The Inhumanity of Socialist Policies

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Capitalist, free trade-loving individuals are always portrayed as greedy and slave-driving souls. But when you consider what capitalism is actually all about – voluntary exchange between free individuals, finding solutions to existing problems or even future problem – then you will come to the conclusion that people who believe in more open trade and free market policies that promote individual liberty in fact benefit society. 

About a week ago, someone on Twitter sent me a private message that shook me to the core. In the message there was a picture of an empty fridge. Someone was asking for food because they hadn’t eaten in days. Upon speaking to him to find out more about who he was, I discovered that he is a young man who dropped out of tertiary education because of financial constraints. He is currently unemployed and therefore has no source of income. 

One of the bad policies that President Ramaphosa signed into law in January 2020, was the National Minimum Wage Act. What this means is that all employers cannot pay their employees less than R3500 per month, irrespective of their skill levels or the type of job that they do.

In a country with 55% poverty rates, one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, and about 70% of those unemployed being the youth, we have to question the wisdom of signing this measure into law. The President chose to disregard the evidence that a one-size fits all national minimum wage will do wide untold harm and many young people now stand no chance of ever gaining employment, even with matric certificates. This is immoral.

The cycle of poverty will continue to be perpetuated and we’ll have increasing numbers of social grant beneficiaries. 

Another picture was trending recently on Twitter: Snaking queues of black people waiting for food parcels. One would be forgiven for thinking this was a queue from 1994 when South Africans waited patiently to cast their votes for the first time. Things have changed and unfortunately, government policies have affected black people in townships and rural areas the worst. 

Why can’t we step back as a country to evaluate where we are going and where we want to be so that our country becomes prosperous and her people are able to take care of themselves? Social grants must not be permanent. This can only change when politicians in Parliament understand the impact of the laws they enact on people.

Over the past few weeks, I have collected about R30,000 in donations from generous South Africans. I continue to do so because for me it is shameful that a developed African country like South Africa can have such deep levels of poverty. This is a result of these badly conceived socialist policies.

More policies entrenching poverty in our country, and poor economic growth are Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), affirmative action, and employment equity.

There is nothing empowering to most black people about BBBEE. As a result, those who found themselves on elite levels and the politically connected have been the only ones supposedly empowered.

Why do black people still need to be affirmed in workplaces, 26 years into our democracy? With all the special treatment created to make us feel worthy, government still sees the need to affirm us. It is condescending and should be left behind. Affirmative action does not belong in our future. South Africans are all equal before the law.

Employment equity legislation only creates bad blood between employers, employees and government. An example I read about a month ago was of a family business that has been manufacturing chocolate for decades and employing mostly black women. Government bureaucrats from the labour department came and found a problem with the fact that there weren’t enough black men and threatened to fine them or shut them down, ruining a profitable enterprise that was providing valuable employment. That’s how ridiculous this bean counting has been.

If South Africa is to be prosperous, we need economic reforms. The President must support his finance minister, Tito Mboweni, in his call for reforms that free the economy from the shackles of an overbearing state. We cannot let things continue in this manner. South Africans deserve a better life. Please listen, Mr President, and lawmakers in Parliament. You cannot be the only ones whose lives have been changed post-1994. It is immoral and is an insult to those who fought for our struggle for freedom.