Market forces hold the poor in bondage

South Africa is under siege. Life is becoming more expensive by the day, especially for poor families.

The government's hopes of halving poverty and unemployment by 2014 is fading because of global developments.

The situation is beyond everyone's control because of market forces. The government is helpless because conditions are influenced by, and largely dependent on, these forces.

Reducing the dependency of millions of people might be lost because the cost of electricity, food, fuel prices and everything else is escalating. Sadly, poor households will remain trapped in poor conditions.

Collective leadership and wisdom is needed to confront the situation, and blaming each other without suggesting solutions will not help anyone.

Global economic conditions will affect the achievements of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

It is unrealistic to expect that under current global conditions developing countries, and African countries in particular, will meet the target.

Unless market forces change direction, the production of crude oil maximised at reasonable prices and developed countries stop using grain for biofuel, things will only get worse.

In light of the above, poor African and developing countries will remain poor and efforts to halve poverty and unemployment will remain a pipe dream.

Masket Mtshweni, Tshwane

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