Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

There is a strange contradiction in the governing ANC’s broad-based black economic empowerment policy.

Presumably the purpose is to improve the lot of poor, often unemployed, black people. They are the true victims of the apartheid ideology of keeping the majority ignorant and poorly educated. They are the ones who cannot find work. This crime against humanity must be set right. So you would think we would have put the most competent and experienced people to work in building the economy and giving hope to those left behind.

Wrong. The ANC, in its wisdom, placed some of the most incompetent and inexperienced people in top positions. The state sector is a mess of failed local government and bankrupt state-owned enterprises. A den of corruption.

The reason the country has not entirely collapsed is that the private sector has resisted cadre deployment, despite the strenuous efforts of the ANC to force it into line.

What should we do? Simple. Select the top decision-making jobs in both the state and private sectors on ability and experience alone.

I suggest that these comprise no more than 10,000 positions in our society and economy. Leave race out of this process. Charge these leaders with the responsibility to grow the economy and thus create employment for the downtrodden. Focus on doubling the economy, and doubling it again. If we quadruple our economy, we will approach developed country incomes and living standards.

At a 5% annual growth rate, we will double in 15 years and quadruple in 30.

All we need to do is free up the entrepreneurial talent of our best leaders, and charge them with building a strong, prosperous and fair country.

The government will have the crucial role of referee, but not player.

Willem Cronje
Via e-mail