Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) CEO Wayne Duvenage said South Africa is failing on every front, but politicians are too caught up in corrupt and nefarious activities to notice.
Duvenage’s comments come after Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said non-governmental organizations funded by US philanthropic groups are stifling economic development.
He said this in light of environmental groups that have blocked exploration activity by Shell and other companies searching for hydrocarbons in South African waters through legal action.
“Climate change standards are set by the developed nations and imposed on the developing nations,” the Minister said.
“Foreign-funded non-governmental organizations are also being used to weaponize environmental preservation to block development in developing nations.”
Mantashe said US funding was behind the nonprofits opposed to oil exploration, adding that the Ford Foundation and George Soros Foundation fund many organizations.
Duvenage told 702’s The Money Show that Mantashe is deflecting the government’s problems onto NGOs.
“We don’t want to circumvent the law in this country. We don’t want the country to fail. We don’t want investors to walk away,” he said.
“We want a developing economy, but we want it done properly in the realms of the laws that you [the government] have set and that we have a good constitution for.”
He said that rather than looking for money, the government should think about ways to grow the economy and cut superfluous spending.
“Just start fixing the basics, like getting our education system right. There’s so many angles, but we’re failing on every front,” he said.
“We see corruption running rife. We see wasteful expenditure and government policies that are just ineffective.”
“We could be making so much money if we just applied the law properly, and we have government departments who know this, who see this happening, and they just either don’t care or are incapacitated to do anything about it.”
He said there is a lot of work needed to fix the country.
However, as long as government departments and ministers think they do not need the interventions and involvement of civil society and business to do so, “then we’re just gonna continue to look for more money”.
The government will not find ways to get more money without icing the money because South Africans are already overtaxed.
Duvenage said the country needs to start making money by creating jobs, increasing employment and making the government more efficient.
“And they simply can’t see this. They are so blinkered and caught up in their corrupt and nefarious activities,” he said. “I don’t think they really care about this country, quite frankly.”