Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

COSATU: Democracy "disaster for the poor"
COSATU's Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich comments yesterday only reinforce my rapidly declining views of the union.

Ehrenreich said that : "Economically, we have overseen a disaster. 40% of our people are unemployed..." "the inequalities between the rich and the poor have grown..." "You would know that thousands of clothing workers have lost their jobs because of the policy choices they've made in this country."

All undoubtedly true, but the blame placed on democracy, and the belief that communism would have altered the situation is laughable. I would love somebody (perhaps Wayne or Laurence from Commentary) to write a "what-if" of the post-Apartheid leadership driving a communist manifesto through South Africa's economy as opposed to a democratic one. I would envisage that a "revolution" to democracy would have taken place very swiftly. Think of all white capitalist businessmen, who largely controlled the economy, fleeing the country with their capital and skills. Think of a complete lack of FDI. Think of the complete feeding frenzy when the unskilled masses were randomly allocated resources and jobs. I would imagine that South Africa would be in a significantly worse state than we're in now [read a 'collapsed' state]. We would be fighting with Zimbabwe for the most failed state on the African continent, and the world would be looking at us with pity and shame, asking what happened to the "Miracle".

This year, the economy has created more net jobs for the first time in a decade, is overseeing a burgeoning GDP growth rate that is undoubtedly higher than the 4% the incompetent Stats SA offers and a creation of a robust black middle class that was so desperately needed for South Africa's long term future. It's not all pretty, poverty is undoubtedly a huge challenge, but it always was going to prove so.

Communism may have given rise to more employment, but not more wealth per capita. The few global examples of communist states only bear witness. As a long term solution, our government has taken the right path, and continues to build an economy that will offer the most long-term job prospects and poverty alleviation for our nation.