How much further to slide?
To how deep down into economic crises and political pandemonium can South Africa degenerate? President Jacob Zuma has inflicted every possible disastrous action on the country since he came to power.
He entered the Union Buildings accompanied by waves of personal indiscretions, chaotic financial management and a burden of allegations still waiting to be finalised in the courts of this land.
One certain trend in the whole ugly saga is his brilliant ability to drag the whole country and his organisation into a quagmire of political darkness.
His recent actions of reshuffling his cabinet, one would like to say, is the last straw. However, those who have been watching him say the worst is still to come.
Surely, no matter how patient the nation has been, and how resilient and resourceful the economy can be, at some point something has to give.
His party, the ANC, and backers tell us that all the anxieties that the nation is facing emanate from what they call white monopoly capital – this, in days of political honesty, would read as Western imperialism.
The “white” is introduced in this instance to maximise racial polarisation, as a red herring to divert the nation’s attention from his general political and economic management of the country.
The issues that have triggered the current wave of resentment and protests are our country having been downgraded to junk status by one of the international rating agencies.
Some people should be able to tell the president that the rating agencies were not set up to rate South Africa.
These agencies are in the employ of people who have money and are called investors. They want to invest their monies in countries, public and private companies they do not know, for the purpose of profit.
As they invest their money, they want to be sure that their money will be safe and they will receive a good return on their investment.
They do not care a damn how democratic or undemocratic your government is. They want just to see the country’s consistent application of its commercial policies, rules and regulations.
All of this is to minimise their risk.
Our country has been downgraded, something that has come perhaps as a shock to you, Mr President, and your supporters, but not a surprise to those who have been endlessly warning and criticising your handling of serious issues of national survival, such as economic growth, social cohesion and the promotion of the values of freedom.
These critical issues were a laughing matter to you, to mock those you regard as white monopoly capital and clever blacks.
At this point will the country be able to achieve economic growth when it runs a debt bill of 50.1% of gross domestic product?
The government has put us on a growth path to nowhere.
Official growth statistics show that last year the economy grew by a meagre 0.3%, in a country whose population grows by 1.55% annually.
South Africans, both black and white, get poorer in these circumstances.
If people are not employed in a growing and productive economy, they are going to face more dangers than mere empty stomachs.
Their very lives are going to be in danger as the country will fall into the hands of tyrannical warlords who will cut the country into smaller fiefdom, that will enslave the population.
In this scenario, the poor, on whose behalf you, Mr President, purport to be acting, will be left behind, society will move backwards, and race, ethnic and individual relations will deteriorate beyond imagination.
However, the current buzz slogan is radical economic transformation which, based on the current government’s track record, could mean the enrichment of the elite.
Growth will not happen in an economy that dispenses patronage, and encourages crony capitalism and incompetent cadre deployees.
The country will flourish if we employ professional and merit-based civil servants. Even if the positions are earmarked for empowerment people, you have to apply merit.
Economic growth is possible.
We need to have one economic policy that everyone believes in and propagate it.
We can build on the credibility and integrity of our key public institutions. If we strengthen our constitution, and maintain the independence and legitimacy of our judiciary system, investors will trust us. They will feel that their investment is secured.
However, if these institutions are weakened, investors will be nervous in dealing with us.