The African National Congress (ANC) is South Africa’s biggest problem and the primary cause of the country’s failure. That is according to one of the panelists speaking at the University of Free State’s Thought leadership Webinar.
The panelists believe that the country’s economy crisis has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
City Press’ Editor in Chief Mondli Makhanya says the country cannot move forward under the ANC.
Makhanya says even though President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, might have good ideas on how to take South Africa forward, those ideas will not materialize under the current ANC government.
He says the stealing of COVID-19 relief funds is an example of a broken state.
“The ANC, to put it blatantly, it is part of our biggest problem. It’s was once the leader of society. It did a lot of things. It’s the major force why we have the constitutional republic. But the ANC is the primary cause of our problems and at this particular point of our crisis, the ANC … continues to give us the crisis that we have. The ANC is not interested in governing. It’s interested in preserving itself.”
Executive Director for the Centre for Development and Enterprise, Anne Bernstein, says there is a need for reflection on what has brought the country to where it is today.
“I could not exaggerate this, but I think it is fair to say that the very large part of the state is broken, corrupt. There are policy (is) bad; the decision bad (sic); working government is much weaker than it used to be. We really can’t speak of the state nationally, provincially and locally as one would like to, because it is now a very problematic institution and that is a very hard reality to deal with.”
Former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel says he is concerned with the current political state in the country.
“We are having a cacophony of ministerial announcement that seems to suggest that there is a problem. There are announcements that are without any hint or reference to the financial implication of the decisions that we announce. What this country needs is the priority on the trade-offs,” says Manuel.
Meanwhile, Makhanya believes Nedlac can be used to fix some of the country’s challenges, but this needs to be in a restructured way.
“But Nedlac does need to be democratised and be much broader. It does needs to be given ability to just be a more robust and a lot more transparent as well. I think the problem that exists now is that it is optic and operates more like it is a cult and that needs to change,” says Makhanya.
Manuel admits that more young people are needed in the economy.
“Youth in itself is not a guarantee of anything as we see with certain political parties in government. Sometimes there is a connection between being radical and being rude don’t sound fundamentalists. I think that the part of what we need to do is to ask the serious and difficult questions,” says Manuel.
The panelists agree that the country has to change and the economy should be inclusive of all.