Seldom has an opinion piece reflected such confusion and ignorance as that penned by Ebrahim Harvey (Daily News,December 19) in which he blames neo-liberal policies for the socio-economic mess that has materialised under the ANC. Contrary to what Harvey claims, if neo-liberal policies had been properly implemented, the country would not be in the retarded condition that now prevails. For neo-liberalism calls for deregulation, privatisation, free trade, reduced government spending and minimal government interference.
In every respect, those neo-liberal principles have been hobbled. Stringent labour laws along with ever-evolving BEE regulations have choked free trade, employment prospects and foreign investment. Privatisation is opposed by trade unions and the SACP. Bloated government at every level has made reduced spending impossible.
Added to that is the ANC’s prioritisation of cadre deployment and demographic representivity which has resulted in the sacrifice of competence and efficiency in service delivery. Allied with that is corruption and nepotism on a scale unprecedented in our history which facilitated state capture and the theft of over R 500 billion. Thus, it is laughable for Harvey to blame the absence of proper housing and sewage disposal in townships on neo-liberalism when it is obvious that corruption and incompetence are the real causes of such shortcomings.
He would also do well to inform himself of what township service delivery protests are often about. The late Professor Lawrence Schlemmer established that they are dog-fights over the patronage system as ANC factions squabble to secure priority in fleecing municipal contracts. (RW Johnson, How long can South Africa Survive? 2016, p. 57).
Although Harvey appears not to understand neo-liberal economics, beyond hinting at a “social democratic character,” he fails to spell out what economic policy should be applied. However, in that he would like to see the ANC “rehabilitated,” as he puts it, he obviously favours socialism which the ANC has always embraced. In which case, he clearly is ignorant of the monumental failure of socialism in the USSR, Cuba, Venezuela, Mozambique and Tanzania under Nyerere to name a few stellar socialist records.
Sent into The Daily News and published, 20 December 2018.