Johannesburg – Former president Thabo Mbeki has urged government and the business sector to form a social compact and to work together for the reconstruction and recovery of South Africa’s economy.
Mbeki made the call while addressing business professionals at Emoyeni in Parktown, north of Johannesburg on Thursday night as part of the ANC Gauteng’s election strategy ahead of the municipal polls on November 1.
Mbeki told hundreds of people gathered that the need for a social compact between government and business was contained in the ANC’s manifesto as the only measure that would address the lack of proper roads, sewerage, housing and jobs.
He added that the manifesto was calling on all social partners to work in unity to deliver services to South Africans.
According to Mbeki, local governments, especially small municipalities were unable to deliver basic services and it was therefore incumbent on the big players to do their part.
Mbeki added that in July last year, local businesses established a plan that would see them invest R1 trillion in the country’s economy as well as a contribution of R100 billion towards revenue.
“The business people also said that the government must contribute R2.4 trillion to reconstruction and recover the economy,” Mbeki said.
He maintained that President Cyril Ramaphosa also produced a reconstruction and economic recovery plan in October 2020 when he addressed the joint sitting of Parliament.
The former ANC leader said Ramaphosa’s plan was aimed at creating over 3.4 million jobs over the next 10 years and was also aimed at propelling the economy of the country at the growth rate of 3%.
Mbeki, however, indicated that Ramaphosa’s plan, though very positive in outlook, was unlikely to drastically reduce the high level of unemployment in the country.
“This is based on the projections of the National Development Plan (NDP) which says the country’s economy grew at a rate of 5.4%. So something needs to be done to deliver things such as jobs, roads and housing,” he said.
“Therefore the ANC manifesto is emphasising that all these social partners must form a social compact to deliver on the needs of the people. They must work together and it is only through that social compact that houses, roads and jobs will be created.”
He used the platform to also heap praise on the ruling party for its decision to involve communities in the election of its councillors candidates for the elections.
Mbeki reminded the audience about a warning issued by late former president Nelson Mandela in 1997 when he spoke about the greed among some ANC leaders since the advent of democracy.
He insisted that Mandela warned about people who sought to serve their own interests.
According to Mbeki, subsequently leaders of the ANC such as former president Kgalema Motlanthe and ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe also warned about the “decay of ANC leaders.”
Mbeki also asked leaders such as Gauteng ANC chairperson David Makhura, who hosted the event, to show the country’s citizens that the ANC has committed itself to appoint credible people to become mayors post the elections.
“If the ANC fails in these elections, South Africa will fail,” said Mbeki.