ANC’s radical economic plan questioned

Academic report on state capture dismisses policy as unachievable

A report by the Public Affairs Research Institute, which has focused on state capture, has questioned the viability of radical economic transformation‚ calling the ANC’s most recent policy catchphrase unachievable in the framework of the constitution.

The 72-page report released yesterday‚ titled Betrayal of the Promise: How the Nation is Being Stolen‚ details the network of patronage that has allowed the systemic abuse of stateowned entities (SOEs) such as Prasa‚ SAA‚ Transnet and Eskom‚ that emerged in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report.

The research institute has also dismissed radical economic transformation as “a political project to manage the symbiotic relationship between the constitutional and shadow state”.

“At the epicentre of the political project mounted by the Zuma-centred power elite is a rhetorical commitment to radical economic transformation (RET),” it says.

“Unsurprisingly‚ although the ANC’s official policy documents on RET encompass a broad range of interventions that take the National Development Plan as a point of departure‚ what is emphasised by the Zuma-centred power elite is the role of the SOEs and‚ in particular‚ the pro curement spend of the SOEs.

“Eskom and Transnet‚ in turn‚ are the centre-pieces of this strategic focus on SOEs as the drivers of RET.

“This is because Eskom is regarded as key to ensuring that the nuclear deal happens‚ and Transnet because it is regarded as key to ensuring that the mining industry is captured and the Transnet properties released to a select group of private companies.”

Eskom’s procurement spend between 2010 and 2011 accounted for 8.75% (R74-billion) of the government’s total spend‚ while Transnet accounted for 8.3% (R70-billion).

They are by far the most lucrative SOEs and were therefore targeted extensively, the report says.

Their closest rivals were PetroSA and SAA at R12-billion and R14-billion respectively.

The report calls for a new political consensus‚ to which all future political office bearers must commit.

“Instead of becoming a new economic policy consensus‚ RET has been turned into an ideological football kicked around by factional political players within the ANC itself and the alliance in general who use the term to mean very different things,” it says.

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