'Govt & business must discuss economy'

Organised business said it's time for govt and business to talk about the plunging economy.

Organised business said it's time for govt and business to talk about the hard issues. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - With fears growing that the platinum strike is going to continue pushing our economy towards a recession, organised business said now's the time for government and business leaders to talk properly about the hard issues.

Yesterday Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus said while she didn't expect a recession, the economy is experiencing significant headwinds.

The economy contracted in the first quarter mainly because of the platinum strike.

Business Unity South Africa's acting Chief Executive Officer Cas Coovadia said several problems are behind our slowing economy.

"There are a number of factors and we aren't coming together at the right level to talk about the hard issues."

Renaissance Capital Economist Thabi Leoka was not optimistic when asked directly whether anything can be done in the near future.

"Short term there's nothing we can do and the strike is dragging the economy down."

The bad news could continue on Friday when the two big ratings agencies release their latest views on South Africa.


The National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu) said it's vehemently opposed to compulsory arbitration being introduced into the Labour Relations Act, as suggested by the new Mineral Resources Minister Ngaoko Ramatlhodi.

Ramatlhodi said South African law needs a legal mechanism that would give him the power to order employers and unions to accept an offer, in the event of a protracted strike or force them into arbitration talks.

Nactu said it opposed a similar amendment to the act in the past and will do so again if it arises in the Nedlac forum.

The council's president Joseph Maqekheni said, "It's worker's rights to decide not accept an offer, so we'll oppose any endorsed arbitration if it comes into law."