Nedlac meets to discuss challenges facing SA

Pretoria- Challenges facing South Africa were discussed at a Special Executive Council meeting of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) on Tuesday

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa chaired the meeting that was held to assess and respond to the current challenges facing the country following the recent downgrades of the country’s investment status.

The meeting expressed concern about the impact the downgrades would have on the economy in general and the quality of life especially for the poor and working class. It also discussed the impact of the downgrades on job creation, sustainability of business, including small businesses and the ability of big companies to grow and create jobs, infrastructure projects and social reforms.

According to the Presidency, the Deputy President chaired the meeting at the invitation of the social partners comprising senior leadership of labour, business, community and government.

In addition, Nedlac social partners agreed to establish a high-level task team to be briefed by National Treasury, on an ongoing basis, to co-ordinate all-round efforts to respond to the current challenges.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and his Deputy Sfiso Buthelezi as well as Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant attended the meeting alongside other senior government officials.

“The social partners welcomed the new Minister and the Deputy Minister of Finance who were attending the NEDLAC Special Executive Council in their new capacities. The social partners also took the opportunity to acknowledge the sterling contribution of the outgoing Treasury Director-General Lungisa Fuzile,” said the Presidency.

The meeting expressed hope that the transition to the appointment of the new Director General will further contribute to the stability of the Treasury.

The meeting received a briefing from the Minister of Finance on government’s assessment of the context in which the two recent sovereign downgrades by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings occurred, including steps that should be undertaken to avoid a further downgrade and a return to investment grade.

Informed by the country’s past experience in dealing with the 2008 challenges of the global economic crisis, the meeting expressed confidence in the ability of Nedlac social partners to act together and constructively assist the country to mitigate the impact of the downgrade.

“The meeting agreed on the need for a consistent and confidence-building message that demonstrates South Africa’s commitment to accelerated inclusive growth,” said the Presidency.-SAnews.gov.za