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Zuma doubts ‘economic Codesa’ will help SA

The economy has been under strain over the last 12 months, compounded by load shedding last year.

Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma says he doubts a so-called 'economic Codesa' will help South Africa solve its financial problems.

Replying to questions raised during the 2016 State of the Nation Address debate this week, Zuma told United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa he thought the idea of an economic summit was a good one, but questioned whether it would be effective.

Holomisa has consistently raised the suggestion for economic talks similar to the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa), which was first held in 1991 and was a springboard for the transition to democracy.

The economy has been under strain over the last 12 months, compounded by load shedding last year, a drought brought on by El Niño, Zuma's sudden sacking of then Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and the subsequent shock appointment of Des van Rooyen as his replacement.

Today, Zuma said the economy concerned everyone.

"Now one of the subjects that's discussed in this country more than any other subject is the economy, by everybody."

However, the president added he wasn't "sure what a Codesa on the economy will do for us".

Zuma suggested he didn't believe the different political parties would be able to agree on a common economic policies.

"We might not even have as parties the same policy on the economy and we might not be ready to agree … in that summit [and] then what happens thereafter?"

The head of state also questioned whether political parties who couldn't agree in Parliament would suddenly agree at an economic summit.

"Unless parties agree beforehand that we're ready to abandon our policies, and have one policy of all parties and have one economic system in the country.

"So I think it's a rather good suggestion - I'm not saying it's not good - but if we were to do that I would we'll argue from the time we start to the end without an agreement because each party will put its policy [forward]."

Holomisa seemed to be satisfied with the president's response, flashing two thumbs up once Zuma was done.

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