Ramaphosa’s bold plan (1): Is ‘buying local’ BEE disguised by a face mask?

Johannes Wessels
@johannesEOSA1

If Ramaphosa’s bold plan to restart the economy was a film, the premiere already proved it’s not an ‘out-of-the-box’ blockbuster that will rake in Oscars for economic growth and sustainable job creation. Growth through state-led infrastructure development XXI is a lame sequel fit for an infamous Razzie award.

Like its predecessor – the lengthy National Development Plan – the Economic Reconstruction & Recovery Plan (ERRP) is a sure box office flop.

The ERRP announced by the president after lengthy consultation processes with big business and big labour states “Non-implementation of the ERRP could lead to loss of economic capacity, including collapse of the supply capacity, consumer and business confidence, the labour market and increased vulnerability of the poor. The overall plan aims to mitigate these risks”.

This script suggests its authors live in a make-believe reality: South Africans, whether tax payers or the growing number of unemployed, know consumer and business confidence and employment are not waiting for collapse through the non-implementation of a plan. It has collapsed already and was meticulously crafted by the very same government now purporting to be capable of getting the economy firing on all cylinders again.

There is a hidden sub-text as well: Covid 19 was the excuse to gain more arbitrary power and programs to recover from the lockdown devastation are aimed at cementing these arbitrary powers.

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The Scamdemic: Lock-down the bricks to raise the bed for the Covid-Tokoloshe

Johannes Wessels (@johannesEOSA1)

Like an infant caught red-handed when breaking a precious antique Grecian vase, the Ramaphosa government tries to escape accountability for the economic havoc caused by its lock-down strategy. It vehemently denies that that strategy has caused, and is continuing to cause, immense economic damage, joblessness, bankruptcy and hunger, blaming the naughty Covid-pandemon for toppling the “vase” (i.e. the economy) without government having a hand in the tragedy.

In child-like fashion it is spinning endless stories of how it miraculously prevented a larger tragedy by ensuring the vase did not fall on the Persian carpet.

Just in case that defence may not work, it also seeks safety in numbers, arguing every other country is in the same boat, having implemented lock-downs and suffering similar economic shrinkage. To make sure it will escape accountability, it also hides behind “scientific advice” that only they can see.

In the July 23 version of “my fellow South Africans”, the president said (t)he coronavirus pandemic continues to cause our economy great damage, threatening the viability of many businesses, leading to job losses and badly affecting the income of those that can least afford it.

And Nkosasana Dlamini-Zuma (National Council of Provinces, 23 June) stressed government was absolutely convinced the Covid pandemic” – and not the lock-down measures – was causing the economic damage.

This is not smoke and mirrors, it’s either a blatant lie, or an overwhelming manifestation of a lack of basic economic insight, or both. Here is the evidence.

If Covid harms the economy, pensioners must be the most productive group

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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…

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