The African National Congress (ANC) sent in an economic heavyweight to kick off this afternoon’s debate on President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address delivered last week.
Trade and industry Minister Rob Davies opened the National Assembly sitting by mentioning a range of initiatives undertaken by his department to illustrate that government does in fact create economic opportunities and foreign investment.
He also took a swipe at opposition parties who pretend they have a quick fix for South Africa’s economic woes: “That is misleading and they’re like snake oil sales people offering a quack remedy.”
According to Davies, analysts are more upbeat about SA than its own citizens because the country’s long-term fundamentals are encouraging.
“The pessimism of the private sector is not shared by the outside world,” Davies said.
The Industrial Policy Action Plan (Ipap) affords government the opportunity to create new manufacturing hubs and employment. He singled out the clothing and textile as well as the automotive industry where significant investment is taking place.
“All of these successes are a product of the policy framework we’ve put in place and the developmental stance on tariff setting and standards to defend our borders against influxes,” Davies said.
He also briefly mentioned the launch of a targeted black industrialists programme.
“And it’s not for politically connected cronies. The definition of a black industrialist is tight: You have to be involved in a company that is controlled by black people and individuals have to be working in the manufacturing industry,” Davies said.
Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) MPs Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and Floyd Shivambu interrupted Davies on two occasions, accusing him of misleading the house about job creation numbers.
“He manufactures jobs, but says nothing about the eight million unemployed people in South Africa,” Ndlozi said.