Cape Town - The DA shadow minister of trade and industry on Monday blamed Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and President Jacob Zuma for missing a deadline which could see SA kicked out of the lucrative African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).
“The coming exclusion of South Africa’s agricultural exports from Agoa benefits is bleak news for our economy, and is the worst possible way to begin 2016,” Geordin Hill-Lewis said in a statement.
Earlier on Monday Davies informed reporters of the possible suspension of SA from the Agoa and said that the move would hugely affect the agricultural sector.
Davies said there would be another meeting on January 6, where there would be an indication of whether the “whistle had been blown”.
Hill-Lewis said the situation was a failure of political leadership by Davies, Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi and, Zuma.
“When, not if, unemployment goes up and farms close down due to this missed deadline, Minister Davies will have to take the blame,” he said.
Hill-Lewis called on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as Leader of Government Business, to investigate why it was that the national government responded so poorly to deadlines.
Following Davies’s statement the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) gave its assurance that outstanding issues would be resolved and that both sides were committed to continue the negotiations.
“South Africa believes that with some flexibility from both sides the final touches to the agreement on which 95% of the work has been done can be completed with some extra-time,” the dti said.
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