Statement by President Jacob Zuma following briefing on framework response to the economic crisis

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have just concluded a meeting with the leadership group of the 'Framework Response to the Economic Crisis', in which they briefed me on progress in the implementation of the framework. 

The leadership group consists of representatives of Labour, Business, Government and the Community constituency who are responsible for guiding the implementation of the Framework.

The Framework was approved by the joint economic presidential working group on 19 February 2009 as the basis for a national response to the impact of the international economic crisis on South Africa.

The Framework has been commended internationally for bringing together social partners in forging a common response, and has been held up as an example of how countries can respond in a sustainable manner to the current financial crisis.

While the Framework is significant in itself, the central challenge is to ensure the timely implementation of the measures agreed to by the social partners. 

From the framework, several concrete programmes to implement the framework decisions have been developed through engagements with the social partners. 

These include:

* The setting up of a training layoff scheme as one alternative to retrenchment for workers and companies affected by the recession. 

* Steps to strengthen the ability and capacity of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to address customs fraud that has led to many job losses. 

* Support for distressed companies in a number of sectors. 

* Payments by government to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and other businesses within 30 days. 

Within government, a new integrated approach to the implementation of the framework has emerged. The Minister of Economic Development, working with the Presidency, has chaired the leadership team of social partners. 

Other Ministers have led work in implementing the specific programmes in the Framework.

While significant technical work has been done and important progress made, implementation needs to be speeded up so that the effect of this work will begin to be felt by the population. 

The important thing to remember is that work is being undertaken by all social partners in consultation. Not only are these partners part of developing our response to this crisis. They are also each responsible for implementing it.

I thank you.

Zingaphi Jakuja
Director: Media Liaison
The Presidency
Room 18 West Wing
Union Buildings
Mobile: 082 7663940
Office: 012 3005438
Fax: 0866835438
Email: zingaphi@po.gov.za
Alternative: zingaphij@mobileemail.vodafonesa.co.za
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