Can the cause of SA’s political and economic decay be traced to voting conventions? Tremendous power accrues to party bosses when MPs are not directly accountable to voters in local jurisdictions. That the 1990s transition was not explicit regarding redistribution obligations greatly complicated SA’s troubled politics-meets-economics roundabout. Over-prioritising redistribution has sacrificed adequate growth. For many years the IMF, World Bank, OECD and credit agencies advocated that SA’s economy be fundamentally restructured. SA could compete and thrive on the global stage if appropriate policies were adopted. Instead, policy choices overemphasising redistribution retard growth through undermining competitiveness and exports. Why would diluting the power of party bosses by directly electing MPs sharply improve SA’s growth trajectory? Former president Jacob Zuma answered that question when he manipulated his party’s leadership to install a massive patronage machine. Restricting the ...

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