The Hon. Mr Narend Singh MP
Chief Whip of the Inkatha Freedom Party
As we unpack the meaning of “radical economic transformation”, let us heed the lessons of the past.
There came a time in our liberation struggle when a new crop of activists demanded radical action to accelerate political freedom. They intensified an armed struggle and imported people’s war, making our country ungovernable and human life expendable.
Inkatha rejected this strategy. We understood the lesson of Africa: that the way in which a people bring about their liberation determines the way in which they will be governed after liberation.
The same applies to the struggle for economic freedom. If we compromise the principles of our Constitution now, tomorrow’s South Africa will be steeped in corruption, dependency and crisis.
The call for “radical action” has come because we allowed ourselves to be diverted from the slow, steady path of economic growth early in our democracy.
What happened to GEAR? Or Asgisa? What happened to a clear, unambiguous economic policy?
Courageous leadership is needed to pull our nation out of poverty. But courage without wisdom is folly.
For forty years the IFP has been guided by the wisdom of the Hon. Prince Buthelezi. Long before political freedom, Prince Buthelezi warned of the battle ahead for economic freedom.
In 1986, he said, “Nowhere in Africa has political victory given rise to Utopia overnight. Indeed, in a great many places, poverty, destitution, want and ignorance have been as bad after victory as they were before victory. But it is poverty with hope, because after victory self-help, hard work, schooling, training and experience have combined to lift people up.”
Is there now a quick-fix that can replace self-help, hard work, schooling, training and experience? For we have failed to walk the necessary path. We have failed to stimulate self-help, preferring to create dependency. We have failed to value hard work, preferring entitlement. We have failed to elevate education and training, preferring to experiment with curriculums and lower standards. And we have failed to enable our people to gain experience, for they remain in the shackles of unemployment.
Is there a quick-fix to replace these steps we have failed to take?
Perhaps we should rather ask what the cost will be to “radical economic transformation”. For there will be a cost. Will it be paid by a section of society, or by the whole of the next generation?
To quote Prince Buthelezi, “Freedom is indivisible; it is something ALL share, or none.”
IFP Chief Whip in Parliament,
Mr Narend Singh, MP, on 083 788 5954
IFP Media, Parliament