Picture: 123RF/ALLAN SWART
Picture: 123RF/ALLAN SWART

In pointing out SA’s harsh new reality, Duma Gqubule highlights that “the government still does not have a recovery plan” even though we are almost six months into lockdown (“SA is out of money and out of ideas”, September 14).

I share his grave concerns over the country’s future and agree that SA is out of money, but I don’t think we are out of ideas just yet. If we break with the policies that drove the economy to its knees before Covid-19 there is much reason to believe SA’s future can be different, and can be good.

South Africans’ potential is greatly inhibited by over-reliance on the state. Far from freeing up as much of the economy (when we refer to the economy we are, in effect, referring to people), and allowing people and communities to create wealth, this country is restricted by the state promising to give and give, and ultimately redistribute jobs and economic growth into existence.

That SA has run out of fiscal runway has been well documented; the only real alternative we have, the truly transformative idea we must try, is that of economic freedom.

There are myriad artificial barriers hobbling employment in SA, most notably the national minimum wage, which has the effect of inflating the price at which employers and potential employees can enter an agreement — thus discouraging employment.

High taxes (which are not spent efficiently) discourage business owners from growing their enterprises — again, discouraging employment.

Regulations and red tape make it next to impossible for township businesses to grow and compete with established capital, which can hire as many divisions as it needs to contend with government bureaucracy. We stack the deck against the entrepreneurs, innovators, builders and creators, those who want to use their minds and abilities to create wealth and invest in this country.

Little wonder that a sense of hopelessness pervades this nation from top to bottom.

SA has tried the ideas and policies of “the state needs to lead us”. But all hope is not yet lost — provided we adopt something truly radical: policies that favour and strengthen individual and economic freedom.

Chris Hattingh,Via e-mail

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