Address in the Debate: Budget Vote 27 - Economic Development by the UDM President (23 March 2010)

Mister Speaker and honourable Members

In the past 15 years we have failed to significantly change the Apartheid economic framework, which locked the majority of black South Africans out of the economy.

We need to guard against repeating past mistakes – since 1994 we’ve seen various ministers introducing different economic policies; first it was the RDP, then GEAR, then ASGISA... now we are getting invitations to attend a dialogue on the “Next Economy”. This continuous changing of economic policies whenever a new minister is appointed is not helpful, nor should it be the victim of ideological battles between the ruling party and its alliance partners.

Often the only beneficiaries in this process are the consultants who develop so-called new policies, which only end up gathering dust in Government offices while poverty persists.

What we need is an Economic Indaba where a genuinely representative council of South Africans can plot our economic path. The objective of such an Indaba, first and foremost, must be to create a meaningful and genuine role for all black South Africans in the economy. To achieve this it would be necessary to review the progress made since 1994 and identify any inherent defects in the overall economic approach. Such a review must particularly investigate whether some of the sunset-clauses agreed to between the National Party and the ANC – especially surrounding questions of property and land – have played a role in slow economic reform. Such an Indaba could consider whether we need to rearrange our priorities, for instance to prioritise the integration and upgrade of townships and former homeland infrastructure with the rest of the country.

At such a National Indaba South Africans would have an opportunity to deliberate on questions such as the nationalisation of mines, or whether these calls are merely the last desperate bid of BEE mining magnates for a bailout by the state? Indeed we need a proper audit of our resources and who manages them for future generations; not the current situation where there seems to be a free-for-all of looting the state resources.

Already we see the signs of widespread frustration in many communities. A radical economic transformation has to occur within acceptable timeframes that can avert the type of a social explosion that the CODESA negotiations succeeded in avoiding.

I thank you.