Focus of talks is on ‘catalytic interventions for maximum impact’: Ramaphosa responds to Mbeki’s salvo
‘SA does not need yet another plan’
President Cyril Ramaphosa has used his weekly newsletter to take the nation into confidence regarding progress made towards developing a comprehensive plan to tackle social ills including poverty, unemployment and inequality.
This comes after former president Thabo Mbeki publicly made a scathing attack on the president, warning of uprisings as a result of brewing tensions amid the “absence of a plan” and unfulfilled promises made by Ramaphosa.
In his state of the nation address in February, Ramaphosa promised a social compact to deal with social ills would be developed within 100 days.
On Sunday the president said the notion that a social compact does not exist ought to be challenged.
On Monday he confirmed a “framework” for a social compact had been developed, without giving any time frames for implementation. He revealed a team led by several ministers had over the past few months been meeting with social partners to map out the priorities that must be reflected.
“A framework for a social compact has been developed. It identifies priority actions to achieve higher levels of investment and growth, increase employment, unleash the dynamism of the private sector, protect the rights of workers, expand support for the unemployed and tackle extreme poverty,” he said.
Ramaphosa said a new consensus can only be successfully implemented if there is full agreement on a common objective, the plan to achieve it and a commitment by all partners to the plan’s implementation.
This as he suggested that for the implementation of the framework to be effective, the government and social partners have to do better this time around regardless of how long it takes. “Even if this means delaying the finalisation of the new comprehensive social compact until all social partners agree on the contribution they will make towards the betterment of society,” he said.
The president admitted SA had been facing high levels of joblessness and poverty and growing inequality over the past two decades. This as the economy had not been growing at a pace that allows government to make a meaningful dent in these challenges.
Ramaphosa said SA needs a number of impactful interventions, including attracting more investment.
SA does not need yet another plan to overcome the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. That is why the focus of ongoing discussions is on a set of catalytic interventions for maximum impact.President Cyril Ramaphosa
“To turn our economy around and create the millions of jobs needed is something that cannot be achieved by government alone. A comprehensive programme will require the mobilisation of all social actors,” he said.
The president conceded that the social compact framework would not materialise soon but said an alternative plan was not needed.
“SA does not need yet another plan to overcome the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. That is why the focus of ongoing discussions is on a set of catalytic interventions for maximum impact.
“We all want to see a consensus finalised, but given the complexity of the issues, and so that we don’t set ourselves up for failure, it is critical genuine consensus is achieved among all social partners.”
Ramaphosa said the proposed social compact framework builds on many of the key tenets of the economic reconstruction and recovery plan, such as:
- job creation;
- accelerating structural reform and growth-enhancing measures;
- the expansion of mass public employment and social protection; and
- driving economic inclusion through greater entrepreneurial activity.
However, a clear set of interventions with a credible plan for their implementation is required, he said.
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