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This week the ANC revised up its long-range infrastructure spending estimate from R3.2 TRILLION to R4 TRILLION over the next 15 years. That’s trillion with a ‘T’ for Tenderpreneur!
To the cronies this is manna from heaven. Ordinary taxpayers get their hard earned cash confiscated by the threat of force and the funds channeled into ‘projects’. Some of these projects will be useful for the economy (the central planners by luck will get some things right), many of them won’t. But one constant is that the cronies will be doing very well. Politicians will get kickbacks, tenderpreneurs will get their cut, and private sector contractors will be there to rake in the dosh.
The squandering and corruption will be rife.
Meanwhile the true needs, wants, tastes and preferences of South Africans will be ignored in favour of what best suits the cronies.
But SA needs more ‘infrastructure’ doesn’t it? Certainly, SA is under-capitalised which is why it is poor, but these needs can only be accurately determined, planned for and efficiently served by thousands of decentralised entrepreneurs in an unhampered, competitive market. We must understand that central planners cannot make economy-wide decisions on resource allocation since the infinite needs, wants, tastes and preferences of South Africans are far too complex to understand and service.
Our needs are first individual, then family, then community. Pretoria doesn’t have a clue how to meet these needs. But many entrepreneurs on the ground, risking their own capital and using price signals, will best be able to allocate resources to local needs at minimal waste, including meeting needs for basic and key infrastructure such as roads, water works, sewerage, electricity, rail etc.
Moreover, it’s not about how MUCH we spend on all this but rather how LITTLE we spend. Less spending on the right infrastructure is far better than more spending on malinvestments, cronyism and corruption.