DM168

LETTER FROM THE DM168 EDITOR

Let’s stop the ANC bullying its way through the energy crisis

Let’s stop the ANC bullying its way through the energy crisis
Eskom Generation Lethabo Power. (Photo: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times) | Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Thulani Mbele) |Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's President. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images | South Africa's Minister for Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan. (Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images / Waldo Swiegers)

While President Cyril Ramaphosa was counting on us being a nation ‘defined by hope and resilience’ to survive yet another year of ANC broken promises, bad ideas and ineptitude, I, dear readers, had my heart filled with real hope for our future in a school hall filled with bright young learners.

Dear DM168 readers,

Last night, while some of you were watching the cacophony created by Julius Malema and the EFF while waiting for the President to give his State of the Nation Address, I attended a merit function at my son’s high school, Pro Arte Alphen Park, a government school of specialisation in Pretoria East.

While President Cyril Ramaphosa was counting on us being a nation “defined by hope and resilience” to survive yet another year of ANC broken promises, bad ideas and ineptitude, I, dear readers, had my heart filled with real hope for our future as I saw evidence of resilience and the fruits of commitment and hard work in action, in a school hall filled with bright young learners from Grade 8 to Grade 11. All living proof of the school’s motto “Vigor et Verita” (strength and integrity). 

The principal, Jacques Du Rand, spoke of his school’s 97% pass rate achieved not by promises, cheap talk or talent, but by hours and hours of study and practice, of teachers taking the time to help learners nurture creativity as a tool to resolve challenges, of learners pushing through despite the two years of Covid-disrupted learning. 

I have no problem forking out a chunk of my salary every month to taxes when it pays for the privilege that my son and his peers have to attend a school that nurtures talent, and not just recognises but equally values the importance of the arts, science, technology, entrepreneurship and racial, cultural and socio-economic class diversity. 

While high marks are not the only signifier of success, these young women and men give me some hope that they will carve a future that is open to creative innovation and experimentation, that has heart and soul, a hard work ethic, compassion and commitment to change our country into what the ANC could never achieve with its clunky, collectivist group-speak, state-control dreams of a better place for all. 

Clunky, state-control dreams

If you want an idea of what I mean by clunky state-control dreams, let’s return to our president’s Sona. The president, through the ANC, thinks that instituting a national State of Disaster and appointing a Minister of Electricity in his ever-expanding presidency will fix the problem caused by his party, its presidents, ministers and deployments over the last two decades. 

To quote him directly: “In a time of crisis, we need a single point of command and a single line of march. Just as we address the cause of the crisis, we also need to address its impact.”

If clunky, 72-year-old comrade Pravin Gordhan and his clunky counterpart, 67-year-old comrade Gwede Mantashe are incapable of fixing what’s broken at Eskom and the other state-owned enterprises, or are incapable of brainstorming one good idea together, is the solution not to send them both off to enjoy their hard-earned ministerial pension packages so that more flexible, creative, skilled and pragmatic 21st century leaders can be put in charge to solve our energy problem? 

Our energy present and future is directly linked to a just energy transition, our environmental health and climate change, so why not let the Minister of Environment run Energy? Oops, oh yes, I forget, it’s all about the ANC, not about the country. 

The ANC needs to declare a State of Disaster, which it actually caused more than two decades ago, so it can bully its way through the crisis it caused and maybe corner more perks for more cadres, like the PPE tenderpreneurs did through the last State of Disaster. 

Our president emphasising hope and resilience to keep us sailing through the turbulent seas of his and his party’s making feels a lot like abuse. We the people have been hit, kicked, battered and bruised by the  ANC, but they want us to grin and bear it with fortitude, hope and resilience. 

According to the Stockholm Resilience Centre, “Resilience is the capacity of a system, be it an individual, a forest, a city or an economy, to deal with change and continue to develop. It is about how humans and nature can use shocks and disturbances like a financial crisis or climate change to spur renewal and innovative thinking.”

Ideological rut

From this definition, it is patently clear that it is not citizens of South Africa who need resilience but Ramaphosa and his governing party comrades, whose heads are deeply stuck in an ideological rut.

That is why the one promise Ramaphosa made in his last Sona, that could solve one of our biggest problems, unemployment, through a social compact between government, business, labour and civil society organisations, has not got off the ground. A community representative told Business Maverick writer Ray Mahlaka last July that the plans stalled as they were big on vision but thin on the specifics of fixing problems. 

John Matisonn, in a fascinating article published by DM last year, explained why the ANC still struggles to get a social compact going that could ramp up our economy and get our young people the employment opportunities they so desperately need.

In it, he traces how the ANC made economic mistakes early on, and still struggles to correct its course. It starts with the ANC/SACP alliance with the Soviet Union, and how many in  the ANC were rattled by the Soviet collapse that for some, turned their world upside down.

Light on economic policy

Matisonn wrote that Nelson Mandela was acutely aware that the ANC was light on economic policy, and after asking for assistance, a team of Canadian and African economists was established, which concluded that the ANC’s economic knowledge and intellectual capacity was “undeveloped and uncoordinated”. They recommended a Macroeconomic Research Group (Merg) to provide research and training. 

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The Merg appointed by  the ANC was coordinated by a South African economist Vella Pillay, based in London, who worked for the Bank of China, and who had insights into how China shifted its ideological thinking to liberalise its economy. 

The Merg plan, according to Matisonn, “proposed a two-phase, post-apartheid recovery to start with government spending up to the limit recommended by the World Bank – 6% of GDP – laying the groundwork for private investors to drive growth in the second phase.” 

He continued: “To achieve these aims, it proposed the creation of a slim, professional civil service, and opposed blanket nationalisation, insisting on a case-by-case assessment of enterprises that should be nationalised or privatised. The Merg approach was that states should work with markets instead of against them. And it aligned with the World Bank in calling for 30% of land to be redistributed to black farmers.”

The ANC rejected this plan. So we are in the mess we are in because of the ANC’s inability to correct course. We have the highest unemployment rate in Africa, and one of the highest in the world. Those bright kids at my son’s school might just decide to take their skills and talents to other countries that have less rigid backward-thinking governments.

We are sledgehammered by corruption, yet the ANC and its offshoot, the EFF, still fly the kite of state-controlled Soviet dreams. The ANC is still loyal to its Soviet ally even though the USSR is no more.

ANC cuddling up to Putin

The ANC insists on cuddling up to Vladimir Putin even though he is no democrat, socialist or communist, just a common garden-variety Russian despot, surrounded by his patronage network of super-rich oligarch friends with grand ambitions of restoring the Russian empire to its old glory by invading and waging war on former Soviet republics such as Ukraine. 

For some worrying insight into the ANC’s way of extending its hand of friendship with its Russian bestie, read this week’s lead story in DM168 by our foreign affairs expert writer Peter Fabricius.

Our navy, Russia’s navy and China’s navy will be displaying their warfare wares in our Indian ocean towards the end of next week. The timing is exactly on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As Peter reports, several Western diplomats are concerned about this exercise. 

In much more positive news, I would like to share our latest newspaper circulation figures, thanks to those of you who still like the feel of print in your hands, and those Insiders who open up the e-edition.

Our publisher Susie White informed us that we have seen an upward trend in circulation over the past couple of months, culminating in 16,349 for the holiday issue on 24th December 2022.

The 2022 Q4 ABCs show that DM168 has increased quarter by quarter by 10%, from 8,112 to 8,931. This is thanks to every single one of you dear readers. We can only do what we do with all of your support.

Please keep on sharing your thoughts on the state of our nation and how to fix it to [email protected]

Yours in defence of truth,

Heather DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R25.

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Alan Watkins says:

    “If clunky, 72-year-old comrade Pravin Gordhan and his clunky counterpart, 67-year-old comrade Gwede Mantashe are incapable of fixing what’s broken at Eskom and the other state-owned enterprises, or are incapable of brainstorming one good idea together, is the solution not to send them both off to enjoy their hard-earned ministerial pension packages so that more flexible, creative, skilled and pragmatic 21st century leaders can be put in charge to solve our energy problem? ”

    When considering what cabinet members can and cant do, refer to what Jeremy Gordin wrote a day or so ago….”Okay, it seems clear that many members of the cabinet [xi] are (how shall I say?) unburdened by great ability.”

  • Margaret Harris says:

    May I make a delicate suggestion as to the anatomical position of the ideological rut above mentioned.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Read an article on the South African State of the Nation. Next, read the article on Jelensky’s London speech on The Houses of Parliament.

    Chalk and cheese! Buffoons vs Civilization.

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