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Fri Jul 25 17:24:39 SAST 2014

Procrastination will take the country's economy nowhere

The Times Editorial | 23 July, 2013 01:01

The Times Editorial: There is nothing wrong with establishing a task team to decisively deal with highly contentious issues, but there is everything wrong if such a task team is set up just to buy time.

A new proposal by the ANC that President Jacob Zuma should consider establishing a task team to look into our sluggish economy might have been seen as a commendable, sensible move in a different context. In our situation, however, it is a tad too late.

We fully agree with plans to inject urgency into the government's approach to our under-performing economy but we are sceptical of the idea of establishing yet another task team. We have been on this road before and we know all too well that it will be an exercise in futility.

Yesterday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe called on President Zuma to act, saying the government should not tolerate protracted debates over contentious projects, as we've seen recently.

Take the debate on shale gas fracking. We are yet to know whether the government will allow companies to burrow deep into the ground to extract shale gas. With no decision in sight, investors are likely to move on.

South Africa should remember that we are not the only country in which investors might want to invest their money. With no clear policy direction and a government that is forever locked in task teams, the promised economic freedom will remain just that - a promise.

Though the government needs to be cautious and act within the parameters of the law, it also needs to be bold and move with urgency.

There will always be pressure groups opposing one policy or another, but the way in which decisions have been stalled by this government is a concern.

Zuma must realise that a government that is forever procrastinating runs the risk of being irrelevant with the voters.

It is time for bold steps to be taken.

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Fri Jul 25 17:24:39 SAST 2014 ::