President calls for robust partnerships to grow economy

Thursday, August 22, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa says to achieve the goal of creating the “South Africa we want”, all sectors of the economy need to rally together and work towards a common goal. 

The President said this when he fielded oral questions in the National Assembly on Thursday afternoon. 

“If we are to achieve the South Africa we want, we need to forge durable partnerships with government, business, labour and communities as well. Government is hard at work to create an enabling environment, use public resources wisely and invest in developing the country’s human potential,” he said. 

ANC MP Judy Hermans had asked the President what government’s plan is to address the challenges of slow economic growth and the rising unemployment rate. 

The President said it has been a year since government announced its recovery and stimulus package and government has begun implementing several measures to ignite growth. This includes looking at the VISA regime with an aim of attracting more tourists and more skilled professionals to South Africa. 

The Department of Home Affairs recently issued a list of countries that will receive VISA waivers. The e-VISA system will soon be piloted to modernise the country’s VISA system. 

Government has also introduced trade measures to safeguard key agricultural sectors like poultry and in the process, protect jobs. 

The President said the publishing of the policy paper on the release of spectrum in the Government Gazette will help to draw fresh investment to the ICT sector. 

In forging ahead with agrarian reform, R3.9 billion has been released to support black commercial farmers through the Land Bank. 

“To promote greater certainty in the use of land for productive activities, we have finalised over 1 400 thirty-year leases for a number of farmers,” President Ramaphosa said. 

In revitalising industrial parks, three new industrial parks have been launched in the 2019 financial year. 

Between September 2018 and July 2019, the Industrial Development Corporation approved over R14 billion for social infrastructure like roads, schools and human settlements, among others. 

To support job creation initiatives, R600 million has been allocated to support rural and township economies.   

The President said while progress has been made in addressing economic challenges, more still needs to be done. 

No quick solutions to tackling economic challenges 

The President said, meanwhile, that there are no quick solutions to addressing challenges faced by the country’s economy. 

“Business and labour need to work together and to act together to promote our country’s national strategic objectives. 

“Early in the sixth administration, I engaged with the National Planning Commission to tap into the collective wisdom embodied in that esteemed collective of South Africans. 

“In playing the advisory role, the National Planning Commission continues to develop research and insights and support strategies towards inclusive growth. 

“There are no easy or quick solutions to low economic growth.” 

President Ramaphosa said while some of the interventions of the stimulus package are starting to bear fruit, this will not happen overnight. 

“These interventions by nature take time to gain traction and we are beginning to see them gain traction. It requires hard work. It does require smart policy choices, commitment and above all, close cooperation amongst all social partners. We have embarked on a journey and this journey will become clearer as we move on in the next few months.” –