If anyone still had any doubts about it, the Zuma-Gupta complex has now finally proved that their mantra of radical economic transformation (RET) has nothing to do with the challenges of inequality, poverty and unemployment.
In fact, what we’ve seen the RET-proponents do in recent times can only lead to more inequality, deeper poverty and more unemployment.
We now know that the RET and WMC gimmicks were conjured up and fed to the Zuma inner circle and their patronage network by a bunch of white charlatans from London, working for the PR agency Bell Pottinger.
RET as proposed and practiced by the Zuma cabal is purely about greed and power grabbing at the expense of the masses. South Africa urgently needs drastic economic and structural changes, but not ones that would further entrench and enrich a small band of crooks.
Nothing shows up the falsehood underlying RET as clearly as the latest Mining Charter.
It was delivered by a man appointed, paid and used by the Gupta family and now acting as their proxy in Cabinet, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane.
We can be sure that while the mining industry were not consulted about the charter, the Guptas probably helped write it.
The provision in the charter that naturalised black people should now also be regarded as previously disadvantaged by apartheid and colonialism is proof of that.
The Guptas arrived in South Africa just months before our 1994 elections heralding our new democracy.
Mining analysts across the ideological and racial spectrum agree that the changes in the Mining Charter can only result in shrinking the industry, scaring off investors, severely curtailing prospecting for new mines and will lead to huge job losses.
The announcement of the charter has already wiped off R51 billion of the industry’s share value.
Zwane referred to the charter as a catalyst for economic growth, job creation and a bigger participation in key sectors.
His charter, if it stands, will achieve exactly the opposite.
His step comes just a few days after the announcement that the South African economy is now officially in recession and a few weeks after Statistics SA said unemployment was now at one of its highest ever levels.
Zwane’s charter and the way he bulldozed it makes a mockery of Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s almost daily pronouncements that everything possible should be done to grow the economy, create jobs and avoid another downgrade.
If these goals were indeed what the ANC government believed in, it would not have appointed Gigaba in the first place; Sfiso Buthelezi with his scandalous record as board chair of Prasa would never have become his deputy; and Zwane would never have been promoted to Cabinet.
The confidence of investors, consumers and business in the economy is lower than it has been in a long time.
South African companies contemplating expansion are now looking at opportunities outside our borders.
Meanwhile, the evidence coming from the huge pile of disturbing leaked Gupta emails is stacking up day after day, with no reaction from the president and his Cabinet.
Gigaba, a proven Gupta enabler and possibly even a cog in the Gupta machine, preaches the Zuma/Gupta version of RET to the masses and fiscal discipline and “inclusive growth” to the markets, but nobody believes him any longer.
Not too long ago we saw another RET champion, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, blatantly and possible illegally favour a white, mostly foreign-owned company at the expense of others for contracts to distribute social grants.
What WMC, Minister Dlamini?
The RET and anti-WMC team was well represented on the boards of state owned enterprises such as the SABC, Prasa, Transnet, SAA and others that are already standing ready with the begging bowl for more billions of state money after large scale theft and maladministration.
That money should have been spent on changing the lives and prospects of the millions of marginalised people.
What RET, comrades?
Jacob Zuma, and increasingly his preferred candidate to succeed him, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, are shouting louder and louder about agricultural land that should be taken away from commercial farmers “in order to end black poverty”.
They know very well that the state presently sits on some five thousand farms that it has acquired but does not know who to give them to.
They know that there are hundreds of thousands of hectares of good land that had been redistributed, but now lie fallow because of weak state support and management.
They know that dishing out land left, right and centre without a proper strategy, state financing and technical support that have been absent so far, won’t make any difference to poverty or unemployment.
They know all this, but they are recklessly fanning the fires.
I, like many other citizens, dream of a more just and equitable society with broad participation on all levels of the economy.
But this Zuma/Gupta version of RET is purely about greed and will cost this country dearly if this madness is allowed to go on much longer.
MAX DU PREEZ