SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT - RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL
The pledge by business leaders to rally behind government’s mission of building a better and prosperous South Africa should be meticulously espoused by unions, civil society groups, opposition parties and all South Africans, writes Professor Ndawonde.
The supremacy of Western countries such as United States and United Kingdom in the global economy and politics stems from premeditated alliances between business, governments and civil organizations in their respective countries.
South Africa has an aptitude to facsimile such arrangement, all is needed to realize this determination is a strategic collective partnership that will see all South Africans regardless of social and political background working together for better life for all.
This kind of enterprise will ultimately yield results that would lead to the permanent extermination of three primary challenges i.e. inequality, unemployment and poverty so long it is depoliticized and treated as a paramount priority by all South Africans.
In this regard we should all support the commitment by government and these patriotic business leaders who realized that building the country is a collective responsibility and that all sectors including “opposition parties” have a fundamental role to play.
It is indeed irrefutable that if the current socioeconomic situation of the country is not swiftly and determinedly addressed, South Africa will reach unwarranted levels of inequality, unemployment and poverty.
It is behind this reason that government calls on all sectors to embrace and collectively implement the recently introduced national plans such as Infrastructure Development Plan, National Development Plan and other socioeconomic and economic programmes to ensure that South Africa reach its full potential.
These plans should be perceived as a catalyst that will bring South Africans together and work as a collective to address all socioeconomic challenges faced by all and maintain the country’s growing influence in the regional and global economic activities.
Government recently adopted an Infrastructure Plan that is intended to transform the economic landscape of South Africa, create a significant numbers of new jobs, strengthen the delivery of basic services and support the integration of African economies.
This more than R 800 billion plan has introduced seventeen Strategic Integrated Projects with numerous individual infrastructure projects. Several of these projects are already underway such as Ngqura (Coega) transshipment projects in the Eastern Cape and the development of the Waterberg coalfields which is seen as a catalyst to unlocking the Northern Mineral Belt in Limpopo.
These projects and others have already and are continuing to create thousands of decent jobs. However government will not accomplish the objectives of this significant plan single-handedly, it needs the active contribution of business, labour, civil organizations and the general public.
The business leaders also pledged to actively participate in the implementation of the National Development Plan which was also widely accepted across the country. Despite their endorsement of the plan, the opposition parties and labour should publicly announce how they would actively partake in the execution of the plan to ensure the realization of its goals.
South Africa can realize these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.
It is however disturbing for organizations such as South African Council of Churches to criticize government and leadership for all social challenges without voicing their intervention plans in addressing the situation.
The Secretary-General of the African National Congress Gwede Mantashe was correct to label the so called “warning” to President Jacob Zuma by the clergy as mischievous and disingenuous.
It was indeed opportunistic and deceitful for SACC leadership to slam government over the “moral decay of the country” just a week after President Jacob Zuma has met with the National Religious Leaders Council, an interfaith umbrella body representing the sector, to discuss challenges facing the country.
It is seriously profane for these organizations including opposition parties particularly Democratic Alliance and COPE to be so pessimistic, or even fatalistic, about their own country.
Like business and government, the organized groups including faith-based sector have a fundamental role to play to make South Africa a better place for all and therefore attributing all social challenges to government is absolutely unmerited and will not move the country forward.
As the African National Congress holding its national policy conference in Mangaung, delegates should spend less energy on the leadership squabbles but vigilantly deliberate on the socioeconomic and economic policies.
This will assist government and all other sectors to instantly implement these plans as soon as possible to urgently eliminate the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Proffesor Ndawonde is writing in His Personal Capacity