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State, business ‘must work together’

Johannesburg - Business and the government need to pull in the same direction in view of global economic risks, ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa said on Wednesday.

“We simply do not have the luxury to emphasise our differences - which there will always be - to the detriment of our many agreements,” Phosa said in a speech prepared for delivery at the FNB business club breakfast in Johannesburg.

ANC Treasurer General Mathews Phosa. Photo: Independent Newspapers. Credit: Independent Newspapers

“In choosing our future, whether those choices are for policy options or leaders, we cannot even consider choosing against certain alternatives or individuals.”

He said the country needed to get rid of the negative mindset of “we cure ills with more of the same”.

“We must choose for change, for good policies, and for people who will selflessly impact against poverty and unemployment.

“We must choose for change and not waste time in formulating a discourse on what and whom we are against.”

Phosa outlined steps he thought would improve service delivery. He said a small and competent team should be given powers to investigate suspicious tenders, and that tender processes at all levels of government had to be open to ongoing scrutiny.

“The current institutions of planning and monitoring and evaluation leaves a gap... (and) specific, high priority projects are not accelerated at the speed required in the context of current unemployment and poverty.

“I suggest that... government engages with the business sector with a view towards them releasing a team of current and former executives to formulate advice to government on how to accelerate delivery.”

The government should not hesitate to act when it found institutions were not performing.

“The current system should be reviewed on whether cadre deployment is more suited to policy or executive level. It might be that we find that deployment on a policy level will be much more productive in the service delivery context than on an executive level.”

It was crucial to align the policy of state-owned organisations with ANC policy.

“The logical conclusion, therefore, is that deployed ANC members are better suited to sit on the boards of organisations to effect this critical policy alignment.

“We need the very best skills available for leaders to serve as executives in those entities and enterprises that the state owns.”

Phosa said it was time to accept public responsibility for mistakes.

Leaders needed to accept the principles needed to create space for others to do a better job.

“If we all put our shoulders to the wheel, we can make a difference through hard work, partnerships and pride in creating a better life for all,” he said. - Sapa

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