BOKAMOSO | MTBPS: Zuma’s politics are derailing Gordhan’s economics

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Pravin Gordhan’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement on Wednesday underscores the central role that politics plays in the economy. For all his honourable intentions and fine words, Gordhan did not have a good story to tell about the state of our economy. For all his brave talk, there is not much in our economic outlook for South Africans to be optimistic about. Because Gordhan’s economics are being derailed by Zuma’s politics.

Mr Gordhan promised things he cannot deliver on. His objective of inclusive growth and social transformation is no longer the ANC‘s objective. We applaud his efforts to grow confidence in our economy, but they are being severely undermined by the political machinations of his own party, which is more intent on diverting public funds to private ends.

Mr Gordhan quoted Amilcar Cabril. I will do the same: “Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children.”

Mr Gordhan delivered a statesmanlike speech. But in its fineprint, we learn that our economy is not going to deliver the material benefits, the better lives and the brighter future for their children that people want. Our economy is stuck in a debt trap: debt servicing is our fastest growing line item. We are incapacitated by slow growth, forecast at only 0.5% this year, giving little hope of respite to the 8.9 million jobless South Africans.

We learn that next year, the government will have to raise taxes very significantly, due to revenue collection falling short of target (another indicator of the real state of the economy), coupled with a need to increase spending on higher education, national health insurance and social grants. Unfortunately, higher taxes will do nothing to help our economic growth prospects.

What is holding our economy back? Our politics, plain and simple. Mr Gordhan suggests as much in his speech, if you read between the lines.

“Those who are called upon to serve in public institutions have an added responsibility to work with integrity, honesty and accountability and to ensure that their efforts are directed towards the shared interests of all South Africans.”

The problem is, they aren’t. Rather, the efforts of President Zuma and his ruling clique are directed towards shoring up power so that they can raid the public purse with impunity. The economy could not be further from their minds. They are more interested in devising ways to rid themselves of pesky finance ministers who want to spend public money on the public.

“Put simply….. public funds must not be diverted to private ends.”

Indeed not. And yet why else would Mr Zuma and his clique be so intent on capturing our National Treasury? Why else would the NPA, aided and abetted by the Hawks and SARS commissioner Tom Moyane, announce their intention to charge Mr Gordhan with fraud and theft, just two weeks before this important MTBPS speech?

“Our social contract is under pressure. It is as if we have put unnecessary hurdles in the way of realising our potential and implementing our development plans.”

The fact is, the unnecessary hurdles of which Mr Gordhan speaks are our President, and many of his cabinet ministers, who have turned the state on itself – and turned the ANC on itself.

“It is not just the unsettling effect of legal matters and court challenges.”

No, it is also the ANC government’s inability to remove the structural and policy constraints that hold back economic growth. It is their inability to create a predictable and stable policy and political environment. Above all, it is their inability to put the national interest first.

“Vested interests and political contestation interfere with decision-making.”

Precisely. So while Mr Gordhan and his National Treasury have good intentions, they will not come to pass while Zuma’s ruling faction is at the helm. The fact is, our National Treasury is on South Africa’s side, but our government is not. And people know it. Our social contract is under pressure because South Africans no longer trust their leaders. What is to be done?

“We must intensify the national dialogue to seek common solutions and concrete actions to slow growth and poverty.”

Mr Gordhan may want to intensify the national dialogue, but the ANC certainly doesn’t. The national dialogue plays out first and foremost in Parliament. And yet after the NPA announcement on 11 October 2016 of its intention to charge Mr Gordhan, my request for a debate of national importance on the Politicization of the NPA was refused by the speaker on the grounds that it “does not relate to a specific matter of recent occurrence”.

In truth, the most powerful forum for national dialogue is the next national elections in 2019. And the most concrete action we can take to boost our economy is to overhaul our politics by voting the ANC out of power.

5 YEARS LATER, WE'RE STILL WAITING FOR JUSTICE

The Farlam Commission Report was released over 2 years ago, but nothing has been done since then to provide closure on the greatest tragedy of our young democracy.


  • VR007

    The ANC have betrayed all South Africans.
    2019 is a very long way away, and we can only hope that our legal system eventually gets past the hurdles the NPA and the change over of PP’s to prosecute and remove the president once and for all. Let justice be served swiftly and without bias.

  • Νιckary

    Yes indeed the 2019 election is far away. By that time the ANC and Zuma783 alliances of friends and kleptocracy,would have caused a very serious damage not only in the economy but also between the divergent population worst than now. By 2030 the debt of the Country would have, taxes up, State capture solidified, Union bosses controlling their workers and their purse, Public servants consuming a larger portion of the salaries budget, mismanagement and more corruption in local Government, Provincial and Central whilst the Country shall owe money to foreign lenders and economic hardships severe with more taxes. You dont have to be an expert read the budget by Gordham. By that time foreign investment would have gone, skilled people left, and the State machinery totally collapsed. We need now to take to the streets, as often as possible, to shake the administration to its very foundation very much the same as Gandhi or Luther King had done. People must see what is happening in Brazil and what is happening in Venezuela or Zimbabwe to understand. You get that sort of thing because those we chose as politicians are basically inept and corrupt they are only interested for themselves first and their friends and partners. They have managed to turn the institutions to party jobs and independence is gone out of the window. The Constitution is violated repeatedly and becoming useless. it is only the free press remaining independent and the Treasury plus IEC. Everything is shaky nevertheless. We need to overthrow them now, it will be too late by 2019, they would have stolen plenty of money to buy off the village chiefs and union people, as well as Public employees given them increases and the hell with National debt despite the effort by Gordhan. Unfortunately Black SA’s must understand that they are been sold down the river, must therefore act, take the initiative against this regime. The rest of us will of course support them but we can’t do it alone. As a white man and SA, I am proud that even if late we approved the all inclusive participation of everyone in the running of the Country against a very good Constitution not dissimilar with those in advanced Countries. Pity that the Country was not made Federal because that would have given more flexibility and security as well as competition between the States. Black SA it is their time now to act and follow the only reasonable course open to all of us for an early election and put into trials those that have misused their positions of trust and honour. Wake up

    • Sharky912

      Yes to all people who are fed up , to be treated like fools , and lied and betrayed to by the this “Gangster Regime” and sick cANCer . Support and be active in the ” SAVE SOUTH AFRICA CAMPAIGN ” starting on the 2 November in Pretoria ! http://www.savesouthafrica.org
      Join the movement and the march in support of the FM and for the fall of ZUMA and his corruptheid cronies. Come ! all citizens support your country to rid ourselves from this looting EVIL.
      This is the beginning of our long protest against State Capture and getting rid of these useless fools , overthrow them , and jail them for looting our tax money.
      Save and protect our Constitution.
      THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE IS FAR STRONGER THAN THE PEOPLE IN POWER !!!

  • Still-puzzled

    Why duck the issue, lets call it by its name – the “ANC Gangster Regime”. The farce is not a government by any means.

    Why did Des van Rooyen withdraw his interdict against the State Capture report? He stated that there was nothing in the report that implicated him – did he perhaps get insight into the contents of the report while it was supposed to be under lock and key?

  • Anna-Maria Flanegan

    Why must working South Africans foot the bill (more tax) for the effects of corruption? [How long can we carry on pulling the gravy train?] When will the unemployed others begin to understand that we cannot continue paying for them to satisfy the demands they are making and backing it up by using violence? How can we afford to still have the ANC in government if it is clear they have not our country’s welfare in their interests and they are responsible for squandering millions? Is there no way that we can demand the resignation of corrupt ANC members (wishful thinking) and take their ill-gained ‘profits’ back and apply it to the poor and education? How did the new PP get her post? surely there were better candidates than she? How can Zuma be allowed to get away with not directly answering questions in parliament or otherwise just avoiding answering questions? Why can he not be found guilty of high treason?

    • Νιckary

      Yes to all the above. This regime has exploited the democratic Republican system to install itself in perpetual control of the Country, at least until 2030 beyond if possible, whether it is Mr Zuma or any other Zuma chosen through the corrupt ranks of the relevant party and controlling syndicates. People must understand that it is the ANC is rotten corrupt and taken over by self interests. There is one consideration, whoever leads must be ‘corrupt’ and must ‘feed’ the rest of the syndicate (in the words of the Zuma’s friend, SAA manager). The syndicate of evil has exploited the system and the trust of the people to Mandela and the ANC specifically.The leadership qualities, ideals and principles of the party evaporated after Mandela vacated the leadership. You see the whole perception by the leadership currently in control is that Mandela and his friends, were wrong and duped into a system beneficial to the minorities and capitalist interests, that the Constitution is not African, misrepresenting African perceptions and Western standards unacceptable and abhorrent!. Of course this mambo jumbo, we read in FB or uttered by the imbeciles ideologists or union leaders, are outdated and disastrous, proven the last 60 years not only in SA or Africa but world wide where applied. So why do they utter this bull? Simply to offer some hope to their voters that there is a plan and they are working on it. In fact they wrap up their proposal in nice paperwork attractive to ignorant and uneducated when in fact what they plan is to establish a new order based on one party rule, leadership all beneficial to the elite. Why do you think C Hani uttered the famous words that he fears a new elite will become the new masters in the land! We have 50+ Countries in Africa, overwhelmingly within 60 years have broadly followed the same route after independence. That is of ineptness and corruption, mismanagement, graft etc despite best advice and funding from many sources, initially, usually Western Countries and NGO long before the new Capitalists, made in China, appeared on the scene. If by any chance any leader shows the inclination to charter the most beneficial route for his Citizens he is overthrown, replaced, one way or the other or a strong man rules until his death. So much for democracy and freedoms. The new elites emerging after independence, have dominated the economic life of the fledgling States and ‘feed’ the politicians! For those of you interested, please look up Prof Ridwan Hussein Abarshi on u tube, for further details. He is not the only one by the way, I just happen to like his explanations. In SA, had we not had Mandela and the agreement for a peaceful transformation chosen, we would have ended in a huge mess if not destruction. No one sold the other down the river, like the radicals believe, common sense and the desire to transform gradually the Country prevailed, within a time table and in accordance with financial availability. Because most leaders realised the huge benefits for everyone within maximum 30 years had the experiment succeeded. The year of prosperity and stability for the first phase of development earmarked 2025-2030 provided economic growth in excess of 4% pa would manifest. The understanding was (still is) that all basic human rights as applicable world wide and economic growth should make it possible by approximately that date to produce tangible results. Make SA attractive to investment for growth at more that 4%pa (if not 6%), with potential spin off’s for the rest of Southern Africa and a dramatic improvement resulting for the first time in 70 years had the plan worked for the average Citizen, not only in urban centres but rural. The requirement for that to happen was a stable regime following the examples of other Countries especially the newly emerged Countries like Viet Nam, Indonesia, Taiwan, Korea, S Korea, India, and China. The NDP document was the road map to be followed from day one. Under Mandela there was stability and growth at 4% and prospects were good for Mbeki succession to continue. Now Mbeki is an educated and intellectual however he is not a good politician. He couldn’t fight or control the radicals and those within his organisation expressed by Zuma function. Mbeki lost out and we know the rest. So now on the 2 Nov all must gather peacefully in Pretoria to demonstrate that enough of kleptocracy and that Zuma and his cohorts must step down. This must continue until the forces within ANC feel the pressure and demand change now not when the NEC convenes or the 2019 election around the corner. By that time the crooks would have finished off the Country very much like Mugabe did or others not to mention here. The Constitution of the Country gives power to the people and that power we must use. Many changes world wide have occurred despite the resistance by the establishments simply by demonstrating.

    • Molotov

      A Vat increase will be borne by everyone, with the poorest suffering most.

  • Sifiso Nicholas Mkhonza

    Churches, every god damn Sunday, house more than 5 million of South Africas Christian population. The ANC knew this back when they used the church quarters when organising against the apartheid regime. The same tactics can be employed to fight the Zuma783 regime. Honestly online and social media campaigns are just not how we do things in SA. Not yet.

  • Shirley Friedman

    Why don’t you remind SA of your 2009 election poster slogan, ” STOP ZUMA” that brought so much derision on the DA? Keep showing the voters that they should listen to you.

  • Ilonke Pretorius

    The constant articles are almost “old” news now, every day it’s the same story, zuma, zuma, zuma. Please Mr Maimane, we need good news. Don’t loose sight on improving things at municipal level and start advertising the wins at this ground level. Campaign vigorously in the rural areas.

    I am really worried, as everyone is SO fixated about ZUMA, which means when he eventually leaves, all the clever people who voted for DA will once again BELIEVE (rolling my eyes) in the ANC, yet the whole BUNCH is corrupt, else they would have acted LONG ago, not true?

    Don’t get caught up ONLY by these burning issues in the news now, start working at your tomorrow, OUR tomorrow, you will be praised for giving South African’s something to work for, not just things to fight for, which seems to come so easy to many many people. We don’t have to FIGHT for Freedom, we need to WORK for Freedom… If you think about this, you will understand why the students are acting this way, this is what they have been taught the last 20 odd years… fight fight fight.