In his address to the nation, Ramaphosa admitted that “our country is facing a stark reality”. Although he went on to sugar coat that reality, he admitted that our economy is stagnant, unemployment is deepening, and our public finances are under severe pressure.
He then noted: “We have a choice. We can succumb to the many and difficult and protracted problems that confront us, or we can confront them, with resolve and determination and with action.”
He is right. That is exactly the choice we have. Yet although he claims to be confronting the challenges, he is not.
If I were president, this is what I would do to confront our challenges:
- Set in motion the steps needed to resolve our energy crisis: 1) break Eskom’s monopoly entirely by opening the energy market to full competition, allowing companies and households to generate and sell electricity unhindered by the state, 2) sell off Eskom’s power stations to pay off its R450 billion debt, 3) free Eskom’s leadership to drive operational efficiencies.
- Revive investor confidence by decisively walking away from expropriation without compensation and instead commit to undertaking an adequately fund land reform process as the Constitution demands.
- Decisively cancel national health insurance and instead implement the DA’s Sizani Healthcare Plan which is full of practical solutions to our country’s massive healthcare challenges and won’t require additional funding or tax increases.
- Unequivocally drop any notion of forcing pension funds to be invested into state-owned companies.
- Make a firm commitment that the Reserve Bank will not be nationalised.
- Make bold changes to our labour legislation to unleash entrepreneurship and job creation. At the very least, small and medium business must be exempted from all but the Basic Conditions of Employment. Nothing could do more to create jobs for the 70% of young South Africans who want a job but can’t find one.
- Commit to ending SADTU’s stranglehold on our basic education system, so that teachers can be properly trained, monitored and incentivised.
- Do away with cadre deployment and BEE and instead commit that appointments and tenders will be on merit so that public money can be spent efficiently in the best interests of the poor.
- Devolve SAPS powers to the provinces and metros as per international best practice.
- Commit to reining in the public sector wage bill, by freezing wages for all managers and administrators for three years and reduce the number of such managers earning over a million rand a year by a third.