19 June 2017

South Africa: Radical Economic Transformation Must Go Beyond Slogans - Ramaphosa

Photo: GCIS
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (file photo).

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says true radical economic transformation must go beyond slogans, and must effect active change for the black majority.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the Western Cape ANC's provincial policy conference on Sunday, ahead of the party's national conference at the end of June.

The deputy president told those present in Stellenbosch that the ANC's policies needed to deliver inclusive growth.

"While we have made important progress over the last two decades, this policy conference needs to look in detail at how we accelerate social and economic transformation," his speech notes said.

"It needs to go beyond the slogans and to look in detail at the content of radical economic transformation for inclusive growth.

"It also needs to look at how we need to expand social protection through a social wage to redress levels of poverty among our people."

Jobs the key, downgrade harmful

In order to achieve economic transformation, South Africans expected the party's policies to always be pro-poor, and focused on jobs.

"At the centre of these policies must be an over-riding focus on the creation of jobs on a massive scale," his speech notes continued.

"All our policies must be measured by the extent to which the contribute to job creation.

"Policies that do not create jobs - or that threaten jobs - must be reviewed and revised.

It was also important to improve South Africa's sovereign credit rating, as the country was still dependent on borrowing funds and foreign inflows due to its inability to save domestically.

"Junk status is therefore bad for South Africans, especially the poor, because it makes the cost of finance that much greater - with the result that we spend money servicing debt that we could be using to build new infrastructure or invest in education."

Land

It also needed to establish a road map for achieving a living wage for all workers, following the agreement of a national minimum wage, he said.

Land reform needed to be accelerated.

"Not only must it look at accelerating the pace of land restitution and redistribution, but also agree on measures to expand opportunities for black producers in agriculture and agri-processing.

"We need to transform our rural areas, restore the land to its rightful owners, and significantly grow our agricultural output."

He asked all South Africans to unite around the idea of economic transformation, as a working black majority is good for all, and remains the main motive force for change in the country.

"Because of their marginalised position in the economy, the mass of the workers carry the burdens of society."

ANC under strain, private capture

Ramaphosa did not ignore the party's responsibility to govern efficiently, acknowledging that the weaknesses within the movement was causing the nation's trust to flounder.

"Many of the challenges we face are of our own making. If we do not self-correct, our significant gains will start to be eroded.

"We must be humble and listen to the people who elected us to lead," he said, including the counsel of the ANC's veterans.

Private interests seeking to "capture and control" state organs, and the ANC itself, must be fought.

"An uncompromising fight against these destructive practices is a matter of strategic priority."

The party needed to revamp its induction for members, to ensure the party was getting future leaders of integrity.

"We must not pay lip-service to organisational renewal.

"Without credible, honest, patriotic leadership, we will not achieve a national democratic society."

ANC Western Cape acting chairperson Khaya Magaxa told News24 on Monday that Ramaphosa's speech was well received by the branches in attendance.

The provincial ANC could not come to any resolutions on its policy positions yet, as they ran out of time this weekend.

It will likely meet next weekend to finalise its positions ahead of the party's national conference starting on June 30.

Source: News24

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