Former President Thabo Mbeki has criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa for not fulfilling a promise to present a social compact to South Africans within 100 days.
Ramaphosa made the promise during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in February this year.
‘Nothing has happened’
Speaking during a memorial service for the late ANC Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte on Thursday (21 July), Mbeki said there’s currently no plan to address the country’s poverty, unemployment and inequality.
“We do not have an agreed national plan to address these challenges. We don’t have it. It doesn’t exist,” the ex-President said.
“Comrade President Cyril Ramaphosa, when he delivered the State of the Nation Address in February, that’s why he said, ‘In a hundred days there must be [an] agreed comprehensive social compact to address these matters.’ Nothing has happened.”
Discussions on a social compact are taking place at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), which brings together business, labour, government and civil society.
Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan
Ramaphosa’s Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan (ERRP), which he unveiled in October 2020, originated from similar NEDLAC discussions. Mbeki said at the time that the plan would remain a “mere vision” if the government did not mobilise resources to implement it.
“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,” he added.
Ramaphosa faces mounting pressure to resolve South Africa’s economic crisis. In June, Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen asked the President for an update on the social compact discussions.
In response, the President said while all social partners share the same goals of inclusive growth and employment, they differ on how to achieve those goals.
“We are determined the social compact should be substantial and meaningful and make a real difference to the trajectory of our economy. We are therefore pushing ahead to achieve an agreement that is inclusive and lasting,” he said.
Earlier in May, he admitted that the 100-day target, which he clarified as 100 working days as opposed to calendar days, was not realistic.