Zuma economic policy ‘mostly about corruption’

Luyolo Mkentane mkentanel@avusa.co.za

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma had added to former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki’s policies another economic policy – one called “corruption”.

This was said by leading think-tank member and author Moeletsi Mbeki at The Herald NMMU Community Dialogue held at the Red Location Museum in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, last night.

He also denounced the ANC’s black economic empowerment (BEE) as just a policy to “bribe the comrades”.

A known ANC critic, Mbeki – the brother of Thabo – said South Africans needed to look at using private sector skills to leverage the problems of poverty, poor public sector administration and the appalling state of education in the country. This, he said, was because the private sector had highly skilled personnel.

He said one of the greatest challenges facing South Africa was poverty, which affected coloured and African people, who constituted 90% of the country’s population.

Mbeki, 65, is the author of two books: Architects of Poverty and Advocates for Change: How to Overcome Africa’s Challenges.

The former denounces the mass corruption and destruction of infrastructure by Africa’s ruling elite, and the latter is a follow-up looking at solutions.

“The public sector in South Africa is in a sad state of management. The service delivery demonstrations are a symptom of the failure of the public sector management,” Mbeki said.

He said this sector was not a solution to the country’s poverty. In fact, it deepened poverty because of the mass corruption taking place.

“What is happening with Transnet, Eskom, Telkom, SA Airways? All these companies are in a shocking state,” he said. “[Former Transnet group chief executive] Maria Ramos fired [Transnet Freight Rail chief executive] Siyabonga Gama for mismanagement …  Zuma comes and Gama gets his job back. That’s the public sector for you.”

Because of the poor state of the public sector, huge amounts of capital were leaving the country as top firms such as Anglo-American and Old Mutual invested in other parts of the globe, he said.

Slamming BEE as a policy for bribes, he said: “When they kicked out my brother [from the presidency], Zuma did not change anything in Thabo’s policies. In fact, they were not even Thabo’s policies, they were Mandela’s.

“But Zuma added another economic policy which is called corruption.”

Mbeki said that “70% of the people who vote ANC don’t work … And those who vote ANC don’t know how to hold it [the party] to account”.

 “We have got a completely stagnant economy that could blow up in our faces any time  …  We have become a consumer economy. We are so heavily dependent on China, they are starting to dictate to us.”

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