Regional opposition must come together to challenge new SADC economic integration and industrial strategy




President Jacob Zuma. File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

‪SADC opposition parties must come together and respond promptly to Jacob Zuma’s regional economic integration mantra which in essence mean creating a giant regional supermarket of ravaged regional economies of catastrophic low employment levels, collapsing infrastructure and with it political instability.

At recently held SADC Summit in that ended on Saturday while Robert Mugabe was fast asleep and the whole government machinery diverted all state resources to First Lady Grace Mugabe’s assault crisis, South Africa assumed SADC Chair and railroaded an economic integration and so-called industrialisation strategy that has not been put to debate amongst regional stakeholders and private citizens of member states.

It is an industrial strategy which seeks to suck all the energy produced in the region into its industrial plans while putting pressure on poor countries’ tariff energy bills leaving them increasingly having to deal with the constraints of power blackouts affecting any attempts for their member states industrial output to be competitive against that of big Brother rising on the back of a smokescreen of regional liberation movements integration.

Especially now when Jacob Zuma is now the SADC Chair; if the local opposition want regional super support ahead of 2018 they have to drum up regional support and confront ANC’s bid to impose an unpopular ZANU PF on us for its country’s economic interests. There is no room of compromise on this and no economic blue print in a party manifesto; now matter how good, can succeed without confronting the emerging threat to regional socio-political and economic stability.

The high level political demand must underline that if South Africa want regional integration; SADC must set up a regional infrastructure development fund based on GDP, local industries for member states must be protected, it must increase investment in regional energy infrastructure and it must abolish SACU and the Multilateral Monetary Area (MMA) the old Rand Union.

These demands are not a blackmail; we have good working examples of fair regional integration in the EUropean Union and its Eurozone where Germany as the most successful industrialised nation in Central Europe, plays its part in supporting member states with weaker economies. In the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) the United States plays its big brother while it supports its regional counterparts by supporting much of the trade and financial stability through dollarisation support.

South Africa cannot say it is a regional economic partner when its regional neighbourhoods have ravaged economies and financial systems with currencies in turmoil.