CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa tabled an Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan at a joint sitting of parliament on Thursday. South Africa’s economy was devastated by the economic shocks of the global COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 2 million jobs were lost during the hard lockdown period. Ramaphosa’s plan seeks to stimulate economic recovery and growth from the after effects of COVID-19.
With the plan South Africa aims to embark on a mass employment programme, re-industrialise the economy, and secure a reliable energy supply within two years, among other short-to-medium term targets. Ramaphosa expects to create an estimated 800 000 jobs off the back of the plan.
“The interventions outlined in this plan will create and support over 800 000 work opportunities in the immediate term to respond to job losses. We aim to do this primarily through a major infrastructure programme and a large-scale employment stimulus, coupled with an intensive localisation drive and industrial expansion,” says Ramaphosa.
To realise this plan’s goals, Ramaphosa seeks to court the private sector’s buy in by implementing some structural economic reforms, and improve South Africa’s investor confidence rating which had over the years deteriorated due to political uncertainty and policy inconsistency.
“According to the modelling done by the Treasury, the implementation of this plan will raise growth to about 3% on average over the next 10 years. Our recovery will be propelled by swift reforms to unleash the potential of the economy, and supported by an efficient state that is committed to clean governance,” said Ramaphosa.
The presidency said that the objectives of the plan are to:
- Create jobs through infrastructure development and mass employment programmes;
- Reindustrialise the economy – focusing on small businesses and strengthening medium and large businesses;
- Accelerate economic forms, investment and growth;
- Fight crime and corruption;
- Improve the capability of the state.
The South African president says its government will invest R100 billion (US$ 6 billion) over the next three years to create jobs through public and social employment as the labour market recovers. He also emphasised the need to implement necessary reform, remove regulatory barriers that increase costs and create inefficiencies in the economy, secure energy supply and free up digital infrastructure.