“Government does not have businesses’ support for more of the same, as contained tonight in the address by President Cyril Ramaphosa. It is required and foreseeable that in the months and years ahead businesses continue altering course themselves. Businesses are and will be developing plans and strategies that factor in harmful state interventions and state failure, seeking ways to ensure continuity despite a continuously centralising political elite,” says Piet le Roux, CEO of business organisation Sakeliga.
“When almost everything a government wants to be responsible for in a country goes wrong, it is time for that government to alter course, not double down. One would think that after listing so many aspects of the country’s predicament, a government would announce that it is reconsidering at least the timelines of its interventionist policies and the principles of its lockdown strategy. Yet tonight we heard the opposite, in another of these addresses in which President Ramaphosa broadcasts instructions ‘with immediate effect’ to around 60 million people,” says Le Roux.
“From a government perspective, when an economy can no longer bear its interventions, it is time to let that economy recover and let its people earn a living – not embark on an unprecedented, dependency-forming, and unsustainable welfare scheme. Instead of merely deferring one or two taxes for three months, this would have been an excellent time for a government to defer – ‘with immediate effect’ – several of its key interventionist policies,” says Le Roux.
Le Roux says that the roots of the current crisis predate lockdowns, “but the government’s interventions in recent months have accelerated and intensified longstanding destructive policies. For the government to stick to the same policies that brought us crisis, is to promise taking us further down a path on which businesses in this country are not prepared to go. Under these circumstances, economic recovery must happen despite government.”