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Ready to choose a San hunter rather than a Sherpa guide for mountaineering? Dlamini-Zuma on Radical Economic Transformation

When Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced her Manifesto for Change, she reminded me somewhat of the stern Mother Abbess singing “Climb every Mountain” for Maria (Julie Andrews) in The Sound of Music.

Definitely not her voice, but her words… Dlamini-Zuma summoned support for Radical Economic Transformation (RET): “We must know which hills to tackle next. …(t)hese are the mountain of economic transformation, the highland of land redistribution and the summit that must see us educating and skilling our people. If not, the negatives will swallow the gains we have made.

Mother Abbess

Marvellous libretto…

Continue reading “Ready to choose a San hunter rather than a Sherpa guide for mountaineering? Dlamini-Zuma on Radical Economic Transformation”

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England’s Norman Kings had a better grasp than the ANC of the importance of export for economic growth

Had the Norman kings of England in the 11th and 12th centuries a better grasp of economics than that displayed this week by Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry?

In briefing Members of Parliament about Government strategy to support local industry now that Government is facing a fiscal cliff, Davies said it was unlikely to receive extra cash to support industrialisation (As the Budget bites the focus shifts to buying local… ) Government would therefore be “more vigorous” in getting value for money out by procurement of local inputs, rather than imported ones.

The strategy Davies proposed was (you guessed it!) more state control and prescriptions: Rather than pursuing growth through the tradeable sector, stimulation is sought through consumer spending with Government as the main consumer…

Continue reading “England’s Norman Kings had a better grasp than the ANC of the importance of export for economic growth”

A Cyril Swallow does not make a Summer of Growth: How business friendly is Ramaphosa’s New Deal?

We need to massify the creation, funding and development of black-owned small businesses, township businesses and co-operatives.” Cyril Ramaphosa’s New Deal for South Africa (14 Nov 2017).

This quote from Ramaphosa’s 10 point plan manifesto to get the economy growing forms part of the action steps under Point 5: “we must accelerate the transfer of ownership and control of the economy to black South Africans.

At first take the creation of an immense number of enterprises sounds like a pro-business approach. But is this objective realistic? Will it render the desired outcome? Even more basic: is it sound economics?

The New Deal is silent on how this enterprise factory that will mass-produce black-owned businesses would work. Whilst the manifesto was announced in the context of the ANC leadership contest, the “we” that Ramaphosa refers to is clearly Government and its administrative institutions. Continue reading “A Cyril Swallow does not make a Summer of Growth: How business friendly is Ramaphosa’s New Deal?”

Fragmentation of South Africa: Is the ANC succeeding where the NP failed?

Remember, South Africa as a unitary state is a recent experiment and the verdict on its success or failure is still to be determined…” These words by Lawrence Schlemmer, one of the foremost analytical minds in SA during the latter quarter of the 20thC are today far more relevant than when he uttered them in 1996 when we were enjoying a drink whilst waiting at the late Jan Smuts Airport on delayed flights. Having just read Jacques Pauw’s The President’s Keepers I was starkly reminded of Lawrie’s words.

Lawrie Schlemmer

South Africa is unravelling…

I had the privilege of meeting Lawrie when he was a strategy advisor to the Urban Foundation in the years 1987 onwards. His sharp intellect and wit made him an impressive debater. He was totally independent – apart from his utter dependence on nicotine.

Continue reading “Fragmentation of South Africa: Is the ANC succeeding where the NP failed?”

A stand against hierarchical tyranny: Luther’s protest has changed the world

Luther 500A small minority of people will be remembered and known beyond four generations (100 years): mostly by grandchildren and great grandchildren. A significantly smaller number of people will be remembered 100 years after their death for the impact they have had on developments in their countries. The fact that Martin Luther’s protest half a millennium ago against Papal indulgences and Roman Catholic theology and the Emperor was celebrated last week in Germany and most countries with a significant number of Christian believers, testifies to his role in breaking the mould of Medieval society contributing to the dawn of the Modern Era. Continue reading “A stand against hierarchical tyranny: Luther’s protest has changed the world”

The Hammer and Sickle 100 years on… A legacy with larger atrocities than achievements (and lessons for SA)

A starving Ukrainian boy 1933

The focus in South Africa is so much on the State Capture saga and the ANC’s forthcoming elective conference that few realise we commemorate over the next three weeks two of the most significant events that have shaped our world: the Reformation triggered by Luther’s stance against Rome 500 years ago (30 October 1517) and the Bolshevik Revolution of 7 November 1917 (known as the Great October Socialist Revolution). Both had far-reaching implications for society as a whole, also for the world of enterprise. (Luther’s legacy will be assessed in a subsequent contribution.) Continue reading “The Hammer and Sickle 100 years on… A legacy with larger atrocities than achievements (and lessons for SA)”