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Economic growth must be #1 priority for next ANC leadership - Gigaba

Dec 16 2017 13:48
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – The incoming ANC Leadership should focus on growing the economy faster, said Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Gigaba was delivering an address at the Progressive Business Forum breakfast at the ANC’s 54th national conference, which kicked off on Saturday.

“The most important task of the incoming ANC leadership is the economy. All other things are dependent on the economy growing faster, becoming inclusive and ensuring we create employment and prosperity for the whole country,” he explained.

“At this defining moment, the most important task for the ANC as a governing party is to lead the country to achieve inclusive growth through radical economic transformation as quickly as possible.”

Gigaba noted that progress has been made since 1994, but the country still faces extreme income inequality, deep poverty and unemployment affecting the youth specifically.

Some of these challenges have been mitigated through the introduction of the social wage bill.

“The social wage bill can be as good as it is a trap if jobs are not created for people to be gainfully employed and be freed from the reliance on the State,” said Gigaba.

“In this regard, the call for radical economic transformation is relevant, it is a stepping stone towards inclusive growth. There can be no other way forward for the country.”

Gigaba explained that growth without economic transformation is unjust and that in turn transformation without growth is also self-defeating.

Radical economic transformation should be achieved by ensuring ownership, management and the worker profile at all levels reflect the racial composition of the broader society. Secondly it can be achieved by transforming the sectoral composition of the economy to be one built on a skilled middle class rather than one which is capital intensive and built on mineral resources.

Gigaba also spoke on his expectations for the ANC leadership race, saying that the conference represents the dynamic of continuity and change.

“Whoever is elected into leadership, I am confident that they will undertake responsibilities with the seriousness it deserves.”

Gigaba told journalists at a briefing at the JSE on Friday that he was comfortable with the candidates.

“I am very happy with all the candidates for the presidential job of the ANC. They are all seasoned politicians that have got extensive experience both in the party and government.

“They have played big roles in different areas of assignment in the last 23 years of our democracy.”

Gigaba believes that the country and the movement will be in good hands regardless of who takes over as leader, as they will implement ANC policies and not individual policies.

Message to new leaders

Gigaba said that the new leadership should not be “daunted” by the many challenges of the country and should use opportunities and be resolute in uniting the movement and the nation.

“I want to encourage the incoming leadership to be decisive and speedy in implementing the resolutions adopted in the conference.

“In many instances uncertainty is created not by the difference in opinion of adopted policies but a mere lack of implementation.”

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