'State handouts hamper growth'

2010-08-11 16:56

Johannesburg - Government handouts and political patronage stifle economic growth and are an insult to the majority of South Africans, renowned businesswoman Mamphela Ramphele said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the annual Discovery Leadership summit in Sandton, Ramphele said government is not addressing the country's wealth gap.

"At the heart of this failure is government turning citizens into recipients of handouts," said Ramphele.

According to Ramphele, RDP housing is an example of handouts creating a vicious cycle of dependency on government.

"Taking away this ability (of people to build their own houses) adds salt to the wound of indignity and humiliation," she said.

'BEE an empty promise'

She also said black economic empowerment (BEE) has not lived up to its promises. "It has resulted in many unintended consequences, like creating a culture of compliance rather than a culture of transformation," she said. "The focus on political patronage has denied rural people significant benefits."

Also speaking at the conference, Discovery Holdings [JSE:DSY] CEO Adrian Gore said there is no roadmap to success, and many Bric (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries face bigger problems relating to crime, corruption and social ills than South Africa.

"We are dogged by negativity, and this is fundamentally irrational," he said. Gore said this is largely due to the country being framed as a "poor African state" by international perceptions and media.

"I'm not saying this isn't our reality, I'm saying we can get out of it."

Ramphele said the private sector should engage with government to find solutions for problems like unemployment and poverty, and challenged the country's CEOs to debate the role of the media in the country.

Earlier in the conference, Tokyo Sexwale said the country's media was not at risk of losing its independence.

"I can state from where I sit, from where I stand, that the perception that the leading party is at war with the media is just that - a perception," he said.

"South Africans are made of stellar stuff - we should be able to discuss the media- government relationship," said Sexwale.


  • Dana - 2010-08-11 17:40

    The ANC is the biggest catastrophe that has ever happened to this country. Even if we got rid of them now it will take decades to undo the mess they've made.

  • Leroy - 2010-08-11 17:48

    still looking for answers from the ANC? we all know that to solve most of the issues all we need to do is manage our population! There are to many people and too few jobs! Creating more jobs wont help as the population will still grow, always resulting in a lack of jobs..... its a endless cycle until people realise that they need to start pulling thier own weight in the issues we face! are you educating your children? or are you just worried when you will get your first/next grandchild?

  • Mashangu Maluleka - 2010-08-11 17:51

    The problem with handouts, is that everytime you receive some,you give loose the same amount of your self-esteem. He who gives you will always rule you!

  • Knorrig - 2010-08-11 17:55

    Hahaha...ain't it just telling that the very people who benefitted most from RACIST BEE/AA are now against it! Sexwale and Ramaphele would've been NOTHING without BEE/AA!

  • Ian - 2010-08-11 17:58

    AMen and well said there lady, None of this buying votes with a yellow T Shirt Cr@p anymore. Stop the handouts and let them work for what they want or desire........just like the rest of the world.

  • Nasdaq7 - 2010-08-11 18:40

    The biggest challenge is: why aren't more people willing to start up businesses. Our country will never reach its goals if we do not produce more entrepreneurs. The commodity boom cycle will end sooner or later. We can't continue to rely on commodity exports for growth and job creation.

  • TC - 2010-08-11 19:26

    Mamphela Ramphele for president!

  • Rumpelstiltzkin - 2010-08-11 19:51

    I salute Mme Mamphela Ramphele. I believe she is the kind of academic and stateperson we all need to be looking for right now when things seem so topsy-turvy. I agree with Tokyo Sexwale that South Africans are made of sterner stuff and can discuss issues of Media-Govt relations, however the perceptions that seem to be flying around are based on being at different Perspectives. Let me clarify. When the President calmly assures the media and the nation that there is no way that Govt wants to censure and control the press, it becomes almost believable. Now add Julius Malema stating that the Tribunals are coming (we like them or not because it was decide at Polokwane) and because "these people are dangerous", and there is an immediate recipe for deep suspicion and distruct in what Govt says. As a country, we have effectively buried one form of Apartheid only to present with a flourish a meaner, nastier, more sinister variance on divisional politics (Call them by whatever name you please). If you are not a top-ranking ANC member or have family or struggle links to them, you can forget about ever achieving much in this country. We dream of a time when the euphoria of 1991 and 1994 was to carry us towards being the leading country not only in Africa, but South of the Equator....for all the gains we have made, 3-4 years have eroded national pride, replacing it with a superficial celebratory atmosphere which makes us seem united. We are not. No sooner than the flags from the SWC came down, our real selves were exposed again. We are a selfish, lazy nation so used to the handouts that Mme Ramphele talks about that we look on with suspicion at innocent people who daily ply their trade under harsh conditions to make a better life for themselves, then we attack them. If we were to the jobs and tasks they do, we wouldn't make it, yet we are quick to claim that they have come to take our jobs. Job creation is not the Govt's responsibility, jobs reside in the heads of each and every one of us. Seek out a niche market, work hard at it and you will be successful. Government is supposed to ensure that if I have an idea, it can manifest through the numerous funding, advisory and other services provided. Let us roll-up our sleeves and get down to work. We have slipped a long way from 1994. Let us become proud again.

  • evermore - 2010-08-12 09:21

    Get out of the malevolent influence of the SACP. Their socialist ideas have not worked anywhere in the world. Give title deeds to residents who live in rural areas now controlled by chiefs and let them produce food for themselves and for others. But this individual ownership is an anethema to the SACP who want Govt to control evrything as they they now control the recipients of handouts.Don't vote ANC and then you wont get a handout!

  • Real leaders-help! - 2010-08-12 11:13

    In 1994 there was a great sigh of relief. We had transitioned from apartheid to democracy. We had changed government from a repressive regime under Botha and those before him. We wrote a new constitution. The RDP was launched.Every South African , even the right wingers, had a positive expectancy. The rot started there when the ANC/Cosatu said "We own the RDP". In other words the RDP was uplifted from the grasp of the "people on the ground" and became a toll for every power-grabbing, money-grabbing politician, favour-grabbing official at all levels of government, civil society and business. At every level groups and individuals who were pro-development and pro-democracy were marginalised. It started with then deputy president Thabo Mbeki. He dismantled institutions, (for example SA Communications Services or SACS) which could further democracy, participation and communication; instead of empowerment from the top and grass roots democracy being allowed to flourish ("bottom up and top down"), we lost a HUGE chance to capitalise on the energy, goodwill and hope of our "rainbow nation". We had an economy burgeoned by investment, we had economic and fiscal stewardship of the highest order through Trevor Manuel and Tito Mboweni. So what has actually happened under the ANC's watch? Well, it's been similar to giving kids all the keys to the toy store, the sweet store and the the bank vault. The ANC's so-called leadership has not had the maturity, the wisdom, the capacity, the leadership skills, the value systems to take this legacy and behave in a response-able way. We have 20-25% unemployment (pick a figure), we have three grant recipients who don't need to work for every taxpayer who does. We have a culture of raw, crass grab-what-I-can "leadership". Corrupt it is indeed. We have cronyism determining key govt positions, not skills; as the hon Ms Ramphele stated so boldly and courageously, BEE does not and cannot stimulate true empowerment. Entrepreneurship requires different knowledge and learning through experience. Now that corruption is so exposed, patronage is the order of the day between top politicians and their cronies in business. The ANC legacy thus has in quick time annihilated the legacy so faithfully bestowed upon it by "the people". The ANC's greatest promoters and encouragers have become the critics it now is hell-bent on silencing via the media bill. To be so reassuring, I am not sure whether Mr Sexwale could have read the draft bill. Or, does he think it won't go through? Like the Discovery Leadership Summit, we need the real leaders of this country to become a force for the change that we need. In the late 1980s Clem Sunter, then working at Anglo American on long range planning, took a scenario planning show all around the country, including the Botha cabinet. It seems to me to have been one of the catalysts from business and the churches, which contributed to peaceful transition. The "low road, middle road, high road" scenarios painted clear pictures of where we were headed as a country, depending on which road we took. Clearly we did take the high road back then. Now we are back on the low road. We have a government leading us towards the edge of the cliff, squandering resources and opportunities, and using the mushroom approach towards the voting majority (keep them in the dark and feed them ***). They cover their butts by blaming their detractors and stoking up the fires of frustration and anger, instead of the fires of "LETS GET TO WORK FOR A BETTER LIFE". Any scenario planners out there ready to take up the challenge?

  • Raskefing - 2010-08-23 21:02

    There is no question that there is rampant corruption in SA, this has been the case even before the ANC took power. The major difference is that new and hungrier players are supping at the milk jug. However most of the long term problems such as high unemployment is a direct result of the deliberate policy of selective education by the previous regime that has left the black population with little educational skills to function in the modern job market, the effects will be with us for decades !

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