Two men are frisked by guards in the Johannesburg CBD, March 28 2020. Picture: MICHELE SPATARI/AFP
Two men are frisked by guards in the Johannesburg CBD, March 28 2020. Picture: MICHELE SPATARI/AFP

Observers have been unanimous in their praise for the government’s action on the coronavirus pandemic. In so doing they should not overlook that the problem is largely of the ANC government’s own doing. SA is, sadly, on the verge of witnessing thousands of virus-related deaths owing to the millions of unemployed living in appalling conditions. These poor souls may justifiably blame their lot on an ANC government that has destroyed the economy.

In the short space of 25 years the ANC has embraced globally discredited socialist economic practices. It has created a bloated public sector that has gone a long way towards crowding out an efficient private sector. It has, in the process, employed a huge army of overpaid, inept public servants; supported state-owned enterprises run by grossly underqualified executives and employees, enabled (nay, encouraged) state capture and its accompanying widespread looting of the country’s financial resources; made 18m people dependent on social grants funded by taxpayers’ hard-earned money; failed to root out the thieves (many of whom still occupy lofty government positions) complicit in the large-scale thievery; borrowed to a degree that the nation is drowning in debt; and in the process created a warranted junk status rating for the economy.

In short, had the economy been growing rather than shrinking, full employment would have eliminated the poverty and overcrowding in which pandemics thrive. How do the ANC’s ruling elite sleep at night?

John Spira
Johannesburg

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