President Cyril Ramaphosa made an impassioned plea to South Africans and the political leaders to help him implement his Economic Recovery Plan and to build the economy.
In an unprecedented move, he appealed to all political parties to put aside their differences and work to build the economy together. Instead of criticising and tearing the plan apart, they must assist him to implement it, he said.
“It must work for the South African people. Our vision of a new economy lays a foundation for economic growth that is inclusive, sustainable and durable.”
He urged leaders across society to lend their wisdom, ideas and encouragement to the National Economic Recovery Council, which would be driving the implementation of this plan. Now was not the time to argue about the details of the plan or to find faults in it, but to work together to implement it. The parties must support the idea and ensure it worked for the benefit of all.
“The plan outlines immediate actions to rebuild the economy and to provide jobs and relief,” he said. The plan was driven by five key priorities: infrastructure investment and delivery; an employment stimulus; energy security; measures to promote localisation and African integration; and to improve the capacity of the state.
Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa’s plan was “”a letter to Santa”. “That doesn’t mean it’s all bad. There were some good points in here,” Steenhuisen said.
The auctioning of spectrum to bring down data costs was one of them. But this should have happened long ago.
“He also said reforms to Eskom and the opening of the energy market to more independent producers were long overdue. You’ve listed this in your plan; now make it happen,” said Steenhuisen.
“Extending the Covid grant is a welcome inclusion. This is a necessary stopgap measure for desperately poor South Africans, although we all know it is entirely unsustainable. The promised 800,000 job opportunities in the public sector is not the solution we need, either, and particularly not when the same plan speaks of cutting the public sector wage bill. Even for a letter to Santa, that makes no sense,” he said.