Don’t take democracy for granted - Motlanthe | Fin24

Don’t take democracy for granted - Motlanthe

Oct 27 2017 13:05
Carin Smith

Cape Town – Avoid self-pity when faced with challenges and use dialogues to connect to a greater system of checks and balances, former president Kgalema Motlanthe said on Friday.

“Don’t take democracy for granted. Take strategic action to address challenges,” he said at the African Infrastructure Dialogue 2017.

“Infrastructure cannot just be about capital. An alternative view in policy discussions regarding development outcomes is needed.”

He emphasised that strong growth of the past came with deepening inequalities and social exclusion, especially of young people.

“Therefore, today we need inclusive growth. This view is increasing, questioning the capitalist system’s ability to attend to challenges,” he said.

“It is important for countries to focus on competitiveness while keeping an eye on other factors. We always operate in a wider economic community.”

For Motlanthe, South Africa is a country faced with a past, which is incessantly present. It was designed only for a portion of citizens.

“So we are facing complex matters of redress. We have to align the Constitution of a non-racist, free and equal society with the (reality of) racially uneven ownership and a lack of access to market,” he said.

“This situation must be remedied to unlock the competitive and developmental benefits of full participation of all in the economy.”

Turning to social grants, Motlanthe said they were a structural imperative, which now threatens to freeze people in poverty.

“By failing to create jobs and not addressing the structural situation, millions are kept trapped in poverty.

"Stunned economic growth limits levels of innovation and dynamism and feed growing resentment among black South Africans because of the failure of the Competition Act and the vision of the Constitution,” he said.

Infrastructure transformation therefore offers a chance to change the cycle of poverty, he explained. “Diversification is imperative. We cannot rely on the way of the past. Present models of funding and partnerships will have to be challenged,” said Motlanthe.

“Local and foreign investors cannot be expected to invest in political and economic uncertainty. Corruption issues affect both the private and public sectors. Social justice is currently strained under greed and corruption.”

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