Thursday, 15 October 2020
Pretoria: President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to appear before Parliament this afternoon to outline the country’s much-anticipated economic recovery plan.
The President last week wrote to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Chairperson Amos Masondo about his intention to call a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament.
The President can call a joint sitting in terms of Section 84(2)(d) of the Constitution, read together with Rule 7(1)(b) of the Joint Rules of Parliament.
In the letter, the President said the 2pm hybrid sitting would be used to table South Africa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan following the debilitating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need to take extraordinary measures towards a speedy and sustainable economic recovery,” President Ramaphosa said.
The South African economy contracted by a staggering 51% in Quarter 2 of 2020. The period coincided with the hardest levels of the country’s lockdown, as government limited movement and economic activity in an attempt to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
Last week’s Cabinet Lekgotla focussed on coming up with a reconstruction and recovery plan focussing on infrastructure, job creation and industrialisation.
Speaking to SAfm on Tuesday, Prof Raymond Parsons from the North West University School of Economics said South Africans were looking forward to a “credible and implementable” plan.
“[A] way that is going to make a difference in our economic prospects,” he said. “It needs to help turn our economy around, implement on key economic reforms, it needs to build investor confidence and, indeed, jobs.”
During the interview, Parsons said the plan was to create confidence, “it is to show that there are new and better ways in which we can guarantee delivery of what we are promising and have promised in a way that will make a difference on the ground”.
“Another important dimension – a test that will be applied on Thursday for the successful implementation of what has been promised – will be the extent to which the private sector is involved and is used to help generate the outcome that we want. How the private sector and the markets will react this week will also depend on the timelines on the implementation of what has been promised and to what extent it breaks new ground. We know already graft and delay have been the enemy of delivery,” he said.
This comes after the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) in September agreed on a plan of action for economic recovery, which is due for consideration and finalisation by Cabinet.
The action plan is directed towards building confidence and placing South Africa on a path of investment and growth.
The Presidency last month said the social partners’ action plan is founded on significant convergence on what needs to be done to set the economy on a new, accelerated, inclusive and transformative growth trajectory.
During the meeting, social partners have identified priority areas for rebuilding the economy, as well as structural reforms and other programmes that will enable sustainable and inclusive growth, with an intensive focus on job creation.
The social partners have also agreed on a compact that commits government, business, labour and community to mobilise funding to address Eskom’s financial crisis in a sustainable manner in return for an efficient, productive and fit-for-purpose Eskom that generates electricity at affordable prices for communities and industries.
The economic recovery action plan identifies roles and responsibilities of all the social partners – government, community, labour and business – who declared their commitment to the implementation of the plan.