“South Africa is most definitely at a tipping point and if things go on like this we will be sliding down a socio-economic abyss," said Temba Nolutshungu, Director of the Free Market Foundation and council member of the South African Institute of Race Relations, on Friday (20 October 2017).
He was one of the speakers at the annual conference of the Institute for Futures Research (IFR) at Stellenbosch University. The conference was held at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study from 19-20 October. The theme of this year's conference was “Create the Future".
Reflecting on what is happening in South Africa at the moment, Nolutshungu said that we are in a crisis.
He pointed to the slow economic growth and the increase in unemployment.
“Some economists say the unemployment rate is above 40%. That means 9.3 million abled-bodied citizens, fellow South Africans are out of work."
“I cannot think of anything more potentially politically cataclysmic than that."
Nolutshungu added that the situation in the public sector is dismal. In this regard, he highlighted the death of mentally ill patients at Life Esidimeni and also made reference to SAA as well as the National Health Insurance which has serious financial implications not only for taxpayers but also for the private sector.
“The National Health Insurance will spread its tentacles to the private sector and will undermine the private healthcare providers in this country.
Nolutshungu blamed government policies for the current state of affairs.
“Government policies are the problem. Regulations are imposed on the financial services sector. These regulations are incredibly restrictive."
Nolutshungu said government must see to it that the policy environment is conducive to the spirit of enterprise.
“We need to open up the rigid labour market so that people can be hired more easily."
Nolutshungu said we need high levels of economic growth to address the problems that confront us.
He added that higher economic growth would help to boost income.
- Main photo: Temba Nolutshungu speaking at the IFR's Conference.
- Photo 1: Dr Morne Mostert (left), Director of the IFR, with some of the other speakers at the conference.
- Photographer: Andre Mouton