HILARY JOFFE: Pretoria brings fruit salad of ideas to Nedlac search for real meat

16 August 2020 - 05:05 By HILARY JOFFE:

If the government's latest economic recovery plan is any guide, SA should not expect an economic recovery any time soon. And the damage done by the Covid crisis could well become permanent. The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, which the government shared with its business, labour and community partners at Thursday's National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) forum, was disturbingly weak. Not only were the business and labour inputs significantly stronger and more coherent, they had a sense of urgency and crisis that was almost entirely lacking in the government input.

If urgency was lacking, so too was a sense of how weak the state has proved to be in tackling the economic crisis. The government's 17 PowerPoint slides, presented by tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane as head of the economic cluster, identified a state with the capacity to deliver as a key enabler of recovery and set out a long list of all the capacities the state lacks and needs to build - when we get to phase 3 of the recovery. But, incapable or not, that state is not about to give up trying to tell its partners what to do: "Private sector economic activity needs to be unleashed, and its business models directed at significant employment creation," says the document...

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