HILARY JOFFE: OV: never before have so many depended on so few for so much

The devil is completely in the detail - and as often as not the details of the reform are contested within the ANC and within the government

07 March 2021 - 00:08

We all agree on what to do. We just have to implement. How often have we heard that? The narrative, in private and public sectors, is that the policies are in place on the structural reforms needed to lift SA out of its economic stagnation. The problem is just the lack of implementation - not to mention its evil twin, the lack of capacity in the government. But it's not nearly that simple. Too often, the promises of reforms in the president's state of the nation speeches or in the economic plans announced by the government are no more than high-level commitments.

The devil is completely in the detail - and as often as not the details of the reform are contested within the ANC and within the government. One reason might be ideological or political - when the president commits to allowing private sector electricity generation, that doesn't mean everyone in the party or in the government can stomach the prospect of a future electricity market that Eskom no longer dominates. The other reason might well be vested interests, which either block reforms or compete so fiercely over who extracts the rents out of the reform that the reform never happens. And arguably even where there is lack of capacity, that reflects a political problem rather than some inherent dearth in SA of skills or expertise...

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