Prof Christopher Malikane rehashed EFF’s manifesto and presented it as RET, the writer says.
It was disappointing to read Prof Chris Malikane’s vapid article, “How to break monopoly white capital”, published in The Sunday Independent a fortnight ago, says Molifi Tshabalala.

Besides jumping on the bandwagon of calls for so-called radical economic transformation (RET), as spearhead by pseudo-revolutionaries such as President Jacob Zuma and Andile Mngxitama, he rehashed the EFF’s founding manifesto, which includes nationalisation of banks, mines, and other commanding heights of the economy, free quality education, and expropriation of land without compensation.

Malikane, who is an economic adviser to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, is out of touch with the realities facing the country and thus has his priorities wrong, giving credence to Vytjie Mentor’s revelation that he was at the infamous Saxonwold Gupta house on November 16, 2016.

More so, considering his address at a Black First Land First event, where he expanded on his views on the RET. It appears that the Guptas have finally captured the National Treasury.

They may have won the battle, but not the war, namely of white monopoly capital (WMC).

I had hoped that Malikane would elucidate what we should replace the WMC with, either the state monopoly capital (SMC) or black monopoly capital (BMC). The Freedom Charter, which the ANC adopted as its policy document, states: “The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and the monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole.”

It calls for the SMC, whereas the ANC-led government is breeding the BMC through its black industrialist programme - the seed of yet another mega-corruption scheme.

The Freedom Charter is not a plan, but a post-colonial South Africa vision. The same applies to the neo-liberal National Development Plan (NDP), as former president Thabo Mbeki pointed out in his address at the 2016 Sunday Times Top 100 Companies Awards in Sandton. It is a vision, not a plan.

Mbeki described the NDP as “merely a correct vision until a detailed plan is elaborated Actually implemented”.

The ANC-led government is yet to devise a plan to implement the NDP. In fact, one cannot make sense of where the RET fits into the NDP, if at all.

The black industrialist programme would breed overnight millionaires and billionaires such as Zuma’s son, Duduzane, without entrepreneurial backgrounds, and create a black elitist neo-patrimonial coterie akin to the Afrikaner Broederbond.

I had also hoped that Malikane would elucidate where the government would get the wherewithal, namely extractive capacity, to implement free higher education and the National Health Insurance among other freebies.

Currently, South Africa has over R2 trillion debt, exorbitantly shooting up every year.

The debt would soar further if the government forges ahead with its R1trillion nuclear deal. As the state coffers dry up with corruption spiralling out of control and the debt soaring, the government would have to approach the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank for a loan to run the country and pay social grants and other freebies.

The loan’s terms and conditions stipulated in the structural adjustment programme, not only further impoverish the developing economies, but also strip them of their economic independence and political sovereignty.

As seen by Zuma’s recent vacuous cabinet reshuffles, South Africa has no economic independence and political sovereignty, owing to the loan’s terms and conditions.

Last, I had hoped that Malikane would elucidate whether South Africa has the steering capacity to break down the WMC. While most state-owned enterprises, if not all, are running at a loss and the government continues to bail them out.

And every year the auditor-general’s report lays bare the billions of rand the government splurges on private service providers, while the public sector has a shortage of critical skills and knowledge to deliver basic services.

A mistake the professor and other RET proponents make is that we can break the South African economy free from the global capitalist system on a whim or overnight. To start with, we cannot break the WMC without revitalising a township economy, monopolised by the Pakistan-Somalia cartel, to build an economic base.

For example, DJ Sbu’s energy drink, MoFaya, is not available in the townships because he cannot break into the township market due to the Pakistan-Somalia cartel, which siphons millions of rand from the poorest of the poor without creating jobs, nor paying taxes. The Pakistan-Somali cartel, operating in a sort of blue ocean market in the townships, commits huge illicit capital flight.

To revitalise the township economy and gradually break down the WMC and replace it with a hybrid model of black-cum-state monopoly capitalism, South Africa should adopt a Brazilian model.

Through the “national champions” programme, Brazil hand-picked private companies with prospects of expansionary growth and invested in them. Known as leviathan, as a minority investor, the model is one of two forms of state capitalism.

The noise about the RET should be understood within two perspectives. First, it is a tell-tale sign that the ANC’s days in power are numbered, thus resorting to populist misnomers such as the RET and inclusive growth to woo the black electorate without a plan to implement them. It lost 8% in the past two general elections.

The prospect of losing power in 2019 looms large.

* Tshabalala is an independent political analyst.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

The Sunday Independent