South Africa is becoming increasingly unequal. Income inequality is on an upward trajectory and has decoupled from the average for emerging markets.
SA’s overall and youth unemployment is significantly higher than the average for emerging markets.
These comprise growing an inclusive economy, eliminating poverty, inclusive growth, qualitative transformation through a change in ownership patterns, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the State and promoting leadership and partnership.
Government has introduced the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan through Infrastructure South Africa, and has established the Infrastructure and Investment Office and a National Infrastructure Fund. Intentions are to unlock R1 trillion in infrastructure investment over four years, to increase infrastructure investment from the current 5,9% of GDP to 10% of GDP, and encourage a spending shift from consumption to investment in capital goods by growing this at 7,8% per annum.
As Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, said recently: “Subsidies of R2,2 billion will support the Social Housing Programme aimed at poor, working South Africans. We expect that the total investment from this programme will be R20 billion over the next 10 years.”
Economic restructuring requires an institutionalised approach where organisations, semi-government institutions and private sector corporations ensure a prolonged period of sustained and inter-generational inclusion and empowerment (Iscor, SASOL and Eskom).
The current “race format” (ie fast-paced development) rewards short sprints, so turns the beneficiaries into competitors rather than teammates. Transformation must be a team sport, and competitors sometimes compete in too many fixtures rather than being focused. Institutionalised support is needed to take heed of the benefits of a longer-range career development approach.
The current Economic Recovery Plan looks beyond construction toward a maintenance orientation. Transformation needs to move beyond lobbying for “opportunity” and “benefit.” “Opportunity” is something created through having a consistent and sustained presence, and therefore a fragmentation of focus undermines the possibility of real opportunity. “Benefit” is the reward that materialises as a consequence of sustained and consistent training, practicing and competing.
However, many social housing projects are abandoned and left unfinished (Klerksdorp, Riverlea, Ekurhuleni and East London) because of short-range thinking.
The Economic Recovery Plan looks beyond construction toward maintenance because long-term economic transformation needs a departure from the “short sprint” format to a sustained growth, in order to build strong organisations and businesses beyond this generation.
The character of corruption in the social housing environment is a concern, as corruption can be a form of violence. Who hurts the most? The quality of governance at public institutions and agencies like SHRA is key. The effectiveness of the State and its policy implementers must be bolstered so that the state is an enabler.