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President Ramaphosa's protestations before Judge Raymond Zondo that the ANC is curbing corruption are disingenuous. He must know the ANC is built on corruption. Its very foundations are corrupt. The ANC is therefore a choice that has now become a crisis.
In a democracy, which the ANC aspires towards, supporters fund the governing party. In SA it is the opposite — the governing party funds its supporters. It does this, and can only do this, by corrupt means. Cadres are deployed to steal from state enterprises and government departments, that is from the taxpayer. They do this by inflating contracts.
Their “profit” keeps them happy (and ensures they support the governing party), and they give 10%-20% of their illicit gains to the party. This has so far kept the ANC in power, but at great cost first to the increasingly impoverished nation, and second to themselves. The “lucky” cadres are learning a lot about rigging contracts, but not much about business. Protected from competition in the market, they seldom develop any business competence.
The problem for the ANC is that the middle class — the tax base — is dwindling and the growing ranks of unemployed are demanding grants. There is simply not enough money to both keep the ANC in power and placate the unemployed. The only solution for the governing party and country is to abandon black economic empowerment (BEE), which is merely a shield for rigged contracts, and enable the market to allocate resources. This means abandoning the central tenet of the ANC. But it's either this or suicide for the party.
Willem Cronje, Cape Town
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.