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People queue to apply for Unemployment Insurance Fund benefits. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/NARDUS ENGELBRECHT
People queue to apply for Unemployment Insurance Fund benefits. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/NARDUS ENGELBRECHT

That the number of unemployed has risen from 7.1-million to more than 10-million, and those on welfare from 16-million to 18-million, over the past decade is unfortunately no surprise (“Government will have no excuses when SA’s beleaguered middle class collapses”, February 2).

The ANC has imposed regulations across the economy that have steadily discouraged capital formation and job creation, just as the national democratic revolution has always demanded. Two of the biggest threats to growth are the basic income grant and National Health Insurance; neither will reform nor alleviate the myriad government-imposed barriers in either the world of work or in health care.

More interventionism and bureaucracy cannot repair the damage interventionism and bureaucracy have already wrought. Localisation stands as a big threat to citizens’ access to cheaper goods, and this will be felt especially harshly by poorer people.

Further, the governing party appears committed to undermining property rights through expropriation without compensation. Never mind killing the golden goose — if SA goes down this road, few if any of that endangered species will be spotted here in future.

Rising fuel prices — caused partly by international oil concerns but mostly due to the many taxes and levies government collects as part of the price — and mounting inflation will press down on the middle class throughout this year.

Citizens can protect themselves by state-proofing themselves, and their businesses and communities, but also by supporting the work of organisations that advocate for the right ideas — ideas based on the radical notion that people deserve to be free to work and create wealth, to innovate, and not to be forced into permanent dependence on the state.

There is nothing radical or “developmental”, in the positive sense, about greater state control over the economy and society, because low growth and unemployment necessarily follow.

Chris Hattingh
Institute of Race Relations

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