Structural reforms to start with SOEs - ANC

Johannesburg – Among the challenges to be addressed at the ANC conference later in December is the implementation of structural reforms at state-owned enterprises (SOEs), said the party's Enoch Godongwana.

He was speaking in his capacity as chairperson of the ANC NEC subcommittee on economic transformation at a briefing at Luthuli House on Monday.

He unpacked the challenges facing the South African economy and the ANC’s role in finding solutions.

“Economic growth has stalled… the unemployment rate has risen,” said Godongwana. “Our economy has been performing less than other emerging markets in terms of growth.”

He added that investment has fallen largely due to a lack of confidence. Over five quarters, investment was only positive for one quarter, he said. “The implication has been declines in government revenues, while spending is increasing and [there has been] growth to the debt-to-GDP ratios.

“Compounding the problem is the weakening of the financial position of SOEs.” He emphasised the need for structural reforms, particularly within SOEs. “Everyone agrees we need structural reforms. The devil is in the detail,” he said.

“We can shape SOEs in a way to become instruments of investment and development.”

Key to addressing economic challenges is to define a long-term policy framework to build confidence in the economy and essentially investment, said Godongwana. “We can only build confidence by doing the right things, to ensure we get investment.”

Further, a policy path must be created to deal with social problems and change to income inequality in society. “We are one of the highest unequal societies in the world. That cannot be sustainable.”

Godongwana said the conference would provide an opportunity to translate the aspirations into concrete plans.

Winning candidate

When asked if the outcome of the winning candidate - with Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosasana Dlamini-Zuma the front-runners at the moment - would impact confidence due to their policy choices, Godongwana said that there was no policy that would be promoted which was not supported by the ANC.

“Whoever wins will have the best of the ANC. There is no Cyril policy, there is no NDZ policy, there is an ANC policy. Whoever wins will pursue ANC policy.”


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