We could have done better, government admits on SA economy | Fin24
 
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We could have done better, government admits on SA economy

Oct 18 2018 20:00
Khulekani Magubane, Fin24

Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel has acknowledged that government could have done better in its effort to aid the South African economy over the past decade.

Patel was briefing the media alongside President Cyril Ramaphosa’s special advisor on the economy, Trudi Makhaya, and deputy minister of economic development, Madala Masuku. The briefing was an update on next week’s investor summit in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Quarterly economic and employment data paint a bleak picture of South Africa’s economic health. Aside from entering a technical recession in September, South Africa lost 69 000 jobs in the second quarter of the year.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Patel said South Africa could have done better in the past at communicating effectively with investors about their concerns and putting them at ease about the stability of the economy.

"In all of these issues, there are a number of problems. The first issue that limits investment is confidence from business, investors and consumers. We want to tell the story of what we are doing to address low confidence," said Patel.

Patel said through the summit, government would strive for "greater connection between public entities and investors" while "re-engineering government’s approach to attracting investment".

Makhaya said the investor summit was a milestone in which government sought to "re-think our investment mobilisation infrastructure by looking at best practice". She said government was still on the hunt for $100bn in investment over five years.

"We are working very hard to develop a mechanism to track the numbers. We would give you the numbers in terms of how far we are on this project. There would be pledges and project ideas that come up other than funds actually disbursed," said Makhaya.

On economic growth and jobs, Patel acknowledged: "Growth and jobs are significantly below the targets of the NDP. You can have plans but there are often social and political matters that are at hand which change circumstances."

Masuku said while the past decade was a painful experience economically, the past had valuable lessons that government would use to chart the country to a stronger economy and a more prosperous society.

"We are so confident that this conference and other things will take us forward. We learned a lot in the past nine years, and that is an opportunity to progress. In these nine years we came up with the National Development Plan," said Masuku.

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