Kieswetter: Coronavirus is a chance to reimagine SA economy, address past injustices

accreditation

The Covid-19 pandemic has given South Africa an opportunity to reshape the economy in a way that addresses past injustices and ensures equal opportunities for all, according to Commissioner of the SA Revenue Service, Edward Kieswetter.

The commissioner was speaking during a webinar hosted by Investec, on the road to economic recovery. He weighed in on the nationwide lockdown, instituted on 26 March to slow the spread of Covid-19.

As the country gears up to lift restrictions on economic activity as in the move to Level 3 of the lockdown from 1 June, Kieswetter said it was important not to revert to restoring the "status quo". That would assume everything was right before Covid-19, when on the contrary, the pandemic has exposed the inequalities of society.

Maintaining the state of society will only exacerbate the problems we had before Covid-19, he said.

As an example, before the pandemic hit SA shores, South Africa was already struggling with weak growth and growing debt levels. Growth and debt projections have since worsened, in a worst case scenario Treasury projects a contraction of 16%. Several analysts expect the fiscal deficit to widen from the initially projected 6.8% to beyond 10%.

"Covid-19 is an opportunity to reimagine a new economy, more relevant to the SA we dream of.

"In thinking of the reopening of the economy and the road to the recovery, we must recognise the injustices of the past," said Kieswetter.

"We have not been successful at addressing the inequalities.

We are still the most unequal society in the world. In times of crisis the poor are the most vulnerable," he added.

SA should consider how to address housing infrastructure, public health, public transport and spatial planning gaps, he argued. "In the way that we reopen the economy, there is an opportunity to address those injustices."

Kieswetter said that the privileged sectors of society must realise that the coronavirus is not a respecter of cultures, creed or colour. South Africans should not only aim to protect their "narrow interests". "A threat of the coronavirus to anyone, is a threat of coronavirus to everyone".

Kieswetter added that SA should be mindful not to just reopen legacy businesses once the economy reopens, saying SARS itself is using the "Covid-moment" to leap into the future. "This is an ideal opportunity for new business models … for virtualising the workplace," he said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
17.77
-0.8%
Rand - Pound
20.13
+0.5%
Rand - Euro
17.57
+0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.55
-0.7%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.4%
Gold
1,715.78
-0.6%
Silver
20.66
-1.9%
Palladium
2,260.50
-2.7%
Platinum
921.00
-1.3%
Brent Crude
91.80
+3.2%
Top 40
59,202
-1.1%
All Share
65,613
-1.1%
Resource 10
63,687
-1.4%
Industrial 25
79,239
-1.1%
Financial 15
13,961
-0.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE
Government tenders

Find public sector tender opportunities in South Africa here.

Government tenders
This portal provides access to information on all tenders made by all public sector organisations in all spheres of government.
Browse tenders