Dlamini Zuma calls for strengthened intervention in country’s economy

By Siviwe Feketha Time of article published Jun 22, 2020

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Johannesburg - Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on Sunday said Covid-19 had exposed SA’s rampant poverty levels.

She was addressing the ANC OR Tambo School of Leadership on “the developmental state in local government”.

She said the pandemic made it “impossible for us to hide our faces from our limitations in addressing these basic needs”.

“I remember, I think president (Thabo) Mbeki was still president. We were supposed to ensure that every school had electricity and water and Covid-19 has exposed that that did not happen.

“There was a time when we said mud schools must go but mud schools are still with us. We said the bucket system must go, but the bucket system is still with us,” Dlamini Zuma said.

In her speech, she called for strengthened intervention in the economy by the government through increased state ownership as part of building a developmental state.

She stressed the importance for the government to create concrete long-term goals and deploy capable people to help implement the developmental goals.

Dlamini Zuma said the current implementation of the District Development Model was part of cultivating the developmental state by changing the approach to development through localisation to maximise the impact by bringing spheres of government one plan and budget for each of the 44 districts and eight metros.

“We will have special reference plans expressed over a 25-year period and divided into five and 10-year implementation plans,” she said.

She criticised the changes in planning by successive ANC administrations since 1994. “We must have plans that will stand the test of time irrespective of which administration comes and they must be buttressed by a cadre who is patriotic, competent, sufficiently experienced and ethical, both at a political and administrative level.”

The minister said there were a lot of things the ANC-led government still needed to do to ensure local economic development and industrialisation before it could be called the developmental state which it aspired to be.

She said the government had failed to implement the directive of the Reconstruction and Development Plan’s call for the decentralisation of economic activity post 1994.

“Indeed from a local government perspective we have put in place what didn’t exist before, but we have not heeded what the RDP said. The RDP proposes that we must seek to help people generate economic wealth in their chosen communities. That is lacking.”

She said the current government had to create a democratic developmental state by using some of the progressive approaches which saw the apartheid government creating companies like Eskom, Sasol, Transnet, Telkom, SA A and Denel.

Dlamini Zuma said the development of the apartheid regime was to some extent similar to that of a developmental state, even though it was only for the benefit of the white minority to the exclusion of the black majority. “The apartheid regime understood that for the economy to grow and for the industries that they were targeting to be successful, they needed finance and intervened in the financial space as well and that is why we had the creation of the Land Bank, Sambo Bank and Sanlam,” she said.

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