The new economic “rights” that everyone should be talking about: legal expert

In his recent Budget speech, Pravin Gordhan alluded to the possibility of a “charter of economic rights” to address intractable economic hardship in South Africa.

This is a concept that has been largely overlooked by commentators, despite having been welcomed by the ANC parliamentary caucus, says Pam Saxby of Legalbrief.

The topic was highlighted once again on Thursday (9 March), during the National Assembly debate on the fiscal framework, where Gordhan himself urged that a “serious conversation” take place on what will and won’t work in South Africa.

“According to Gordhan’s Budget speech, the charter would ‘supplement’ the Bill of Rights – binding the country’s citizens to an economy that provides access to decent and well remunerated jobs; facilitates training and retraining … in the face of technological change; and creates a supportive environment for micro, small and medium businesses and co- operatives’,” noted Saxby.

This was expanded upon on Thursday by Gordhan to also include an end to ‘inter-generational poverty in South Africa and a consensus on how to grow and transform the economy’.

“Economic transformation in South Africa should be directed at the vast majority – the working class and the poor,” Gordhan said.

“It’s nice to have millionaires and billionaires, but what about our own people who find themselves in despair. How do we address their concerns?”

He also said that this economic growth cuts both ways – and in response to criticism about the low corporate tax rate, the minister noted that someone in South Africa still has to make a profit.

“South Africa will not see private investment if government keeps on battering people. Someone must make a profit. There must be confidence in our policy environment and we must have national consensus that generates optimism in our country.”

Gordhan is expected to table the first draft of the new economic charter within the coming months.

Read: Countries where the rand is stronger in 2017

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The new economic “rights” that everyone should be talking about: legal expert