The Inclusive Society Institute is currently engaging various economic sectors as part of its extensive economic research project, which will culminate in a comprehensive ‘Blueprint for rejuvenating South Africa’s economy’. In a series of dialogues, the various sectoral stakeholders and policymakers are engaged in seeking answers to the all-important questions aimed at gaining an understanding, from the particular sector’s perspective, as to what the country needs to correct policy wise, and what new initiatives / policies should be introduced to shift the economy onto a higher growth trajectory.
In the constructive dialogue with labour, which was held 15 February 2022, some important issues raised, including, amongst others:
An acknowledgement that the economy is in crisis and needed all hands-on deck to place it onto a new growth trajectory.
There were problems with the current macro-economics, which, in the view of labour, relied too heavily on neo-liberal values.
There needs to be greater focus on positioning South Africa as a developmental state.
The state is failing, or at least failing to implement policy. And the continual shifting of ideology is not helpful.
Public policymakers need a wake-up call with regard to the state of social cohesion in the country.
On corruption, there was a strong feeling that “the crooks must be jailed”, and that those from the political establishment need to be prioritised so as to set the example and create investment confidence.
The place of immigrants in the economy needs to be thoroughly considered.
Localisation and circulation of the Rand within the country was now more crucial than ever.
The tax-system needs to be re-looked. Are the rich sufficiently taxed? Is there space for targeted solidarity taxes?
Don’t keep changing policies every five years. Policy certainty is needed.
There needs to be balancing between the needs of the financial sector and that of the real economy, for example, credit allocation to emerging manufacturing firms.
Urgent policing of infrastructure is needed.
Take home message: Dealing with the economic woes as a matter of urgency. Either leadership must do it, or society will do it for them.