Ramaphosa vs Mkhwebane 'sideshow' overshadowing SA's lack of policy direction, social justice summit hears

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Panellists at the social justice summit held in Stellenbosch on Thursday.
Panellists at the social justice summit held in Stellenbosch on Thursday.
Kamva Somdyala, News24

South Africa is in a political and economic stalemate underpinned by uncertainty over which direction the country will take, says ANC veteran and anti-apartheid activist Ben Turok.

Turok was one of several panellists attending a social justice summit in Stellenbosch on Thursday where they agreed that there seems to be a "stalemate" in so far as the direction the country is taking - both politically and economically.

Turok was joined on stage by former president FW de Klerk, Business Leadership South Africa CEO Busisiwe Mavuso, JSE CEO Nicky Newton-King and former statistician-general Dr Pali Lehohla, among others.

The summit "aims to unpack the nature of social justice in South Africa, its various dimensions, the pathways available to address social injustice and to leverage opportunities presented by the Sustainable Development Goals, National Development Plan and Constitution".

Said Turok: "The country is in a stalemate both politically and economically in that we do not know which direction the country is taking."

He added the social justice plan, which will be adopted at the end of the summit, would not work in the current climate of uncertainty the country found itself in.

His assertion was backed by Mavuso who said there were "sideshows" that people were engaging in - referring to the stand-off between Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and President Cyril Ramaphosa - while there was a crisis in policy direction.

'Self-mutilation'

"We don't have to like the policy, we just need to know what it is," Mavuso told the audience. 

"Once we know what the direction is, we can know what we need to work on to achieve economic growth.

"The window of opportunity for South Africa is closing for investment," Mavuso added.

She said the emergence of other African countries meant South Africa was no longer the investment destination it once was.

There is "self-mutilation" happening, added Mavuso.

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