Chris BishopBy Chris Bishop|July 4, 2022|3 Minutes|In Editor's Desk

Editor’s Desk

Kick the political hacks out of business.

Im sure entrepreneurs up and down the continent will groan when I mention these two words: cadre deployment. It is a big and expensive practise carried out by the ruling party in South Africa and goes on in almost every country in Africa.

Now, according to the dictionary, a cadre is a highly trained and committed person dedicated to furthering a revolutionary movement. What it means in the eyes of critics and long-suffering entrepreneurs is unsuited and underqualified politicians being shoehorned into jobs they don’t really understand, making decisions for political, rather than economic reasons, that entrepreneurs have to live with.

The idea is that – aside from the obvious influence and patronage – a political party can call on its cadre when it needs to find out what is happening in a particular sector. Sadly, there are plenty of such incumbents to call upon in South Africa and scores of other African nations.

The issue reared its head this week with a passionate outcry against the deployment of cadres by the respected former South African finance minister Trevor Manuel. His critics say that Manuel himself – who grew from the liberation movement to the commanding heights of the economy – could also be seen as a cadre -something he fervently disputes.

But, whatever your views, you have to concede that Manuel has a point. The political hack should stay in politics and out of business.

South Africa has suffered terribly from failing providers of goods and services – from TV stations to airlines – because of political appointments at the top. Worse still, those cadres do not suffer, even when they fail, because they parachute out of positions with millions of taxpayers’ money as compensation for their pathetic attempt to do a key job they were never cut out for. It is a shameful gravy train ridden by the incompetent.

For entrepreneurs, all of the above is a pain in the rectum. People in business, in modern Africa, want efficiency and certainty  – not clueless political hacks intent on serving the people in power instead of their customers.

All this adds cost to doing business and drains the hard-pressed coffers of governments from Cape Town to the Mediterranean.

It is a no-brainer. In the interests of the efficient creation of wealth and jobs, the best and most professional people should be put into the top jobs to guide the economy.

Political appointments should be thrown into the dustbin of history – where they belong!