Pravin hails Manuel's plan
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan came out strongly in favour of the National Development Plan yesterday.
The recently released plan is expected to expose deep ideological divisions within the ANC at the party's conference in Mangaung later this year.
Speaking at The Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Sandton, Gordhan called the NDP "a clear vision" of where South Africa is going.
Fears that trade unions and a left-leaning part of the ANC would jettison the plan helped keep it out of the spotlight at the party's policy conference two months ago.
The plan has since been welcomed by opposition parties, but it failed to get a broad warm response from the ANC.
The NDP aims to accelerate economic growth, create 11million jobs by 2030 and dramatically reduce poverty.
"We should stop shouting at each other in the public spaces," Gordhan said and urged people to take an "activist" approach.
But Gordhan sees the European sovereign debt crisis as a major obstacle.
"We are now in a process that will see low growth going forward."
Former British prime minister Tony Blair, also speaking at the event, echoed Gordhan's concerns and said a "grand bargain" between Germany and southern Europe would be hard in the short term.
Indecisiveness, said Gordhan, has been harmful. "They thought that if we put a firewall around Greece, it would not spread. Well, the [debt crisis] contagion has spread to Italy and Spain."
With so many countries running huge budget deficits, fiscal policy [government spending policies] options, he said, were limited in the US and Europe.
And there has been an overreliance on monetary policy, leading to near-zero interest rates in the developed world.
Gordhan lauded South Africa's "sound fundamentals", saying the country's fiscal position looked better than that of most of the rest of the world.
He hinted that South Africa should rather seek its fortunes with Brazil, Russia, India and China. Together with South Africa, these countries are part of Brics, an association of leading emerging economies.
"Brics' expansion into Africa is a powerful opportunity we should not miss."