Ramaphosa out­lines eco­nomic re­cov­ery plan

The Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI |

PRES­I­DENT Cyril Ramaphosa an­nounced new mea­sures to re­vi­talise the econ­omy through multi­bil­lion-rand in­fra­struc­ture projects, en­ergy sup­ply se­cu­rity and clamp­ing down on cor­rup­tion.

He said this was part of the gov­ern­ment’s strat­egy to re­spond to the Covid-19 pan­demic.

“Our re­sponse to the pan­demic was three-pronged – firstly, a ro­bust health re­sponse, se­condly, so­cial and eco­nomic re­lief and now eco­nomic re­cov­ery.

“Our coun­try had im­mense chal­lenges for a num­ber of years be­fore coro­n­avirus. The coro­n­avirus pan­demic has wors­ened these chal­lenges. Poverty and in­equal­ity have deep­ened, threat­en­ing many South Africans with hunger and a sud­den loss of in­come,” he said.

Ramaphosa said ac­cord­ing to the modelling by the Na­tional Trea­sury, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of this plan would raise growth to around 3% on av­er­age over the next 10 years.

He also an­nounced that the gov­ern­ment had de­cided to ex­tend the R350 un­em­ploy­ment grant for an­other three months, but said the fis­cus would not be able to sus­tain this be­yond the ex­ten­sion.

The pres­i­dent said stud­ies had shown that the grant and the top-up of ex­ist­ing grants were vi­tal in re­duc­ing the im­pact of the pan­demic on lev­els of poverty and hunger. He added that dis­cus­sions on

the ba­sic in­come grant should con­tinue in the coun­try.

Speak­ing on crime, Ramaphosa said de­ci­sive ac­tion against crime and cor­rup­tion was es­sen­tial to in­clu­sive growth.

“Law en­force­ment agen­cies are be­ing strength­ened and pro­vided with ad­e­quate re­sources to en­able the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and swift pros­e­cu­tion of cor­rup­tion and fraud. We wish to as­sure all South Africans that there will be no po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence with the work of law en­force­ment agen­cies,” he said.

Po­lit­i­cal par­ties were scep­ti­cal of the plan and said the gov­ern­ment needed to im­ple­ment ex­ist­ing pro­grammes to reignite growth in the econ­omy.

DA MP and spokesper­son on fi­nance Ge­ordin Hill-Lewis said the coun­try needed eco­nomic re­forms.

“He should have used this speech to take on the en­e­mies of growth and re­form. And he needed to show ex­actly how, and when, the promised re­forms would be achieved. With­out this de­tail, the pres­i­dent will get zero ben­e­fit of the doubt,” said Hill-Lewis.

United Demo­cratic Move­ment chief whip Nqabay­omzi Kwankwa said Ramaphosa would not achieve the 3% growth in the next few years. He said this was pie in the sky.

“Un­less there are dras­tic changes in this coun­try, it’s un­likely we will achieve the 3% growth,” he said.

Kwankwa said there was noth­ing in the plan as the gov­ern­ment has failed to im­ple­ment pre­vi­ous plans.

IFP MP Mzamo Buthelezi said Ramaphosa must clamp down on cor­rup­tion and fix state-owned en­ti­ties (SOE).

Buthelezi said the pres­i­dent did not pro­vide spe­cific de­tails on his in­fra­struc­ture projects and that is what MPs wanted to hear.

African News Agency (ANA)

DA in­terim leader John Steen­huisen greets Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa at the start of the spe­cial Par­lia­men­tary sit­ting ses­sion where the pres­i­dent un­veiled an eco­nomic re­cov­ery plan for South Africa. | IAN LANDSBERG

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