The following appeared originally on the africanlightbulbsociety blog.
Written by: Taelo Immanuel
There’s a vast difference between Politics and Economics. Sixty years of political freedom has taught Africans that their political liberators lack the ability to deliver them from poverty, unemployment and inequality caused by colonization and apartheid. But there’s a simple reason behind this.
Economic Freedom in our lifetime as promised by Julius Malema and his Economic Freedom Fighters seems to many the appropriate cause of action to follow in an attempt to take South Africans to their promised land.
Many, in particular, the youth of South Africa have bought this hook, line and sinker. The engine of South African liberation politics, the Freedom Charter, is at the heart of Malema’s deliverance strategy. This in itself betrays a gross misunderstanding of progressive economic theory.
Nationalization of mines, banks and other key assets; and of course, the expropriation of land without compensation are the lifeblood of Malema’s populist campaign and what keeps winning him more support.
What the EFF hasn’t learned is that the ANC has had to let go of such policies because of the detrimental effects they’re likely to have on the economy. They’re disastrous political ideas based on emotion and sentiment, and not sound principles founded on functional economics.
The ANC’s central planning ideas such as BBBEE, Affirmative Action, and their alliance with COSATU and the South African Communist Party have failed to rid South Africa of poverty, inequality and unemployment. The legacy of apartheid is often blamed for the delays but the real reason is that liberation politicians simply don’t understand Economics.
The Robin Hood approach of taking from the rich to give to the poor is not a viable economic strategy. Replacing 5 million whites with 45 million blacks through BBBEE and Affirmative Action is poor mathematics at best. Nationalizing productive businesses will not lead to more jobs but rather a bloated public service and an unnecessary brain drain.
Julius Malema is a liberation politician campaigning on this unworkable approach based on a defunct and abandoned political document, the Freedom Charter, which fails to understand modern economic theory.
If young black South Africans want to succeed in the South African economy, they must go to those who’ve done so already, and not student politicians. Johan Rupert, Christo Wiese, Koos Bekker, Stephen Saad, Alan Gray, Lauritz Diepenaar, etc., should be their inspiration and not poor politicians campaigning to be next in line to becoming rich by looting the State.
But young black South Africans won’t because these men are white and are automatically relegated to the league of oppressor and are branded ‘bloody agents’ yet they hold the key to our economy. If we’re smart, we won’t let them go to their graves without sharing their wealth of knowledge and wisdom.
It’s time for sanity to prevail. Black South Africans need to swallow their pride and let go of their anger. They need to accept mentorship and leadership from these captains of industry who’re respected the world over. They need to allow these men to seed the next generation of wealthy South Africans.
What young black South Africans will discover is that these men all possess high skill levels because of education and this allows them to innovate and create products that others are willing to pay money for and thus prosper them economically. It’s an approach with a proven track record the world over. It has displaced old world communistic and socialist thinking which hamper innovation, discovery, experimentation, competition, merit and thus human development.
Julius Malema is yet another political messiah who will not take blacks to their promised land because he simply doesn’t know the way there. What South Africa needs are countless economic messiahs with GPS coordinates to the promised land, and blueprints to milk and honey factories. They’ll then in turn create the jobs needed to deal with inequality, unemployment and poverty.
These economic messiahs have to be birthed and raised by the current generation of wealth creators and not politicians. As long as Africans are obsessed with political struggle icons such as Thomas Sankara, political documents such as the Freedom Charter and other political relics from the past, they’ll keep regressing and maintaining their economic slave status. It’s time to move on.
Author: Taelo Immanuel is an entrepreneur, creative consultant, blogger and speaker based in Johannesburg. His blog challenges Africans to think differently about their present reality. He presents Freedom and Innovation as solutions to Africa’s complex problems. You can follow him on his blog www.africanlightbulbsociety.com.