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DA warns against economy task team

Jul 23 2013 18:34
Cape Town - The establishment of a presidential task team on the economy could pose a threat to the Treasury and the National Planning Commission, the DA said on Tuesday.

"There is a very real risk that this will be yet another committee that doesn’t lead to any real action," Democratic Alliance MP Tim Harris said in response to an ANC lekgotla resolution.

Harris highlighted several problems with the task team, including that its mandate appeared "alarmingly broad and unfocused".

"There is a real risk that this could simply become the latest in a long line of bureaucratic measures from the presidency that simply paper over the deep cracks in our economy without leading to any action by government," he said.

The DA would submit a series of questions to National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel, including whether he agreed with the lekgotla proposal.

"How will the presidency avoid creating another bureaucratic 'centre of power' in policy-making when government departments are now simply meant to be implementing the National Development Plan?" was another question Harris intended to ask.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe on Monday announced the intention to establish the task team.

"The sluggish performance of the economy in job creation and the low levels of private sector investment were a source of major concern, hence the proposed presidential task team," said Mantashe.

The team would focus on various sectors, including the mining sector.

Mantashe said Pres. Jacob Zuma's administration would no longer tolerate protracted debates about contentious projects because they often caused investor uncertainty.

He said government would have to take firm decisions to take the country forward, although this might lead to it being taken to court.

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