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Calls for ANC to declare unemployment a national crisis, says Mmamoloko Kubayi

31 July 2022 - 13:00
Economic transformation sub-committee chairperson Mmamoloko Kubayi.
Economic transformation sub-committee chairperson Mmamoloko Kubayi.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

ANC economic transformation subcommittee chair Mmamoloko Kubayi says there are calls to declare the unemployment in the country a national crisis.

Kubayi was briefing the media on day two of the sixth ANC national policy conference taking place in Nasrec, Johannesburg.

“We cannot continue like this, we’ve got to be able to respond and establish mechanisms to be able to respond to issues of youth unemployment,” she said.

Explaining how it will unlock red tape Kubayi said: “The proposal is that (it will be a similar strategy) as we’ve done with the Covid-19 pandemic intervention because it was declared a national disaster which comprises of interventions which allow for red tape to be stopped and focus on resources being given.

“The implementation and the how part needs to be done by the state.”

Also discussed at the conference was the rampant economic sabotage that has led to destruction of critical infrastructure.

“It was not specifically around the July unrest. It was discussed around infrastructure specifically that we are seeing the damage to infrastructure which is impacting our economy.

“Government needs to make an effort in terms of ensuring we protect the economy and the infrastructure that we have.

“Delegates also felt that there is a need to strengthen labour laws around foreign nationals and that we have left it open, even when we have areas where there are no scarce skills, we do have foreign nationals playing in that role.”

On the expropriation of land, Kubayi said: “It was more of an acknowledgment that the Expropriation Bill is there and we were looking at what it is that we can do and more delegates were saying we still need to try and pursue other parties to join us in this area so that we can be able to see the amendment of section 25.

“There was an affirmation and acknowledgment that the issue in terms of numbers of the ANC in parliament but there was a big feeling that we shouldn’t drop this as a resolution.” 

Energy security was also on the agenda.

“There was also a need to protect and ensure that Eskom comes back to efficiency. Several suggestions were provided again on state-owned entities linked to Eskom as well.” 

Kubayi said Ramaphosa’s energy plan, which he presented this week, was acknowledged.

But the proposal to establish another energy company to assist Eskom was not discussed.

“None of the delegates, I would be lying if I said there was support for it. It’s something that went into mute similarly like the issue of holding company, which also went into mute.”

Economist Kenneth Creamer said the mood in the commissions on the economy was “extremely serious”.

“The cost of living crisis that the people are facing was dealt with in some detail as to what response ... as well as the questions around the electricity crisis and there was a real seriousness from very high level ANC members including presidents down to the youth league members.”

Kubayi said Ramaphosa’s energy plan, which he presented this week, was acknowledged.
Kubayi said Ramaphosa’s energy plan, which he presented this week, was acknowledged.
Image: Nolo Moima

On electricity, Creamer said there was support for the interventions the government had announced to end load-shedding as soon as possible.

“There was also a concern in the implementing that the state-owned entity of Eskom must not be weakened but must be strengthened ...”

On the Reserve Bank, Creamer explained there was no question of comprising the central bank's independence but rather a concern regarding the historical anomaly.

“That unlike most of the other companies, the SA Reserve Bank has been private shareholders and there is a view that that might compromise the way the bank is perceived by ordinary South Africans when its meant to be a state-owned bank.”

In the long run, Creamer said, it would be better to secure the bank's independence “but given the number of priorities that we have in this country, that was not seen as the number one priority”.

He added: “It’s a question of timing and dealing with the modalities regarding that speculators are not using the state ownership of the central bank to benefit unduly from that process.”

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