Home Strategy Marketing The Zondo Commission is essential, but let’s not lose...

The Zondo Commission is essential, but let’s not lose…


Poverty, inequality and unemployment remain the biggest challenges for our economy and all plans, policies and measures put in place to combat these will take us forward as a country. The Zondo Commission is absolutely necessary, but it must not become the alpha and omega of our recovery as a nation.

Though the theatrics of the last few days at the Zondo Commission have been entertaining at best, we risk being taken in by it and in no small measure by the various personalities too.

My two cents would be that I think Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo poorly chaired the session between Dali Mpofu and Pravin Gordhan on Monday 30 November.

Why do I say this? Because he allowed political innuendos to dominate and not the facts; he did not insist as he usually does on timekeeping, constantly giving Mpofu more time and because of this, Gordhan got increasingly frustrated and we could see it in his poor performance on the day.

Instead of being a witness being cross-examined, Dali succeeded in making Gordhan the accused in the dock. Most unfortunate if you ask me, considering that Tom Moyane might not even be heard at the commission.

The end result of the Zondo Commission, I imagine, will be a very long but interesting report which I think will result in two obvious outcomes. On the one hand, most of those found guilty of active participation in State Capture and corruption to the detriment of taxpayers’ money will be charged and prosecuted accordingly.

On the other hand, one would hope that a set of policies and rules will come out of this process to ensure that never again will a situation such as State Capture be allowed to repeat itself – and certainly not the levels of corruption we have heard about throughout the commission’s lifespan.

Otherwise, what would be the point of the entire exercise?

Be that as it may, the gist of my article today is not about these theatrical performers, but more about the bigger picture in our country – that of dealing with our economy in order to satisfactorily deal with poverty, inequality and unemployment.

We must never forget that this is ultimately what we must be about in all spheres of society, private and public. From the government’s point of view, the president and Treasury have introduced the Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, the Expropriation Bill and the Mid-Term Budget.

There is general agreement that structural reform is needed to ensure growth in the economy and, yes, the situation is so dire with further downgrades from ratings agencies that the government could have taken more populist decisions, like extending the special Covid-19 grant beyond December, borrowing more money from lending institutions and kowtowing to the demands of trade unions – but it did not.

Well done to the drafters of the Expropriation Bill: it’s not the end of the road but a very good start and, indeed, a good balancing act. At least now we know where we stand on this very critical issue.

As for the Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, yes, it’s more of the same but at least, as the president reminds us, there is now sufficient political will to implement this plan. It also proposes five areas of concentration to turn our economy around. These are: employment stimulus, energy, infrastructure, ease of doing business and industrial growth.

With no shame, the RET people play on the sensibilities of the poor in hope that they will blindly follow their empty promises.

I won’t presume to bore you with the content of the plan on these issues, but suffice to say it is a good plan and that these areas have been thoroughly thought through.

The mini budget, for its part, has set some unpopular targets but in order to be able to move away from the impending fiscal cliff, we will have to swallow those bitter pills.

My friend JP Landman tells me that in total, “Treasury modelling indicates that the five parts of the recovery plan can add 1.9% to GDP growth a year. If we limit ourselves to the three with the best chance of implementation, leaving infrastructure and industrial growth aside, we are looking at an increase of 1.3% in growth per year.

“Treasury’s base case for growth over the medium term is 1.6%, rising to 2%. Add 1.3% and growth can reach 3% per year. Not enough, many would say, but we have not seen that for a long time. It is also comfortably above the population growth of 1.61%.”

This can only be seen as good news; of leadership being provided in this time of economic crisis. So, while some find the shenanigans at the Zondo Commission utterly entertaining, we must never forget the actual task at hand. Yes, the bigger picture. Fixing the SA economy.

In short, Landman reminds us that “except for the SAA decision, the Budget was the balancing act it had to be. It steadies the ship and buys time for structural reform. Growth will not come from the Budget; it will come from structural changes that enhance productivity.

“The biggest structural changes in the next two years will be energy and spectrum. Together with social employment, they can help lift growth towards 3%, which is comfortably more than population growth.

“Much space is being created for the private sector with the opening of electricity, spectrum, transport and infrastructure, enabling more exports into Africa. Certainty on land expropriation removes a threat that hung over the economy.”

I say again: poverty, inequality and unemployment remain the biggest challenges for our economy and all plans, policies and measures put in place to combat these will take us forward as a country.

As stated above, the Zondo Commission is absolutely necessary, but it must not become the alpha and omega of our recovery as a nation.

Let me remind you that the RET types in the ANC also know the importance of the economy and hence they too are using it as a tool in their arsenal to appeal to the masses of our people.

They are making bold claims (like true populists) that they will make this economy work for the poorest of the poor when, in fact, they are simply using this tactic to attempt to ensure their political survival and hopefully avoid imprisonment.

It will not work: our people see right through them and they will not be fooled this time around.

With no shame, the RET people play on the sensibilities of the poor in hope that they will blindly follow their empty promises.

While most of us tend to see only the Budget or Zondo commission, we ignore the bigger picture: the restructuring under way in the economy. DM




Source link

Must Read

Global Law and Business Podcast – Nadège Rolland (China)

Listen HERE or stream on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, or Soundcloud! At Harris Bricken, we keep close tabs on...

Netizen Voices: In Hu Xijin Controversy, Nationalist Netizens Turn On One of Their Own

Last week, a Weibo post by the CCP Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, China’s top legal enforcement authority, ignited a firestorm of...

International School Law/Teacher Law: It’s Complicated

Many of our lawyers and staff attended international schools or are sons or...

United’s Catering Workers Unionized. Now Their Jobs Might Be Outsourced.

In 2018, United Airlines’ catering workers in five cities voted to unionize by an overwhelming margin. Two and a half years later, they still...

China Factory Indemnification: Yeah, Whatever

American and European lawyers love indemnification provisions in product manufacturing agreements. They love...