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Architects of Poverty : Book Review

August 3, 2009 Leave a comment

architects-of-povertyMoeletsi Mbeki`s book, Architects of Poverty : WHY AFRICAN CAPITALISM NEEDS CHANGING, provides a clinical analysis of the plight of Africa and concludes that the fault rightly lies not with the people but with its rulers – the political elites who contrive to keep their fellow citizens poor while enriching themselves.

The book tells a tale of lost opportuniries and extinguished hopes in Africa.

It also offers some suggestions about what needs to be done to break the stranglehold of the African elites on political power, and set sub-Saharan Africa once more on the road to development.

Moeletsi also expresses reservations about the African National Congress` Black Economic Empowerment which he says, “strikes a fatal blow against the emergence of black entrepreneurship by creating a small class of unproductive but wealthy black crony capitalists made up of  ANC politicians.”

What Moeletsi Mbeki has done is what many black South Africans have failed to do – become active and highly productive participants in the battle of ideas ragings across the length and breadth of the republic. The best black people have done in this raging battle has been, like COSATU,  try and silence the messenger.

The book is very simple, straight forward and makes for easy reading.

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Architects of Poverty

July 22, 2009 9 comments

Moeletsi Mbeki has just released a book : Architects of Poverty – Why African Capitalism Needs Changing. The book has been widely well received by those genuinely concerned with the future welfare of the continent.

However, as would be expected, the South African trade union federation COSATU hasn`t been mightily impressed by Moeletsi`s offerings in the book.

Responding to the book COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi had the following piece of  wisdom to offer, ” To comrade Moeletsi, the leadership of the liberation movement ended in September 2008 after his brother was recalled.”

Vavi`s comment followed the COSATU statement issued by spokesperson Patrick Craven in which the latter accuses Moeletsi of a personal dislike of Zuma and his allies, including COSATU. According to Craven this personal dislike has warped Moeletsi`s vision.

Mbeki`s crime lies in the following extracts from the book…they have no leadership. COSATU lost their leadership in 1994. The unions are left with leaders who have no education, no knowledge, no expertise. That`s why the poor are being ripped off…they don`t know the political economy of South Africa.

He goes on to write…they think they can ingratiate themselves with politicians of the ANC, so in the past four years they have been crawling to Jacob Zuma, thinking that they will use him. But Zuma ignored them once he got into power. He ignored them and privatised Vodacom.

In COSATU`s wisdom Moeletsi can no longer be treated as an independent commentator but someone with a personal grudge.

If COSATU has to be believed the book has nothing to offer but sour grapes by one of the Mbeki family who mourn the recall of Thabo Mbeki as presidency of South Africa and his defeat at the ANC conference in 2007 by Jacob Zuma.

COSATU`s response to the book is to say the least, tragic as it resorts to playing the man instead of playing the ball. In my future posts I will engage with the contents of the book and leave the fact that Moeletsi is former president Thabo Mbeki`s brother to COSATU.