What Mmusi Maimane has Right
The fate of South Africa is not dependent of the success of Jacob Zuma. Zuma should be monitored and held accountable for his transgressions. Maimane understands how corruption will stifle domestic growth and foreign investment. Both are critical to the well-being of South Africa. Jacob Zuma has been convicted of misappropriation of funds and violation of the constitution. Once these charges were proven in court and Zuma admitted that he sanctioned the upgrades on “bad legal advice” he should expect opposition.
Maimane keeps his attacks based on the constitution and issues that affect the government. His focus is on the proper governance of South Africa. He stays away from personal attacks against Zuma or other ANC members. Even when Parliamentary members attack him first he remains professional.
The partnership of Maimane and Malema is another aspect of the political astuteness of Maimane. He is clear that he does not agree with Malema on comondering land without compensation or Malema’s inflammatory rhetoric. Yet, he can work with Malema to remove a party seen by both as corrupt. Neither person has to compromise their beliefs, yet they can work together.
The vigilance of Maimane is not limited to the ANC. He has handled the Helen Zille twitter controversy well. Maimane was clear on his personal feeling that Zille’s comments were racist. He conferred with his party and asked her to voluntarily apologize. When she refused he brought her to the party for discipline. The party collectively determined she is only allowed to speak on Western Cape issues.
Many feel that Maimane should have unilaterally kicked her out of the party. If he had he would have been acting as party dictator not leader. He wanted to allow all party members to voice their concern or provide their support. He built a consensus and determined a reasonable punishment. His efforts also ensured that the DA would not have a sudden loss of support or funding due to harsh treatment of the only DA Primer. His response allowed him to hold true to his personal values, maintain party cohesion, and reprimand Zille for insensitive tweets.
Generally, Maimane keeps a positive perspective and believes in the potential of Africa. He prioritizes economic growth above political change. In many ways, he is similar to M. Buthelezi in that he thinks a strong economy will do more for the material condition of blacks than simply having a black government. The DA has an alternative economic plan that can be implement without risking internal turmoil. If aspects of the plan do not work, an opposition party can simply remove the law. The plan of the EFF, if implemented could cause a civil war and will economically isolate RSA for at least a short period of time.
The faith of Maimane is paramount in his life, but not his policy. He understands the importance of the separation of church and state. This leads him to create practical policies that don’t force his beliefs on to other people. Maimane’s stance in support of gay rights shows his ability to separate his personal beliefs from his public policy.
What Maimane has Wrong
Maimane is a neo-liberal. Here the term neo-liberal is used as an extension of classical liberalism. Classical liberalism is the belief that personal choice is the greatest virtue. Neo-liberalism extends the belief assuming the free market is the aggregate of personal choice modeled by economist. Reducing government interference will allow the free market to function effectively. The goal for neo-liberals is to create the highest functioning government whereas classical liberals want the most moral society. The two forms of Liberalism are attempting to create utopia, simply measuring differently.
In America, most consider the Libertarian party the closest political party to neo-liberalism. Libertarians are right leaning of fiscal issues and left leaning on social issues. The Democratic Alliance attempts to implement neo-liberalism in a far more left leaning country. Therefore they have to be for BEE or they will not win elections. Yet, even in the support of BEE they attempt to add more elements of choice and ambiguity to rule compliance.
The DA and Maimane want a small government that allows business the freedom to operate at low cost. Most of their policies are centered around free market principles. The belief is a growing economy will translate into more jobs. The jobs will improve the lives of blacks and create stability in RSA.
In the USA, neo-liberalism has led to the dynamic of only the most talented black people being chosen by corporations. Then these black people decided to disassociate themselves from the black community. Because there are only a few black people in this company, they do little to make the company more amenable to other black people. The majority of blacks can’t compete for elite jobs due to generational systematic educational divide. There is no market incentive to address the educational divide unless more elite workers are needed. This leads the majority of black people fighting for low wage jobs if employment is available at all. In recent times many low skill labor jobs are being replaced by machines or foreign workers in other countries. The failure of neo-liberalism has led to the rise of the apolitical black economics movement. A system based on personal choice will never choose to help the under-privileged without personal monetary reward.
Criticizing Maimane on neo-liberalism doesn’t mean he came to his conclusion solely because he was influenced by whites or capitalists. Maimane analysed data using his own methods and came to his own conclusions. It is unfair to say that all black people that think independently will come to the same conclusion. Black people of different perspectives will attack the problem differently. In this analysis, judging what happened in America, black wealth increased after Clinton became president and supported the Equal Opportunity and Employment Commission. So laws that specifically benefit black people are needed to build financial stability in the community at large.
Where is Maimane on the Spiral?
Judging from his personal views he is centered in Green. However, to function as a politician he has Orange/Green policies. He focuses on solutions in the I Space. Most neo-liberals support personal development over hiring laws or business subsidies. He wants first order change or simply changing the dominant political party within the current system. Ultimately, Maimane’s plan is far lower risk and if aspects don’t work the DA or an opposition party can easily make changes.
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