Economic growth not everything: SACP

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President Jacob Zuma and National Assembly Speaker Max Sislulu make their way down the red carpet. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams

Cape Town - Chasing economic growth to tackle poverty, inequality, and unemployment will not solve the country's problems, the SA Communist Party said on Friday.

The SACP was responding to President Jacob Zuma's state-of-the-nation address which focused in part on the National Development Plan. This seeks to grow the economy threefold to create much-needed jobs in South Africa.

“The SACP wishes to caution that the challenges we are experiencing should never push us to a point of nostalgia on the economic policy front,” spokesman Malesela Maleka said in a statement.

Government should not cave in to demands by big business.

“The SACP will strongly resist all attempts by business to try and blackmail us into succumbing to their narrow concerns about profits without telling us about their own contributions,” said Maleka.

He was referring to Zuma's pronouncements that big business had asked for “certain obstacles” to be removed to achieve the intended growth rates.

“The myth that there are legislative and other bottlenecks to be unlocked in favour of business must be carefully examined. It seems to us that all business wants are concessions without any commitments on its part to realise our goals of tackling unemployment, poverty, and inequality,” Maleka said.

The tripartite alliance partner welcomed the tax review to be done by Treasury later this year, which would include looking at mining royalty tax. It should ensure ordinary South Africans share in the country's mineral wealth.

“The SACP calls for the process to be inclusive, and communities in the mining areas must be accorded an opportunity to explain the exploitative practices of the mining houses.”

Maleka cautioned against a “technical tax review process”, which he said would not address the “social ills created by the mining houses”.

On Zuma's report card on progress made in the infrastructure roll-out plan, Maleka said there were positive trends emerging.

“Specifically, we appreciate the intensification at the level of school infrastructure and the work that will commence in September on the two sites of the new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.”

The party welcomed the launch of the National Health Insurance fund later in the year, but again cautioned against private sector interests.

“The SACP will watch this development with keen interest in order to ascertain that the fund is kept free of private sector interest, including the tendency to flirt with a PPPs (public private partnerships) model, which we regard as problematic.” - Sapa


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