9 February 2009
A report from the task team set up to investigate options to help struggling sectors of South Africa’s economy should be ready by next month, President Kgalema Motlanthe told journalists in Cape Town on Sunday.
Motlanthe said the task team, comprising representatives from the government, business and organised labour, had been mandated to make proposals for government assistance to sectors crumbling under the recessionary global environment.
“There will be a report available soon from the task team . and we expect they will come back with concrete proposals on how we should respond to the economic meltdown,” Motlanthe said.
“We must be mindful of the fact that we don’t know how far the meltdown is going to go, but we have not touched the ground yet. It is difficult to know whether it is a recession or depression,” the President added.
Asked how the government might help struggling sectors of the economy, Motlanthe said it would not just throw money at the problem. The task team was looking at various options, he said, with the primary focus on saving jobs.
In his state of the nation address in Parliament on Friday, Motlanthe said the global economic meltdown posed “serious dangers for the economy in terms of job losses and the quality of life of our people.
“Our central and immediate task is to fully appreciate the consequences of these developments on our economy and our region, and devise responses that will minimise their impact on the most vulnerable sectors of our society.”
The demand for South Africa’s exports had decreased and job creation had been negatively affected, with retrenchments already taking place in the car manufacturing sector, among others.
The government would adapt industrial financing and incentive instruments to help deal with the challenges in various sectors and to allow employees to keep their jobs, he said.