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Cyril Ramaphosa hits back at Thabo Mbeki’s social compact criticism

25 July 2022 - 08:31
President Cyril Ramaphosa told delegates attending the ninth ANC KwaZulu-Natal elective conference that a process was underway to finalise a social compact.
President Cyril Ramaphosa told delegates attending the ninth ANC KwaZulu-Natal elective conference that a process was underway to finalise a social compact.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday used the ninth KwaZulu-Natal elective conference to challenge former president Thabo Mbeki’s assertion that he had not done enough to build a social compact.

“We should challenge the claim that nothing is being done to build the social compact,” he said while addressing more than 1,600 delegates.

TimesLIVE reported that while addressing the national memorial service for the late ANC stalwart Jessie Duarte in Johannesburg last week, Mbeki said there’s no national plan to address a number of social ills, including poverty, unemployment, criminality and inequality.

He also told mourners Ramaphosa had not fulfilled the promises he made during his state of the nation address (Sona) in February this year

“Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, when he delivered the Sona in February, said ‘in 100 days there must be an agreed comprehensive social compact to address these matters’. Nothing has happened, nothing,” Mbeki said.

Responding, Ramaphosa said a process was underway to finalise a social compact.

“Since the Sona in February, government has been meeting with social partners on the further measures we need to take in addition to the economic reconstruction and recovery plan to grow and transform our economy.”

Ramaphosa conceded it had taken longer than anticipated.

“The process has been slow and at times quiet difficult. We all agree our overriding objectives are to grow the economy, create jobs and reduce poverty and inequality.”

He reminded delegates the unemployment problem “did not start yesterday”.

“It did not start two years ago. We have lived with this problem over a number of years and we have been involved, among the social partners, in finding or creating steps we need to take to address all these challenges through a social compact.

“There are differences over what compromises need to be made and who needs to make the compromises. So while we do not have an overarching social compact, we are making progress.”

Ramaphosa said it must be recognised that social partners continue to engage on critical economic issues.

“We have, for example, a social compact on Eskom which outlines what is expected of the social partners individually and collectively.”

He said engagements were continuing.

In June the Sunday Times reported that Ramaphosa’s ambition of reaching a social compact to grow the economy and create jobs had hit a snag. Participants said at the time they were yet to reach a consensus, well after the 100-day deadline the president announced in February.

One social partner, the Black Business Council, has accused Ramaphosa and his government of not being “genuine” in their talks to fix the economy. 

Business leaders said government had not set up a meeting since Ramaphosa made the announcement in February.

Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said there had been a few bilateral meetings between organised labour, government and business. Losi also felt the 100 days Ramaphosa had targeted was unrealistic.

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