Trade union Solidarity has called on the government to scrap restrictive regulations such as the minimum wage and BEE to let businesses thrive and help with economic growth.
Solidarity has also criticized the reinstating of the social relief of distress grant to provide a monthly payment of R350 until the end of March 2022.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said this grant had been made possible by the slight improvement they have seen in tax revenue collection.
Theuns du Buisson, an economics researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute, said making available more funds to afford the R350 allowance for the unemployed is unsustainable.
He said it puts more pressure on the economy and increases the burden on South Africa.
“The larger than expected tax revenue is still less than what is needed to balance the ordinary budget of the state and can rather be used for that,” said Du Buisson
“What the government is doing with its support packages is to keep people alive on debt instead of creating a better future for them.”
What the government should do, he said, is to enable people to thrive.
“This can only happen if the right climate is created where an economy can grow so that jobs can be more readily available,” Du Buisson said.
Solidarity called on the government to immediately relax its labour regulations and do away with restrictive regulations and ideologies like the minimum wage and black economic empowerment.
“The government is still relentlessly pursuing its course to make more people dependent on the state instead of enabling the private sector to create jobs,” he said.
“It is more important for the government to let people just survive on R350 than it is to scrap a regulation such as the minimum wage requirement, thus enabling a person to earn at least R1,000 or more.”
Solidarity’s comments echo the views of John Endres, the CEO-elect of the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR).
Endres said that over two decades of social engineering under the guise of BEE and related racial policies had produced dismal outcomes.
He said BEE and related policies discourage foreign investors, who are exasperated and confounded by the need to navigate racial regulations. They simply take their money elsewhere.
“To make a dent in poverty, joblessness and inequality, South Africa needs to take the brakes off when it comes to economic growth. That means dispensing with BEE and the entire raft of race-based policies,” he said.
“BEE and its cousins, such as affirmative action, cadre deployment and preferential procurement, have cast South Africa’s state institutions and state-owned enterprises into collapse and chaos.”
The government and its associated organs are barely able to deliver services in any field anymore, be it healthcare, education, water, electricity, transport, or safety.
“After two decades, the proof is in. The ANC’s race-based policies haven’t worked, and doubling down won’t make them work. It is time to scrap them and consign them to the dustheap of history,” he said.
“A fresh approach is needed: one that focuses on actual disadvantage instead of skin pigmentation, and that is effective in increasing upward social mobility for the millions of South African currently stuck at the bottom.”