Radical Economic Transformation

In a series of short op-ed articles, Ann Bernstein examines what Radical Economic Transformation could mean for South Africa. It’s important to ask who will pay for the radical interpretation of RET. Any economic strategy that increases expropriation, undermines property rights, sets up companies as the enemies of the people and destroys the country’s precious know-how will be disastrous for the country’s future and all its citizens, especially the poor. The reason the language of RET resonates and why its populist promise may have emotional and political traction, is that SA’s economic policies have failed to generate the jobs and inclusion we need to overcome apartheid’s malign legacies. It is significant that RET doesn’t mention growth. Achieving faster growth will require some tough-minded choices: labour market reform, reconceptualising black empowerment away from elite enrichment, and stripping away burdensome business regulations. It will require a focus on making cities more productive and our economy more competitive.