THERE is a lot wrong with South Africa and the people who lead it, political analyst and businessman Moeletsi Mbeki said in a public lecture last night.
The brother of former president Thabo Mbeki, speaking at Wits University, compared South Africa’s life expectancy, infant mortality and unemployment with other African countries and said even in this comparison, SA fares badly.
“Many people think the most developed country in Africa is South Africa. That is not true. Mauritius is.”
He said in the past two decades, the ANC has created a consumer culture instead of focusing on production, which is having an increasingly negative effect on the economy.
“A third of the country’s gross domestic product is spent on civil service salaries and welfare grants.
“The massive consumption of the black elite is unsustainable and must be turned around. It doesn’t reduce poverty, it increases it.”
Mbeki said: “We … think that we were disadvantaged by apartheid, but we were disadvantaged by not being trained as entrepreneurs. A lot of disadvantage is caused by the ANC itself.”
A small black elite controls the state and government revenue and spends most of it keeping voters happy, instead of focusing on production and industry.
He said 70% of ANC voters are unemployed and have not completed matric. These people are dependent on the state for support.
But instead of developing entrepreneurs, the government is creating an administrative class dependent on government salaries, while spending billions on welfare grants, Mbeki said.
“The ANC government focuses on consumption and sidelines production. Where production and consumption are forced to compete, production will always lose and that is what is happening in South Africa.”
The government has to realise that it will not get far with infrastructure development while the production sector is declining.
He urged the government to focus on production, to prevent South Africa from declining into a purely mineral exporting economy.