Former President Thabo Mbeki says President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan will remain “a mere vision” until the government finds resources to implement it.
Mbeki made reflections on Ramaphosa’s address in Parliament and the Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (RRP) in the October edition of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation newsletter, which was published this week.
‘Govt must indicate capital availability’
He wrote, “The programmes contained in the RRP and Presidential Address will remain a mere vision until the resources are made available to enable their implementation.
“This is why it is imperative that the government publishes another document which gives a realistic and credible indication of the capital that is and/or will be available to fund the RRP.”
In his reflections, Mbeki appeared to suggest that Ramaphosa’s address lacked detail on several aspects of the RRP, including specific timeframes.
For instance, while Ramaphosa said infrastructure development will underpin economic recovery, Mbeki argued that he “did not explain how much of the projected infrastructure spend would be borrowed money.”
In particular, Mbeki proposed that the government should clearly indicate the public and private sectors’ respective capital contributions to the RRP’s programmes.
The former President nevertheless voiced support for Ramaphosa’s Presidential Employment Stimulus, saying it will help reduce the “dependency syndrome.”
He wrote, “It is clearly very good that the employment stimulus will go some way towards ensuring that in return for receiving social grants, all citizens contribute something towards the public good.
“This will help to confront the negative phenomenon of the dependency syndrome and enhance the active involvement of the citizen in the process of the building of the new South Africa everybody wants.”
Mbeki argued that significant sections of capital have been sceptical about South Africa’s future since 1994 and have therefore held back from fully investing in the economy.
“It is obvious that the implementation of RRP cannot be left to the market. For it to succeed requires the existence of the necessary institutional mechanisms,” he added.
The ex-President also noted that “during the last decade, many state institutions were systematically gutted and seriously weakened.” They were also compromised by the “virtual entrenchment of a culture of corruption.”
Mbeki finally called on the social partners at NEDLAC to publish a document that explains their social compact, particularly the respective contributions of government, business, labour and civil society.
To read former President Thabo Mbeki’s reflections on South Africa’s economic recovery plan in full, click here.