From education to crime & fixing the police — 4 ways Herman Mashaba wants to revive the economy

Action SA president Herman Mashaba said although President Cyril Ramaphosa will likely detail plans to tackle unemployment and boost the economy when he tables his economic recovery plan on Thursday, these will not be backed up by any action.
Image: Sunday Times

Action SA president Herman Mashaba addressed major issues he believes need to change for the recovery of the country’s economy after the Covid-19 pandemic.

This comes as President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to table his economic recovery plan on Thursday.

Mashaba said though Ramaphosa will likely address burning issues such as unemployment and detail plans to boost the economy, these will not be backed up by any action.

“Unfortunately, as has become the custom of our broken political system, little will be offered in terms of solutions that provide a credible economic path backed by decisive leadership,” he said.

Here are four key takeaways from Mashaba’s plan:

Not enough opportunities for youth

Mashaba said during discussions with young people through The People’s Dialogue, a platform he founded shortly after leaving the DA last year, he engaged with young people who complained about not being able to find employment.

He was critical of the country’s labour laws, which he said do not allow businesses to hire enough young people.

“The labour laws make it difficult to hire South Africans at a time when we need to make it easier. They protect those who are employed at the expense of those who could be employed but are not. Hundreds of small businesses spoke about the available economic opportunities which would involve expanding to hire more South Africans. By far the majority of these small businesses had rejected these opportunities to grow because of the threat posed to their businesses by rigid labour laws.”

Unions destroy the economy

Mashaba said the ANC gives trade unions too much power, even if this comes at the expense of the economy. He was critical of last week’s protests organised by Cosatu, saying they were “lunacy”.

“Cosatu rolled out a national programme of strikes to protest against the failures of a government they help get elected every time. Highways are blocked, economic activity impeded, and government is brought to a standstill, all to the detriment of South Africans.”

He said unions must have the same power as any other stakeholders in the economy or SA will never progress.


Mashaba said Action SA would change the schooling curriculum so it is in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and teach youth about entrepreneurship to prevent high numbers of unemployed but educated youths.

“We need to teach entrepreneurship to our learners so we can become a nation of employers, not just employees. Our education system is not only failing to prepare our young people for post-matric education, it is equally failing to teach those who want to enter the economy after school the skills that would make them employable.”

Rooting out criminality

Mashaba said rampant crime limits the economy. He said the police and National Prosecuting Authority need to be modernised and better equipped to investigate and hold to account those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

He said “kingpins” and “political mafia figures” who are responsible for corruption and looting state resources must be brought to book.

“When a crime is committed, the criminal must face the full might of the law.

“An essential part of this is the need to address corruption as another barrier to growth. As a country, we have lost faith in government, and internationally, we have squandered the goodwill of the early years of our democracy.

“What we need is to send a strong message of intent. High-profile cases of corruption must be brought before the courts. Individuals found to be corrupt must be prosecuted and jailed without fear or favour,” said Mashaba.

BY Cebelihle Bhengu

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