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Jonathan Ball

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

SA needs “transformation” far more radical than the ANC is currently talking about, writes John Kane-Berman

John Kane-Berman, policy fellow at the IRR and author of Between Two Fires: Holding the Liberal Centre in South African Politics, recently published an opinion piece on Politics Web stating that if the ANC wishes to achieve anything it should utterly change its approach to transformation.

An excerpt from Kane-Berman’s piece reads:

If South Africa is to tackle its overriding problem of massively high unemployment, it will need “transformation” far more radical than the African National Congress (ANC) is currently talking about.

The ANC’s version of “radical socio-economic transformation”, spelt out earlier this year in President Jacob Zuma’s state-of-the-nation address, and recently reiterated by several of his ministers, is focused mainly on using the state as an instrument to transfer ownership and control from white to black.

This policy was adopted before the ANC came to power, and has been implemented incrementally since 1994 via a series of racial preferencing laws. Proposed amendments to the mining charter to increase black ownership from 26% to 30% are just the next step. So are all the latest land reform-proposals.

Cyril Ramaphosa and Malusi Gigaba are now trying to pass off transformation as meaning “inclusive growth”. The last such policy was the “accelerated and shared growth” initiative –known as Asgisa – launched by President Thabo Mbeki 11 years ago. Since then unemployment (including “discouraged” workers) has risen by 1.8 million.

Nothing the deputy president or the finance minister has recently said suggests they are contemplating the kinds of policies necessary to reduce joblessness to the 6% referred to in the National Development Plan adopted in 2012.

That’s as only to be expected, for the ANC cannot see beyond race.

Continue reading here.

Between Two Fires

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