Media release: ANC Conference must adopt real radical economic transformation – not more of the same paternal statism

Radical economic transformation (RET) is President Zuma and the ANC’s current and dominant mantra, but few outside government understand what this really means.

For over 40 years the Free Market Foundation (FMF) has been promoting real radical transformation and a fundamental deviation from South Africa’s mainstream economic policies.

RET can only be achieved if we break from the economic mentality which has governed this country since colonial times – paternal statism – and adopt the only alternative which has been shown to work anywhere in the world – the free market system.

Ahead of the ANC’s national policy conference at the end of June, the FMF will be putting forward policy alternatives, which would achieve the real RET that South Africa desperately needs.

Out of the nine policy areas the ANC conference will address, the FMF believe that six are critical for a prosperous society and inclusive economic growth. If they are serious about building a modern developed economy, ANC leaders need to adopt free market principles, which have been proven to work in all leading economies raising the standards of living, wealth, health and education of all citizens.

The six are:

  1. economic transformation;
  2. social transformation;
  3. communications;
  4. education, health, science and technology;
  5. legislature and governance;
  6. peace and stability

Economic Transformation: The key elements include: demographics, labour, privatisation, special economic zones (SEZs), tax, power, financial services, tobacco, and exchange controls. The common theme is that for radical economic transformation to take place, there must be a departure from prevailing orthodox thinking – i.e. from a state-centric economy to a people-centric, free market economy based on property rights.

Social Transformation: The constitutional right to housing and property will never be achieved while millions of individuals continue to live on ‘council-owned’ urban plots as tenants and while so-called ‘pre-emptive’ clauses are included in RDP housing titles. These clauses forbid owners from selling their houses and perpetrate one of Apartheid’s greatest evils. There will also never be radical economic transformation while potential small scale farmers need to navigate through the red tape of acquiring agricultural land subdivided from larger units. In this respect, Apartheid land law needs to be repealed.

Communications: Two critical threats are current: *ICT policy and the Hate Speech Bill; SA’s telecommunications industry must be free of excessive government interference which stifles innovation, entrepreneurship and will set back this post Apartheid success story for decades The Hate Speech Bill poses the gravest threat to freedom of expression in South Africa since the end of Apartheid.

* Information & communication technologies (telecommunications)

Education, Health, Science and Technology: Education and healthcare in South Africa should be decentralised. Individual schools should be able to determine their own curricula in open competition with one another and government must stand back and fund – but not control – education for the poor. Current health policies are destroying the high-quality private healthcare sector in South Africa and should be abandoned.

Legislature and Governance: The FMF’s Rule of Law Project has undertaken considerable work in this critically important area to support the supremacy of the Constitution and the Rule of Law. The separation of powers is paramount and all public power must be exercised subject to objective and strict criteria. The current trend towards excessive discretionary and law-making powers held by government bureaucracies is a threat to a prosperous and free society and must be curtailed.

Peace and Stability: The best way to reduce crime in South Africa is to reduce the incentive for criminality i.e. make being a criminal riskier than being a law-abiding citizen. In other words, criminals must know that law enforcement is effective enough to bring them to justice if they break the law, but also, unnecessary laws which criminalise voluntary market interactions, such as the dealing of certain drugs and prostitution, must be repealed. So-called victimless ‘crimes’ should not be crimes in the first place. Rescinding these superfluous laws would release considerable police resources to fight real crime and deliver a better and safer society

Leading up to the end of June ANC policy conference, the FMF will be releasing details of alternative proposals on each of the six critical policies above.


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