ANC to revisit 'RDP insights' of the 90s to revive economy after Covid-19

Treasurer-general Paul Mashatile says governing party will push for infrastructure projects totalling more than $20bn

28 May 2020 - 10:32 By S'THEMBILE CELE
Treasurer-general Paul Mashatile says after engagement with the private sector and the multilateral development banks, the cabinet will soon approve an infrastructure project pipeline focusing on network industries such as rail and ports, energy, ICT, water, sanitation and human settlements.
Treasurer-general Paul Mashatile says after engagement with the private sector and the multilateral development banks, the cabinet will soon approve an infrastructure project pipeline focusing on network industries such as rail and ports, energy, ICT, water, sanitation and human settlements.
Image: PUXLEY MAKGATHO

The ANC government will dust off old policies as it looks to rebuild a post Covid-19 economy that is “inclusive, resilient and sustainable”.

Treasurer-general Paul Mashatile told the Chatham House think-tank that the coronavirus has exposed gaps in the provision of infrastructure and basic needs such as health care, education, public transport, roads, water and housing.

The last ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting instructed its economic transformation committee to come up with a plan to resuscitate the economy after Covid-19. This comes as the national lockdown has brought the economy to a standstill and thousands could lose their jobs.

“Our point of departure is that the new economy we are building must be more inclusive, resilient and sustainable. We have taken the view that in building a post Covid-19 economy, we need to go back to the fundamental insights contained in the Reconstruction & Development Programme (RDP) of the early 1990s,” Mashatile told the webinar on Wednesday evening.

“After engagement with the private sector, and the multilateral development banks, the cabinet will soon approve an infrastructure project pipeline totalling more than US$20.5bn focusing on network industries such as rail and ports, energy, ICT, water, sanitation and human settlements.”

He said the crucial elements of the ANC's plan include: an expansion of social and economic infrastructure, investment in network industries, a skills revolution, promoting the objectives of BBBEE and a greater focus on mineral beneficiation.

The plans are outlined in a report compiled by the party’s economic transformation committee which is chaired by NEC member Enoch Godongwana, who participated in the webinar with Mashatile.

Asked if the recovery plan requires a new policy framework, Godongwana said that everything fell within the ambit of long-standing policies with a focus on implementation.

“Our critics say we are good at churning out documents but less on implementation. What we are trying to achieve with that document is, given the policy frameworks that we have, how do we pull that together and focus on implementation? That is what distinguishes it. We may not reach our National Development Plan (NDP) targets for a variety of reasons. What we will be focusing on is how we give effect to those policy frameworks without reproducing policy. That is what we are trying to achieve,” Godongwana said.

“We premised our plan on the assumption that we say part of our weakness is that we have not been dealing with housing and other things in the township therefore we can’t achieve social distancing. Massive investment is needed in those areas, that is what the document is going to be talking about.”

He added that land reform would be at the centre of the new efforts regardless of the status of the amendment to section 25 of the constitution.

“Land reform has become the centre of this post-Covid reconstruction. If you want to build houses, you need land. There are three pillars of land reform at the moment. The first one is land tenure. The second is restitution, that process is going on. We want to re-emphasise on redistribution. Redistribution, so we can make available whatever state land that is available at the moment. That process is in place, land has been identified which is state land. Where appropriate we will get more land. We are not going to wait for changes in the constitution before we start with the redistribution programme. The redistribution programme was going on since 1994; we have got to continue with it and it is quite critical at the moment.”


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