LETTER: ANC continues to put ideology before SA’s interests
BEE won’t reduce poverty and unemployment — rapid economic growth will
The news that Elon Musk’s Starlink network of satellites, which provides internet services to remote areas, will not be able to come to SA because of black economic empowerment (BEE) regulations should surprise no-one (“Government blocks Elon Musk’s Starlink”, April 19).
The ANC government continues to put ideology before the country’s interests, and the latest development regarding Starlink is simply a microcosm of the damage BEE does.
Enabling people who live in far-flung rural areas (the vast majority of whom are poor, black South Africans) to have cheap, easy access to the internet will do far more for real economic empowerment than giving politically connected cronies a free stake in Starlink’s SA operations.
But this is a feature, rather than a bug, of BEE. It and other related empowerment policies do very little for people who are truly disadvantaged, with benefits generally accruing to those who are already relatively privileged.
Empowerment policies should be predicated on actual disadvantage and not on proxies for disadvantage (which are often inaccurate) such as race. At the same time, if the government truly wanted to empower South Africans, especially poor, black South Africans, it would loosen its grip on the economy and ditch policies that strangle growth.
BEE won’t reduce poverty and unemployment — rapid economic growth will. But it seems government is unable — or unwilling — to help foster an environment where this is possible.
Institute of Race Relations
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