It is refreshing to note that the concept of meritocracy is being ardently embraced by Kabelo Khumelo (Business Report, May 23) so as to improve and promote competence in governance. However, as long as the ideology of socialism serves as the premise, no degree of meritocracy will deliver a better life for all.
Citing China as an example of a booming economy and improved living standards premised on socialism is well and good but needs to be seen within a broader context.
Despite the bustle of its economy, China is a one-party state. The highly centralised communist bureaucracy is authoritarian. As a result, the rule of law is weakened; there are no independent oversight bodies. Liberalisation is not tolerated. Labour is highly regulated. Price controls prevail. Corruption is endemic in the numerous state-owned enterprises. As such, China remains mostly unfree.
The terms and conditions of meritocracy in China are those laid down by the communist party which, first and foremost require obeisance to the party. Given South Africa’s diverse population and its constitutional and democratic character, apart from China’s work ethic, there is little worthy of emulating.
For meritocracy to thrive in South Africa, it must be unfettered. That means abolishing restrictive labour practices, B-BBEE, affirmative action, demographic representivity and cadre deployment. Only then can competence prevail. Significantly, the only party which advocates that direction is the Freedom Front Plus.
Sent into The Business Report and published, May 24, 2019.