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Political throttling stifles economic growth


In Sowetan, March 29 2021, Nathaniel Lee raised a number of important points regarding the failures of the democratic dispensation to create a humane society in which people live together as brothers and sisters.

He is rightly concerned about the "racially inflamed rhetoric" gaining momentum in the country. This does nothing except pander to dangerous populism.

As long as we believe that we are different "racial" enclaves rather than one people bound together by the spirit of ubuntu, we will never create a humane society.

The creation of a humane society according to Lee requires "Whites to reach out to blacks … [and] make material sacrifices in an effort to improve the lot of their black compatriots".

Making material sacrifices in a form of community projects is already happening but will never resolve wealth and income inequalities. What is required is to bring more people into the mainstream economy through equity ownership, participation in the supply chain, supporting entrepreneurs with access to capital, skills training, access to markets, setting up small companies, a fair tendering system, etc.

However, replacing faces of a lighter hue with those of a darker hue is not a solution. We need to open up economic opportunities to those with the best ideas, irrespective of their political affiliation.

The throttling of the business environment on ideological grounds stifles economic growth and development.

Entrepreneurs with the best ideas are marginalised and those with no ideas and abilities are favoured simply because they are politically connected. We need to create an economy on the basis of merit. Building a meritocratic society that responds to the needs of everyone irrespective of status is the only sustainable solution.

Once the economy functions properly everyone benefits, with more harmony. No economy based on elitism has ever been successful.

Kobimpe Moqejwa, Botshabelo

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