Vavi laments lack of detail on NGP

2011-03-09 18:53

Johannesburg - Few details are available on how the government will introduce and monitor the New Growth Path's (NGP) longer-term goals, Cosatu said on Wednesday.

"One problem is the absence in both the NGP and the budget of any clear indication of how government departments will be equipped to implement the far-reaching proposals, and for measuring and monitoring the ambitious targets being set," the union federation's secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi said in a speech prepared for delivery at the "Barometer SA" debate in Johannesburg.

He however said the NGP held many good short-term proposals.

Eradicating poverty and reducing inequality had to be top priority and the starting point for the government, business and labour to reduce unemployment.

He said the advertisement for the debate asked whether the NGP was wishful thinking, or whether it had full support from the government, business and labour.

"My answer is that there is much in the NGP which we can welcome."

Particularly the move towards an economy based on a manufacturing industry, instead of exporting raw materials, and the aim to create five million sustainable jobs by 2020.

There had already been a meeting between the government and business to start work on some of the immediate proposals, such as filling vacancies in the public service and employing young workers to fill potholes.

Business said it would expand its training schemes for apprentices and interns, with the mining sector alone talking of training an additional 3000 workers a year.

All the parties agreed on improving service delivered by the sector education and training authorities (Setas), and believed the "green economy" showed potential for job creation through the installation of solar water geysers.

But, for longer-term goals to succeed, an overarching developmental plan" was needed to address the apartheid economy's "fault lines".

Examples of this were that the means of production and power remained in white hands; foreign ownership of conglomerates was increasing and exports were primarily from the minerals-energy sector.

Top managers were still white, which perpetuated networks that determined the probability of promotion and recruitment.

Cosatu felt that contradictions between development goals and conservative macroeconomic policies would sabotage the government's strategy.

According to Vavi inflation targeting, a strong rand and high real interest rates had been among the main reasons for the unemployment crisis.

Cosatu wanted the government to change to a macroeconomic strategy based on lower interest rates, a weaker rand and more tariff protection for vulnerable industries.

Cosatu is a federation of 21 unions representing over two million workers.