Your editorial raised pertinent questions about the government’s misdirected decision to underwrite a foundering airline when billions are needed for vaccines (“Will vaccines funding be any different given our leaders’ atrocious budget choices?” January 22).

But finish the thought. Why did the government make this choice in the first place? Why, in the face of a decade-long economic underperformance, has it clung to policies that predictably deepened its malaise?

SA’s economic circumstances are disastrous, and only far-reaching reform offers a hope of rebound. This would mean renouncing the intention to engage in expropriation without compensation, liberalising the labour market, stepping away decisively from the BEE model and so on.  

When the pandemic hit there were hopes that this would finally enable a reform agenda. So why does its policy response to the dislocation caused by the pandemic and lockdown look suspiciously like more (perhaps much, much more) of the same?

Sadly, the grip of ideology seems to have been resilient enough to withstand even the ravages of the pandemic and lockdown. This promises the further retardation of SA’s economic prospects and the immiseration of its people.

It follows that the consequences of the current policy trajectory are such that sourcing funds for the vaccine will be only one among many predictable financial crises before us. The financial press cannot ignore this reality, nor the thinking that lies beneath it.

Terence Corrigan 
Institute of Race Relations

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