Mboweni's economic recovery paper gets special treatment from cabinet

19 September 2019 - 16:40 By Andisiwe Makinana
Finance minister Tito Mboweni.
Finance minister Tito Mboweni.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's cabinet on Thursday held a special meeting to discuss Treasury's economic recovery paper aimed at crafting the country's new economic strategy.

Jackson Mthembu, the minister in the presidency responsible for planning, monitoring and evaluation, told parliamentary journalists on Thursday that the paper - published by Treasury last month and titled “Economic transformation, inclusive growth and competitiveness towards a growth agenda for the South African economy” - was the only item on the agenda of the special meeting, which was also attended by deputy ministers.

Deputy ministers are not members of the cabinet and generally do not attend cabinet meetings.

“As we speak, cabinet is engaging in very fruitful discussions...” said Mthembu.

He also revealed that Treasury had told the meeting that more than 700 submissions had been made in response to the document. These were from ordinary South Africans and also included groupings, individuals and academics.

These were taken into account to enhance the document “so that, as a country, we emerge after discussions and everything else with an economic strategy that will ignite growth in the economy”.

“There is good progress that is being made, and in due course cabinet, through the relevant minister, will be able to say, 'How do we move forward?'

“We believe that we have made some strides in crafting something that we could call an economic strategy for our country,” added Mthembu.

Answering journalists' questions, Mthembu said that if, following the crafting of the economic strategy, there was a need to change laws or deal with serious inhibitors to growth, the state would do so.

“It's too early to say what the outcome will be. It will be up to cabinet on how we take the issue forward.”

He said the Treasury document was dealt with during a special meeting because cabinet needed ample time to discuss it.

He conceded that the state had a weakness of not following up strategies with implementation, saying, “There is no way cabinet can conclude this document without also focusing on implementation.”

The document was met with criticism from ANC alliance partners when it was published as they questioned its origins, saying they were not consulted when it was drafted.