Mmusi Maimane: How to fix SA – sell SAA, privatise energy, replace BEE

The chief activist of the One South Africa Movement, Mmusi Maimane, has penned an economic recovery plan in response to SA’s hard lockdown which lasted over six months. While the country is now on level 1, with attempts to revive the economy after at least 3 million jobs were lost according to Statistics SA, Mmusi Maimane says an urgent and involved plan is needed in response. He has unveiled the plan which tackles the energy sector, state-owned enterprises, how to deal with corruption and BEE. Maimane founded One SA Movement after resigning from the DA’s top position last year. His organisation has styled itself as ‘a community-driven grassroots activist movement seeking to unite a broad coalition of South Africans who want to see real change in South Africa’. The economic recovery plan is one of several initiatives aimed at contributing to SA’s socio-economic conditions, Maimane has said. – Bernice Maune. 

Mmusi Maimane: Statement on how to fix the economy: 

“Today I am proud to launch the One South Africa Movement’s Economic Recovery Plan entitled ‘Review, Repurpose, Rebuild, Reform: a bold plan to turn SA’s fortunes around. The plan is a comprehensive set of specific interventions which seek to build a stronger, revitalised south Africa in the challenging post-Covid-19 years.

Already in a technical recession when the Covid-19 virus hit our shores, the pandemic and its devastating impact on economies meant that South Africa had little respite to stave off the repeated blows to our economy and our workforce. And the indicators are grim and unsettling to recite.

It is predicted that our GDP will contract by approximately 11.5% for 2020 according to the OECD. Broad unemployment is at 42% with 2,2m more people joining the ranks of the unemployed during the months April to June this year.

Two out of every three people of working age in South Africa are now unemployed. This is a ticking time bomb requiring urgent and deliberate action.

Debates as to whether the government’s hardline approach to lockdown was correct or not are now academic. Political mudslinging over such matters solves nothing. Rather, we must adopt a mode of fragmentation that objectively assesses the current situation and offers the most practical ways to remedy it.

The true test of leadership is not putting out fires but in rebuilding amid the damage and despair. South Africans are tired of vague plans without timelines and KPI’s that are implemented and monitored. Now is the time to break with the old and usher in a new model of economic reform.

Our recovery plan requires four approaches to the economy and the state at large, review, repurpose, reform and rebuild. In this light, we argue the following 20 interventions – at least – are required to change South Africa’s fortunes and place us on the right track towards a better future.”

Corruption

  • Establish specialised corruption courts to investigate and prosecute both public and private sector corruption;
  • Implement continuous forensic lifestyle audits of all politicians and government officials;
  • Institute minimum sentence of 15 years in prison if convicted of corruption; and
  • Increase transparency in the tender process by introducing an online and accessible system.

Economy 

  • Place an immediate cap on Debt-to-GDP spending via a debt ceiling;
  • Sell SAA and open up energy markets to IPPs;
  • Regionalise the energy sector by incentivising regional bio gas, wind and solar projects; and
  • Revitalise SADC region trade and development relations similar to the ASEAN development partnership model.

Economic recovery plan: job creation 

  • Create a “Jobs and Justice Fund” to replace BEE and distribute funds from businesses to real empowerment initiatives such as bursaries, mentorship programmes and apprenticeships;
  • Build a start-up nation by overhauling funding and regulation of SMME’s — particularly access to capital and the stringent rules governing employment;
  • Introduce a voluntary post-matric Public Service year to allow matriculants entry into work-based training, gaining valuable work experience while earning a small salary; and
  • Increase the amount of tax rebates available to incentivise job creation and skills training by the business.

Mmusi Maimane on education 

  • Create an independent office of Inspector-General of Education to investigate waste, improve the effectiveness of public spending on education and address the disproportionate power of education unions;
  • Incentivise private sector funding to previously disadvantaged via tax rebates;
  • Release of high-demand spectrum to lower data costs and increase access to online resources for young people; and
  • Implement ongoing training and examining of teachers via training colleges.

Economic recovery plan: state reform 

  • Cut on the number of government departments and ministries to 10 “superministries”;
  • Introduce an incentive-based salary scheme for all public sector employees to reward top performers;
  • Launch national recruitment drive to attract the best talent and skill for public service; and
  • Pass the Direct Elections Bill to allow for independent candidates to run for public office.

 

 

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