Gordhan: What rebuilding SA economy must involve

Cape Town - Rebuilding South Africa's economy must involve the recognition that problems like inequality must be rectified, according to former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

He was the guest speaker at a networking event hosted by the SA Ubuntu Foundation.

"Excluding the majority from economic opportunities just does not work. We must ensure that the economy is representative of SA," said Gordhan.

"If we begin to face up to issues like land distribution; lack of skills; and inequalities because of the education system in a more direct and frank way, the younger generation will over the next five to ten years produce leadership and dynamism to create a new SA."

He cautioned that if the people of South Africa do not find common solutions, there will be those who will revert to populism and "lead people in the wrong direction".

In Gordhan's view, it is important to change the composition of the SA economy to create an environment where both high tech industries and low-cost industries for those with little skills can be created.

He further pointed out that it is very important for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to get support. In his view, government procurement can be used effectively in this regard.

Gordhan said the National Development Plan (NDP) should be placed at centre stage.

"It is crucial to build cohesion among us. Our differences should not become what separates us, but rather help us to find better ideas. We can use the talent we have in SA," said Gordhan.

"We cannot do many of these things if the rich in SA are not prepared to share with the poor. Those who have in SA have what they have because of what SA had to offer. Those who don’t have, don’t have because of history," said Gordhan.

"When you want to meet business people you have to either meet 'black business' or 'white business'. We need to create a new solidarity and say we will share."

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