Comment by John Robbie

Lesetja Kganyago and encouraging the profit motive

Sometimes I think it must be the easiest job in the world: ‘Governor of the Reserve Bank’.

Think about it. You get paid a fortune, you travel all over the world and all you do is six times a year, you have a nice cosy meeting - with lots of wine, no doubt - and you canvass a few economists and you decide either one of three things: you raise, you lower or you keep interest rates the same. A child could do it! That’s the whole job and you get paid a fortune!

Of course I’m joking, because these decisions affect the whole country and they have to be gone into and taken after very careful consideration, taking into account everything that’s happening. Good luck to the new man who’s in the job – Lesetja Kganyago. What is more significant than his appointment I think is the reaction to it and it’s all over the news today.

Business seems fairly pleased, as it reflects continuity, but the SACP and COSATU are not happy and this is very important as it demonstrates what is happening right through sections of our society in this country. Government, public service, the economy, business – it is holding us back.

The spokesman for the Communist Party (SACP) said, ‘the SACP expects Mr Kganyago to lead the Reserve Bank with the interests of the people first, as opposed to private, financial interests which are driven by the profit-motive’. COSATU also talked about the disastrous policies of his predecessor, but they’ve been praised by business and by market people all over the world.

When are we going to realise that the profit motive should be encouraged, it should be nurtured, it should be schooled – it is in the interest of the people. It’s the profit motive that makes businesses successful.

It makes entrepreneurs like the guys here at 702 across at this big meeting set up businesses – it’s the profit motive. And if they work, they create wealth, they employ people and they also pay the taxes that allow government to provide services. We’ve heard the same from the Black Business Council’s Sandile Zungu, just the other day.

Government has to stop ‘pussy footing’ around at the moment – if you will excuse the cliché. ‘Grasp the nettle’ – there’s another one, if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphors.

Of course peoples’ rights need to be protected, but jobs depend on profitable businesses and encouraging them is the Most Unexceptional human right of all – John Robbie

Listen to John’s Comment here.

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