AFRICAN National Congress (ANC) President Jacob Zuma says the economic difficulties the country is facing threaten the projected economic growth of 1.3%.
In his address during the opening of the ANC’s policy conference in Johannesburg on Friday, Zuma said the current climate was posing serious dangers, including the failure to meet the low projection.
“The policy conference takes place during a difficult period economically in our country. The economy has entered a technical recession. At the time of the Budget in February, the economy was expected to grow at a low 1.3 percent in 2017. Given the current difficulties, even this low growth rate may now not be achieved,” he said.
Zuma called on delegates to come up with policies that would work towards arresting the situation and help grow the economy for the next five years.
The country has been in a technical recession following downgrades by international rating agencies following the sacking of Pravin Gordhan as finance minister and Mcebisi Jonas as the deputy.
Malusi Gigaba was placed at the helm of Treasury and now has a daunting task of curing the country’s ailing economy.
Zuma said delegates must leave the six days conference with concrete policies that will resuscitate the economy.
“Our deliberations in this conference on the economy will need to look at what needs to be done to reignite growth over the next five years,” he said.
Zuma also used the platform to remind delegates and the country of the policies adopted by the party to help improve the lives of black people.
He said they created mechanisms that allowed blacks to participate in the economy.
“The ANC has increased access to economic opportunities for black people who were excluded before through various economic programmes. The ANC prides itself on the growth of the black middle class through its policies and programmes, including affirmative action and broad-based black economic empowerment. These need to be broadened to reach even more people in the next five years,” he said.
Zuma added that despite the positives, more still needed to be done. He said more people black people need to get access to the economy and delegates need to find ways of fast-tracking the existing policies to make it a possibility.
“Conference will thus need to reflect on the pace and quality of the implementation of ANC programmes and how this can be improved further to improve the lives of more people in our country, as we reverse the legacy of apartheid colonialism,” said Zuma.