Jul 06, 2012
Canterbury|Africa|Education|Flow|Housing|Mining|System|Africa|South Africa|Energy|Flow|Service|Infrastructure|Rowan Williams
© Reuse this
Deliberations focused on ways to foster a transition from the country’s current form of capitalism – which offers only limited economic inclusion and wealth sharing and which is supported, inadequately, by the prevailing affirmative action and black economic-empowerment policies – to a form of State capitalism. In other words, having the State not merely providing the legislative and budgetary frameworks for overhauling the country’s unequal economic structures, but also having one that is more active in the economic and business processes, so as to ‘democratise and deracialise’ the economy.
Much emphasis was, thus, given to issues such as intervention and new taxes in the mining sector, reviewing the ‘willing seller, willing buyer’ land redistribution model, and using the infrastructure programmes, which are being led, in the main, by State-owned companies, to leverage industrialisation and skills development.
The problem is that many of the policy suggestions that have emerged will inevitably be burdened with unintended consequences – visibility of which will, no doubt, only fully emerge once the ANC policies begin morphing into draft government policies that then have to be canvassed with society ahead of implementation.
The net effect will be a long-winded process of dialogue that is likely to be frustrating for both the ANC and its interlocutors. It will also divert attention and energy away from a number of other interventions that could begin making an immediate dent in the triple challenge.
It could be argued that, if the ANC wants to facilitate ‘radical’ and visible shifts, it could have paid far more attention to matters that are truly within the ANC-led government’s immediate sphere of control and influence.
True, it is less exciting, even dull, to debate measures necessary to professionalise the civil service than it is to muse over macro- and microeconomic reform and review – even revolution.
But just imagine the development spin-offs that could flow if the ANC and its Alliance partners threw the spotlight on educators actually teaching for their allotted hours, or on plans to decisively deal with the unacceptably poor levels of maths and science teaching and learning (even if that means importing teachers for a period).
Imagine the growth benefits that could flow from an immigration system that was applied transparently and with a keen eye to dealing with South Africa’s skills shortages – particularly at a time when there will be top-level eurozone skills in search of a new home.
Imagine the innovation and business energy that could flow from a well-administered company registration system that sought to make it as simply and as fast as possible to start a new enterprise.
Imagine the improvements that would emerge in poor areas if there were to be large-scale collaboration between government and civil society to deal decisively with the housing, infrastructure, health, education and recreational deficits in these protest-prone hot spots. The list could go on and on.
Instead, there is defensiveness and a closed mindedness that are likely to remain a binding constraint to any radical shift aspiration and a real risk that the policy proposals will be seen as little more than energy-sapping ‘aspirational waffle’, to borrow a phrase from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
Edited by: Terence Creamer© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Editorial Insight News
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope – which is to be jointly hosted by South Africa and Australia with, later, outstations in other countries – may not yet exist, but international scientific working groups are already deciding what...
A free Web-based solar power plant capacity-planning tool offers project planners and developers, as well as governments, a means to assess the solar energy potential of thin-film solar PV power over an area of land. The tool was developed by thin-film solar...
As yet, no specific methodology, timeline or costs have been finalised to remedy the water ingress, excessive to contractual specifications, into the Gautrain tunnel between emergency shaft two (E2) and Park Station, says Bombela Concession Company technical and...
The “seriously disruptive” electricity outages in South Africa have cost packaging group Astrapak more than R2-million in “irrecoverable downtime costs”, the company said on Monday, adding that the power cuts were negating some of the benefit of energy saving...
Bakkies and more affordable cars dominated South Africa’s new vehicle market in 2014. Unaudited data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shows that South Africa’s most popular vehicle in 2014 was the Toyota Hilux, selling 37 562 units.