Monday, April 15, 2013

Return of the Poor White Problem

The ANC's policy has led to an increase in the poor White problem

The African National Congress (ANC) has assisted in ushering in a new democratic dispensation, but has failed dismally to create a non-racial and equal opportunity society. 

Whilst the ANC had a moral and constitutional responsibility to empower the previously disadvantaged, it should not have done that at the expense of the minority groups. You don't extend your house by building new rooms while at the same time destroying the old rooms. Otherwise your house will never be fully extended. The ANC government has become a master at solving problems by creating new ones.

Badly implemented empowerment policies have led to a rapid growth in poverty amongst our white people. The poor white problem is exacerbated by the sharp rise in unemployment of white South Africans by more than 200% since 1994. 

The government is very indifferent to the impoverishment of these citizens because, according to ANC thinking, they were previously advantaged. 

This kind of thinking is wrong and it leads to new forms of apartheid.

South Africa's overall unemployment rate is estimated at between 28 and 40%, and is most severe among poor rural blacks. On the other hand, more than 10% of the white population lives below the poverty line. South Africa is one of the world's most inequitable countries and the income gap is widening. The triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment are increasing drastically while ANC leaders spend most of their time jostling for positions and accumulating personal wealth.

Way back in 2004, President Thabo Mbeki was traumatised after realising the white poverty problem. Prior to this Mbeki was not aware of the poverty amongst some of our white people and he had assumed the standard of life of white people was higher than the national average and thus every white person lives better.

Mbeki confessed to City Press (11/04/2004): "It has been quite disturbing where, for example, in Cape Town, young white women actually came to the minister and said: ‘Minister, we have to work as prostitutes because we can't maintain ourselves, we can't maintain our children, but the police harass us in the streets. Can't you please talk to the police to just leave us alone, for there's no other way to make a living?' You can see the level of poverty and desperation among whites". Unfortunately, poverty levels amongst whites have not subsided since 2004.

Had the ANC managed the economy properly, the unemployment and poverty levels amongst all our people would have been far less. Except for the services sector, the manufacturing and agriculture sectors have been declining steadily since 1994. Sadly, the South African economy still relies on its exports of raw minerals.

The exportation of raw minerals yields low financial margins and disadvantages South Africa in terms of beneficiation. This has led to unemployment, which in my own estimation is around 40% and, at the same time, 25% of the population depends solely on government grants. The ANC government failed to turn South Africa into the industrial hub of the whole African continent by reviving the manufacturing sector and creating millions of jobs.

South Africa has now become a net importer of food because agricultural production has also decreased under the ANC's government. Actually, this country needs an Agricultural Revolution before an Industrial Revolution. Personally, I would like to see several interventions being implemented concurrently. Be that as it may be, it is important to note that East Asian economic development was preceded by the freeing up of agriculture. Once productivity gains and food security were achieved, Asian countries moved to manufacturing.
This was the same trajectory in Europe where the Agricultural Revolution laid the base for the Industrial Revolution. Something good about agriculture is that, unlike manufacturing, it does not necessarily require huge investments in technology. Agriculture is also not capital intensive and thus it creates jobs. As long as the ANC is still in power it would be almost impossible to turn around the agriculture sector.

Through the process of land restitution, land that has been given to the ‘new owners' is largely redundant because the government didn't come up with any local economic development model that would make the acquired land productive. At the beginning of this year, the government regulated an exorbitant basic salary level for farm workers. This will force most farmers out of business and, by the end of this year, more than 2000 farm workers will be retrenched and will swell the ranks of those who live under extreme poverty.

The pre-campaign for the 2014 general elections is currently underway. There are more than 20 political parties registered with the Independent Electoral Commission in South Africa, but truly speaking, there are only two bulls in the kraal, the ANC and the Democratic Alliance (DA). 

President Jacob Zuma's dancing skills and Cyril Ramaphosa's charm will not eradicate the escalating poverty. The DA has published a well researched 8% Growth Plan which has huge potential to reduce poverty across all the races.

The DA has a proven track record of good governance and service delivery as demonstrated in the Western Cape Province and municipalities under its control. Be that as it may, the DA can only serve and save South Africa if voters put them into power through the majority of their votes.  Blind loyalty to the ANC, perpetual patience, and historical sentiments will give the ANC further license to dispense patronage to its few powerful elites while the majority of our people are swamped by poverty.

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