity and social progress of the few would miraculously compromise its narrow goals for BEE was rather naive.
It is not entirely surprising that we see consequence of the implementation of BEE as reflective of the very exploitative neo-liberal economic system it is predicated on. BEE has served no meaningful purpose in eradicating poverty and addressing racial inequalities. Instead it has created a few black elites who have become mouthpieces of white monopoly capital. These are the same black elites who readily volunteer their unsolicited opinions on the virtues of "foreign investors" and so on, however questionable. These are house negroes who now advocate for the exploitative economic system that subject their cousins to poverty to be sustained.
We are not going to solve these historic problems by dilly-dallying and pandering to the whims of these so-called foreigners called investors. We have instructive lessons from the last 20 years to expand our horizons on policy formulation and realise that we have to do things ourselves, for ourselves. The destruction of the current exploitative economic system should be a priority for all South Africans, including those benefiting from it. You cannot continue to exist in an unequal society that is increasingly becoming anxious and believe that your privileges derived from an exclusive economic system will be sustainable. If we are all to prosper, we must all agree to destroy that which threatens long-term prosperity of our nation.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) unapologetically advocates for the destruction of this current economic system. EFF agrees with right wing economists like Dawie Roodt who warn that it seeks to destroy the economy. Indeed, EFF seeks to destroy this very skewed and exploitative economy and establish an economic system that distributes resources equitably to the people, a system that spurs massive economic growth through industrialisation and localisation of production, a system that creates decent and sustainable jobs not "piece jobs" promised by the African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance; a system that is not entirely reliant on foreign capital for its sustainability and growth.
We have fear-mongers amongst us who wish to maintain the status quo. They warn us about flight of capital, ballooning budget deficit and things like that. They however do not tell us how what they seek to maintain will improve the fortunes of the millions of poor and unemployed people besides enhancing their profits.
We should be wary of people benefiting from an exploitative system who tell us that it is good for us. We must isolate these people and expose them as enemies of the poor and economic progress. We must not fear taking unpopular decisions that are intended to benefit us. No Europe or America will come eradicate poverty in Africa. Their investors will come to Africa to accumulate profits and run at the first instance of instability, leaving the poor as miserable as they were before they came.
We cannot be dictated to by outsiders, nor should we allow ourselves to outsource our thinking to these foreign vultures and their local sympathisers. We must do what we must now or perish as we would if we don't.
Follow Sentletse Diakanyo on Twitter: @Sentletse