To both preserve existing jobs and create new ones, South Africa will focus on an infrastructure-led strategy as part of its primary coronavirus recovery plan, says president Cyril Ramaphosa.
In a virtual address after an ANC lekgotla on Monday, the president said that this infrastructure plan will include investments in energy, water, public transport and other areas.
“The path and speed of economic recovery will depend on many different factors, and the lekgotla developed criteria and timelines to guide the government’s actions in a number of areas,” he said.
Ramaphosa said that the key areas include:
Strengthening energy security;
Localisation through industrialisation – including a ‘thriving’ local industrial base;
Strengthening food security;
Infrastructure investment and delivery that meets the NDP goals;
Support for tourism;
Green economy interventions;
Public employment programmes;
Gender equality and economic inclusion of women and youth;
Macro-economic policy interventions.
“In approaching these key economic focus areas, the ANC supports a phased approach to our economic recovery,” Ramaphosa said.
The president said that the first phase focused on saving lives and included a massive healthcare response.
The second phase focused on saving livelihoods and included support for households and businesses – including various social and businesses grants.
“In the third phase, we are going to implement a programme of reconstruction and recovery. The ANC will guide the work of government, working with social partners to generate higher rates of economic growth, investment and job creation.
“Our aim is to radically transform our society to make it truly non-racial, non-sexist and economically more inclusive.”
Ramaphosa said that the country’s reconstruction and recovery will be infrastructure-led, with a focus on energy sector reform and security.
It will also include large-scale investment in:
Water and sanitation;
Roads and bridges;
Education and skills development;
Digital infrastructure; and
“The programme will be inclusive as it will focus on local employment and will seek to overcome the patterns of economic marginalisation as it transforms the structure of the economy,” the president said.
He said that the programme also aims to include SMMEs and co-operatives and recognise their role in creating work, particularly for youth and those people entering into the labour market for the first time across all economic sectors.
“To achieve significant job creation multipliers, the emphasis will be on localisation, including maximising the use of South African materials and construction companies as well as labour-intensive methods.”