The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has welcomed the emphasis on economic growth in the policy proposals put forward this week by the Multi-Party Charter (MPC), saying that this underscores the fact that the fundamental choice facing South Africans is to have either growth or poverty.

In a statement, the IRR says the MPC’s policy framework, which focuses on stable and transparent fiscal management, aligns with key components of the IRR’s strategy to achieve economic growth, outlined in its submission to the MPC Convention in August last year.

‘Key elements of the IRR’s strategy include the defence of property rights, and fiscal prudence in managing taxpayers’ money. It is promising that these are foundational elements of the MPC’s economic plan.’

Says IRR head of strategic communications Hermann Pretorius: ‘Poverty cannot be combated through failed redistribution policies and ideologies that put wealth extraction above value-add opportunities.

‘The fundamental political division in South Africa is not white versus black or black versus white, rich versus poor or poor versus rich. The division is much simpler than that: poverty versus economic growth.’

With South Africa facing a potential shift in governing policy, with multiple surveys, including the IRR’s, indicating a decline in the ANC’s electoral support, the IRR says the MPC’s commitment to fiscal discipline and economic growth is significant.

‘The proposed reforms, if implemented, would not only align with some of the IRR’s core recommendations but also mark a pivotal moment in South Africa’s journey towards prosperity and equality.’

Adds Pretorius: ‘This policy proposal is a warning to President Ramaphosa and the ANC to get serious on economic growth. South Africans still remember the economic progress achieved during the first dozen years of ANC governance. It was the ANC’s pro-growth policies that saw the party achieve its highest ever share of the vote in 2004 with almost 7 in 10 voters supporting the prosperity and jobs created by the ANC’s fiscal restraint and freeing of the economy.

‘The Mandela-Mbeki policy era was by no means faultless. BEE, as but one catastrophic example, set the stage for twenty years of failure. Overall unemployment, black unemployment, youth unemployment – all of these key measures of life in South Africa are today worse than twenty years ago when BEE became law. For as long as BEE remains in place, the greed of cronies, comrades, crooks, and cadres will hold back our country’s economic potential.’

Pretorius concludes: ‘The MPC’s position on economic growth is a step in the right direction. At the end of the day, a growing economy means an education system that works, a healthcare system that actually cares, more opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses, more jobs – a rising tide of prosperity that will lift all and at long last roll back the tide of apartheid-era poverty across the country.’

[Image: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay]