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Picture: 123RF/133870510
Picture: 123RF/133870510

The malaise evident in the ANC policy conference is even worse than Claire Bisseker describes (Features, August 4-10) — and her description is dire.

The suggestion that, under the guidance of the developmentally challenged state, a social compact could provide a way forward is rendered unimplementable not only by the tough trade-offs involved, but by the fact that it is not clear what exactly the government would bring to the agreement. What is in the public domain suggests it will continue with commitments long made, promising only to “accelerate” or “improve” them.

Tackling corruption, for example, is a decades-old promise — surely a governance axiom, rather than a bargaining chip — though the government’s record on this hardly invites confidence.

Neither the government nor the ruling party has shown any inclination for the sort of substantive change in orientation that would make SA a more competitive investment jurisdiction. Both remain determined to continue with cadre deployment, even in the face of the damning findings of the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture. And threats to property rights through expropriation without compensation (EWC) remain not only alive, but were highlighted at the policy conference, with President Cyril Ramaphosa saying that EWC is a tool “we must utilise”.

All in all, it’s difficult to see what the government and the state might be able or willing to offer its “social partners” for their participation.

Terence Corrigan
Institute of Race Relations

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