Take state cap­ture se­ri­ously, some min­is­ters urge

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - TE­BOGO MONAMA

TAKE state cap­ture se­ri­ously. Pay more at­ten­tion to the youth. These are some of the themes that gov­ern­ment min­is­ters have been harp­ing on about dur­ing the ANC pol­icy con­fer­ence.

Most of the min­is­ters who have spo­ken dur­ing the Pro­gres­sive Busi­ness Fo­rum break­fast brief­ings have talked about how the gov­ern­ment and the rul­ing party are se­ri­ous about fight­ing cor­rup­tion and are wor­ried that the econ­omy is in a tech­ni­cal re­ces­sion.

Yes­ter­day, Min­is­ter of Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Ebrahim Pa­tel said that in light of the credit down­grade by rat­ing agen­cies and the tech­ni­cal re­ces­sion, the coun­try needed to im­ple­ment a “cred­i­ble growth plan”.

One of the points in the plan would be the in­clu­sion of young peo­ple in the econ­omy. “We need to open the econ­omy for the ru­ral ex­cluded and the ur­ban un­em­ployed,” Pa­tel said.

On Sun­day, Small Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Lindiwe Zulu’s talk was also themed around the topic. She said busi­nesses run by young peo­ple should be given more op­por­tu­nity and fund­ing to suc­ceed.

This came in the wake of the lat­est fig­ures in­di­cat­ing that un­em­ploy­ment is at a 14-year high. South Africa’s un­em­ploy­ment in the first quar­ter of 2017 rose by 1.2 per­cent­age points to 27.7%, the high­est fig­ure since Septem­ber 2003.

This, ac­cord­ing to Statis­ti­cian-Gen­eral Pali Le­hohla, makes the plans en­vi­sioned in the Na­tional Devel­op­ment Plan harder to achieve. The NDP wants to cut un­em­ploy­ment to 14% by 2020. Of the 433 000 peo­ple who be­came un­em­ployed in the first quar­ter of 2017, about 58% are be­tween the ages of 15 and 34.

Pa­tel also stressed that the ef­forts would be use­less if the coun­try did not have a gov­ern­ment with in­tegrity.

“We need to deal with state cap­ture swiftly and hon­estly so we can in­spire con­fi­dence with our peo­ple. We also have to grow the econ­omy and trans­form it,” he said.

But po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Ralph Mathekga said there was a dis­con­nect be­tween what the party says and the poli­cies im­ple­mented by the gov­ern­ment.

He said the party had been de­lib­er­ately weak­ened.

“In­stead of the party con­trol­ling peo­ple in gov­ern­ment and giv­ing them di­rec­tives, you have the other way round; you have a party that is not be­ing in­formed about what is go­ing on in gov­ern­ment. It is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly em­bar­rass­ing.

“You have seen re­gard­ing the Min­ing Charter that there is a dis­con­nect,” he said.

Mathekga said the cen­tre of power within the ANC had moved to the gov­ern­ment – where there was money – and was no longer in the party struc­tures.

He added: “The min­is­ters are gen­uinely frus­trated. I see it as peo­ple stranded in the mid­dle of nowhere. The nor­mal flow of power has been dis­rupted and cut off. When you hear min­is­ters speak­ing through the party me­chan­ics, it is be­cause they are not be­ing lis­tened to in the gov­ern­ment.”

PIC­TURES: SIM­PHIWE MBOKAZI

FRUS­TRATED: For­mer fi­nance min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han, left, Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Ebrahim Pa­tel and for­mer tourism min­is­ter Derek Hanekom at the ANC’s pol­icy con­fer­ence in Soweto yes­ter­day.

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