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Constitution answers white monopoly capital issue - Mathews Phosa

Aug 17 2017 18:47
Carin Smith

Cape Town - Blaming 'white monopoly capital' is not in line with the South African Constitution, businessman and former ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa said on Thursday.

"The Constitution is clear that SA belongs to black and white - to all. That was the core of Mandela's message. And it extends to business as well. Money has no colour. Both black and white must be allowed to create jobs and wealth," he said at a leadership summit hosted by the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) and the Ukuvula Foundation.

The main reason for state capture, the Guptas and rampant corruption in South Africa is that MPs are not directly accountable to voters, in his view.

"The ANC is not the party of [Oliver] Tambo and [Nelson] Mandela anymore. There has to be an economic focus rather than a clinging to power. Real leaders will do their constitutional duty faithfully. Do not revert to racism and tribalism if real leadership is called for," said Phosa, who earlier this year accepted a nomination to run for ANC president in December.

"Realise that a sound economic platform is needed. Vote with your conscience and understand that when your time is up, leave promptly. And ensure voters can hold public representatives to account. That is what I call for today. Currently, voters lose their power after voting and we must empower the voters again. MPs must be held accountable."

He used the recent vote of no confidence motion against President Jacob Zuma as an example.

"How can people be threatened for having a different point of view? In a democracy there is dignity in having differences," said Phosa.

Partnership

In his view, it is very important to have a real partnership in SA between government and business, because business has a crucial role to play.

"There are 726 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in SA of which 313 are of commercial importance and 37 are crucial for SA's economy. Yet, all we hear is about mismanagement. So, we need private sector control to help run SOEs properly," said Phosa.

"Today it is all about sloganism, but remember all those policies must be funded otherwise they will remain just on paper. If a politician promises something and it is not fixed, it leads to revolts. That is why it is important to stop corruption now and not tell people to wait until December. The contestation for leadership seems to have blinded us regarding the job creation needed."

Massive disconnect

Phosa said there is a massive disconnect in South Africa between the leadership and those they are supposed to serve. He said the leaders of all political parties act as if it is only about who score the most in debates and they forget about the poor and the hungry.

"The first duty of being in a public position is to create a better life for all and they have failed to do so. SA's leaders are acting like a fast-moving train approaching Kilimanjaro as if there is no mountain in the way.

"But the 'clever blacks' will speak again. All of the facts (regarding state capture) will become known and history will judge and say this is wrong. He who shares in the spoils is as guilty as the thieves," said Phosa.

In his view, the silence on the part of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is telling.

"They are sitting on their hands when SA is under attack and being offered to the highest bidder. There is a culture of immunity embedded in our law enforcement so that despite a tsunami of emails no one is prosecuted," said Phosa.

That is why he thinks the 30 (ANC) MPs who voted in favour of the vote of no confidence against the president will be seen as heroes one day.

Skills development

For Phosa a great emphasis should be placed on skills development in the country.

"Include people of colour on the road to wealth. Success comes through hard work. You cannot just expect to be a CEO without skills. Yet, give blacks the skills and they will compete against anybody," said Phosa.

He would also like to see municipalities - especially smaller ones - empowered to ensure money goes to service delivery and not into people's pockets.

He would like to see mentorship being part of vocational training.

"It was a mistake to shut down vocational training. Training must be practical," he said.

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