Mzukisi Qobo questions the DA’s growth strategy

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has released a document called the Plan for Growth and Jobs. According to them it is aimed at “building an open and inclusive economy that delivers opportunities for all”. Mzukisi Qobo, a member of the Midrand group and lecturer of politics at the University of Pretoria, has now questioned the pitfalls of this strategy.

Qobo points out that the document should be examined on its merits rather than be dismissed outright however much of what he points out in his following paragraphs comes across as criticism, which may be deserved. Much of this criticism is aimed at the failure of the document to take a position or to be specific.

One such area where it fails to be specific is in the documents view of the role of the state in the economy. Qobo points out that while the document states that the state’s role in the economy is to provide an environment for growth and promoting South African businesses globally, it doesn’t point out any specific ways on how the state should be doing this.

Specificity seems to be the main problem of the strategy throughout. It suggests emulating both Mauritius and Brazil but never says why. Likewise, it mentions that the best way to manage our natural resources is to live within our means, a statement which, according to Qobo, “only the DA faithful can decipher.”

For Qobo though, the most puzzling part of the document is the DA’s continued comparison between itself and the African National Congress (ANC). Qobo believes that this shows a lack of confidence on the part of the DA. His answer? Stop obsessing with the actions of the ANC and work on the main problem of the Western Cape – the social economic canyon that exists between the affluent and the poor.

While it is fair to say that it’s a good thing that the DA is trying to break down barriers, gain more supporters and keep the spirit of democracy alive in South Africa, they certainly need to take the opinion of thought leaders such as Mzukisi Qobo into account if they’re going to effective in their goals.

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