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Mbeki slams 'neo-liberal' market ideology

Published Oct 31, 2003

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Cape Town - If social transformation is to succeed in South Africa, it cannot allow itself to be a prisoner to "neo-liberal market ideology", President Thabo Mbeki said on Friday.

In his weekly newsletter, published on the African National Congress' website, the president said calls within the country and on the continent to oppose this ideology were "practical and rational".

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A defining feature of South Africa was it had two economies, one belonging to the developed world, and the other to the underdeveloped.

"This second economy includes millions of people who are poor. These are ordinary working people whose problems cannot be solved by reliance on 'the market'," he said.

These were people who did not have the skills required by a modern economy and society.

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"They do not generate large enough savings to make a significant impact on the rate of investment."

The critically important task to end the poverty and underdevelopment -in which millions of Africans were trapped, inside and outside the country - could not be accomplished by the market.

"If we were to follow the prescriptions of neo-liberal market ideology, we would abandon the masses of our people to permanent poverty and underdevelopment.

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"This would be a betrayal of everything for which the masses of our people have engaged in struggle for nine decades, under the leadership of the ANC."

Referring to the recent 22nd congress of the Socialist International, held in Sao Paolo, Brazil, he said its call for progressive forces to oppose neo-liberal market ideology was, "for us in South Africa and Africa, not a matter merely of ideology".

"It is a practical and rational response to what we have to do to achieve the goals of the national democratic revolution, the objectives being pursued by the African Union directly and through the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

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"We have a responsibility to engage all progressive forces in our country, in Africa and the rest of the world, to come together in the global coalition for which the SI called."

This coalition had to confront what the SI called "the unacceptable cost of globalisation".

"We cannot but be part of the global coalition that must work to create the global society in which the people will govern the process of globalisation," Mbeki said. - Sapa

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