Manuel: Govt alone can't transform SA

2012-09-04 11:07

Johannesburg - The constitution cannot be blamed for the slow pace of change in South Africa, said Planning Minister Trevor Manuel.

"The constitution empowers and enables, but beyond that, actual change requires human actions," he said on Monday evening.

Manuel was addressing the opening session of a conference entitled Strategies to Overcome Poverty and Inequality - Towards Carnegie III at the University of Cape Town.

He said the constitution provided South Africans with the values that bound them and enabled them.

Policy could also not be blamed for hampering transformation.

"Policy should guide and provide a framework for evaluating the progress of actions by people. Policy documents do not suddenly assume the ability to walk, talk and act - they only guide."

Manuel said it was important to realise how different elements of policy intersected and mutually reinforced each other.

"Too often the economic policy discussion ends with slogans about macroeconomics, and all this does is to warn the listener that we have not matured sufficiently to understand that transformation is only possible in an environment of stability created by sound macroeconomic policies.

"And that change comes from advancing the implementation of rational, progressive social and microeconomic policies."

The government was not solely responsible for the transformation of South Africa.

"Whilst government should never be allowed to devolve its responsibility, the process is actually a bit more complex," Manuel said.

The National Planning Commission was of the view that transformation occurs when a number of agencies interact.

"The first, and perhaps the most important of these is an active citizenry - a nation whose conscience is vested in the ordinary women and men who comprise and who act in their own and in the national interest - they cannot outsource this responsibility to government."

Manuel said the second agency was leadership.

"When we speak of leadership, we counter the notion of the 'big man'. Our model of leadership is one that involves tens of thousands of active citizens who take initiative, in the common interest."

The third agency for change is an effective government at local, provincial and national levels.

"An effective government is responsive to the needs of its people, in its listening, policy priorities and allocation of resources."

Manuel said transformation would not be possible without the close interaction of these three agencies.

The University of Cape Town, with the support of the National Planning Commission, is holding a conference to stimulate deeper thinking about strategies to overcome poverty and inequality in South Africa.

This is seen as the first stage of the third Carnegie inquiry in this country. Manuel said 304 papers have already been submitted for discussion.

The first Carnegie inquiry into poverty in South Africa was published in 1932 and focused on the "poor white" problem "and, as a consequence, entrenched the poor black problem", Manuel said.

The second Carnegie report on poverty in South Africa was produced in 1984 by Francis Wilson and Mamphela Ramphele.

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  • francois.viljoen.731 - 2012-09-04 12:42

    If Microeconomics is so important then why do Policy's make it difficult for entrepreneurship.

      alf.pop - 2012-09-17 20:39

      I agree that government can't transform S.A. As things are our government can and will not do anything except fill certain select pockets! But then why does government want to control everything? As usual government and logic are mutually exclusive in S.A.

  • chuck.farley.104418 - 2012-09-04 14:41

    We want to grow the economy right? Well lets introduce a whole whack of legislation strangles SME's limiting their ability to do business. We want to create more jobs right? Well let’s have labour laws so strict the employees will have more power than the employers then the thought of actually having to hire someone is so repulsive they would rather chew their own feet off. GENIUS! A few more years of this and everyone will have a cluster house in Bryanston, a BMW and enough Johnny Walker Blue to drown a 300 kg Mandela Grandson. DON’T TELL ME A GOVERNMENT CAN’T TRANSFORM A COUNTRY. IF THEY CAN STUFF ONE UP THEY CAN FIX IT.

      Ze Don - 2012-09-04 15:02

      I agree 100%! It's as if the government can't see the consequences of their policies...

  • ian.d.samson - 2012-09-04 15:10

    The Government is solely responsible for the mess SA Is in, and it is solely the Government's responsibility to get SA out of it!

  • tommo.too - 2012-09-04 23:53

    South Africa alone can transform the government...

  • rouan.villiers - 2012-09-17 14:20

    Well most companies probably dont take part in all these transformation policies because companies arent willing to employ workers without qualifications. It just does not make financial sense. Perhaps is government pulled their fingers out and invested money into the education system of this country there would be more black people graduating school and eventually go on to get University degrees. You are wrong Mr Manuel. You want the white man to not only carry this country with its tax money, but also sponsor blacks by giving them freebies when many of them are not qualified. Get government to provide proper education for ALL races and then you will see a much broader spectrum of races reprisented in the workplace.

  • Lee.CPT.ZA - 2012-09-17 14:23

    My hero, my hero ...... NOT! If Mr Z is so confident of his popularity, let him stand before me and my community and listen to our chants as a minority group who should expect less privlidges!

  • sexyfancyface - 2012-12-19 12:57

    True Trevor but the ANC has created a culture of laziness and entitlement right now our youth are obsessed with taking from white to black and hate hard work. You can take but if you have not the skill to maintain and sustain it you are doomed. Where r the Richard Maponyas of our time the Mahanyeles the Herman Mashabas those are black brands that worked their butts off during apartheid our people are more interest in buying stakes in white owned companies yet they don't even know how hard the white man worked to get to where he is and that you cannot take away. Because of BEE we have fake wealth creators, who add no value to the country but continue to rape the economy. I propose a Ministry of the Mindset. We need a change of mindset first and foremost. You overpromised even during apartheid and the reality is that you can't perform now...You make the rich feel guilty as if there is something wrong with affluence. Anyone can be rich but we will not all be rich. Change the people's mindset so that they take education seriously and the govt must usher in a new sane education system not this disgrace which is worse far worse than bantu!!!

  • sexyfancyface - 2012-12-19 12:59

    Its true though that government cannot do it alone so go back to your grassroots and teach them that you have a long way to created this monster go kill it Trevor...

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