Give R500 billion to the right 10 people to fix South Africa – Mark Barnes

Former SA Post Office CEO Mark Barnes said 10 people should be given R50 billion each, which they can spend as they see fit, to fix South Africa’s problems.

Barnes said he is confident that inequality, poverty, and unemployment will be replaced with the prospect of national economic dignity within a year.

South Africa was recently given a R70-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to assist the country to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The money will be used to support health services, protect the most vulnerable, drive job creation, unlock economic growth, and stabilise public debt.

It forms part of the R500-billion COVID-19 package which was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in April.

The main problem with this funding is that a lot of the funds are wasted and looted by politically connected “COVIDpreneurs”.

In a recent interview with Radio 702, Special Investigations Unit (SIU) spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said they are already investigating corruption and fraud on the scale of billions of rand.

The corruption became so widespread that Ramaphosa announced special measures to fight corruption during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President said last week he is concerned about COVID-19 funds being stolen or misused, which puts lives at risk.

A better way

Speaking to eNCA, Barnes said this “new money” which is entering the system should be spent on things which provide a return.

He said the money should be invested in areas where “small- and medium-sized businesses live and where the informal market struggles to operate”.

“We can’t use this money and plough it into SOEs or social causes. We need to build a middle class,” he said.

Instead of entrusting the money to the government, Barnes said it will be better spend giving it to 10 smart people and let them spend it as they see fit.

Barnes said to efficiently spend the money you do not need a lot of people. Instead, you need a lot of expertise.

“You need people with an understanding and experience in business growth,” he said. This group should include successful business leaders across all demographics.

“I would take people who built businesses with capital and who are experienced at growing markets.”

The value of building businesses

Barnes explained that building business has great value to the country as it adds to the tax base and relieves pressure on UIF and social grants.

“There is a huge benefit to the government – every time we build a business, we create a tax base,” he said.

“There is also UIF. At the moment UIF is paying out to unemployed people. If we create a job for them, the UIF fund will receive money.”

He said the mindset should not be “social rescue”. Instead, it should be to invest in established businesses.

“If you do it right, you will move away from capital and ownership transfers towards creating businesses and the prospect of economic dignity.”

Mark Barnes interview

Mark Barnes Twitter post

Now read: Corruption crackdown in South Africa

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Give R500 billion to the right 10 people to fix South Africa – Mark Barnes