We must build an economy that benefits all- Ramaphosa


Karabo Ngoepe

JOHANNESBURG- ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa says the party must build an economy that is inclusive and benefits all South Africans and not a selected few.

In his January 8 Statement delivered in East London on Saturday, he said guided by the National Development Plan, they aim to restore our focus on building an economy in which all South Africans can flourish, an economy which benefits the people as a whole, rather than a privileged few.

“We seek an open, dynamic economy that embraces technological innovation, pursues higher productivity, creates jobs that pay better and improves the quality of life of our citizens. We recognise the challenges of modernisation and the imperatives of structural change in all sectors, especially in mining, manufacturing, agriculture and finance,” he said.

“Our vision is an economy that encourages and welcomes investment, offers policy certainty and addresses barriers that inhibit growth and social inclusion. Our commitment is to build strong partnerships in which efficient and accountable government agencies, responsible citizens and businesses, effective trade unions and civil society work together for the common good.”

Ramaphosa said the party was determined to build an economy that reverses apartheid injustices and corrects continuing patterns of deprivation and inequality. He said it was for that reason that the resolutions adopted at the 54th National Conference focused on the measures they need to take now to significantly advance growth, development and transformation.

“Critical to the success of these measures is strong collaboration among all social partners. While such collaboration has been essential to the success of many of the milestones of our young democracy, we must acknowledge that we have not sustained these partnerships in recent years. Guided by the decisions of Conference, the ANC aims to forge a social pact between government, labour, business and communities urgently to reignite economic growth and accelerate the process of transformation. Each of the social partners needs to make specific commitments on the contribution they will make to promote far greater levels of investment and job creation,” he said.

Ramaphosa added that key to tackling unemployment would be to focus on the youth. He said despite the progress made in expanding access to education, millions of young people do not have the skills that the economy needs. Even those with skills lack the work experience and readiness that most employers look for.

“Conference, therefore, agreed to prioritise effective public employment programmes, internships, job placement, youth entrepreneurship and set-aside programmes. Critical to the expansion of access to economic opportunities is the implementation of a free higher education for students from poor and working-class backgrounds whose household income is less than R350,000. This will be implemented by providing full bursaries for tuition and study materials to qualifying South African students at public TVET colleges and universities, and subsidised accommodation or transport capped at specific levels for those who qualify, starting with first-time entry students in 2018. For returning existing university NSFAS funded students, in 2018 and going forward, their loans will be converted into full bursaries,” he said.