25 years of Decline in South Africa
25 years of "freedom", 25 years of decline. This Telegraph article put me in a reflective mood.
I was only a teenager when I witnessed things fall apart.
Armed with 25 years of hindsight of living abroad and watching South Africa from afar, with just a couple of visits since we left... my thoughts are... how things could have been different?
If I could go back in time, be in a position of power, could anything be done to have halt the decline of a place I once called home? What have we learnt over 25 years?
I think it's fair to say that the incumbent ANC government is corrupt and shows no sign of abating.
A constitution without principle
Could South Africa's decline have been prevented? The "good intentions" were there to prevent all sorts of issues in the making of the South African constitution. Unfortunately a bunch of people got together and banged out a tome of a over reaching and complex constitution.
As a minimalist, I much prefer the US bill of rights's guiding principles, but I guess that's no longer simple too.
From afar South African's justice system has waned. The constitution has been ignored.
The real problem is that the South African government has too much power, just like the pigs in the Animal Farm who rewrite the rules. I would like to please make a case for a small liberal South African government.
What if... SA was a small technocratic government like Singapore
I am no fan of the old "Apartheid" government. The South African state back then employed a lot of people to win votes and the new post-apartheid government inherited that dead weight, and sadly only added to it.
Our ANC government gives poor people free houses and we are very proud that we have delivered housing to millions of people. –
Statement of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress on the occasion of the 103rd Anniversary of the ANC
I distantly remember ANC election promises like "Free homes". A spectacularly stupid idea that still seems to be an ANC promise. How can you possibly appreciate something without paying for it?
I believe "free homes" only keeps people lower class, poor and ever more reliant on the government. On the other hand, if low cost housing were like HDBs in Singapore, where people have to buy them and pay them off over a period of time... things could be so different. I believe that when Thatcher gave the working class in the UK the right to purchase their own social housing, it lifted them to the middle class. The same phenomena happens all the time in Singapore.
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." –
The leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) recently posted this video: DA #VISION2029
The video started well ... and then in my opinion it went down hill:
- police force, finally turning the tide
- improving education ... growth rate 8%
- growing the economy
- social welfare
- health care works for all
- government cares...
The DA's vision is that it helps South Africans, in much the same way ANC does. A policy that does not work!
Libertarianism could be the vision
Speaking to South Africans, what I hear does work is private security, private education, private healthcare, private companies.
What doesn't work? The South African government.
Can the South African government be cut down and privatised? With strong property rights and a small government that gets the hell out the way of business?
I can only dream.