‘Mbeki's Gear policy still won't work’

The former president yesterday published a response to a critique of his Gear policies during his term.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki in August 2015. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Communist Party (SACP) says former President Thabo Mbeki's defence of his Growth, Employment and Redistribution (Gear) economic policy is not going to work because of the impact it had on the country.

Yesterday, Mbeki published a response to a critique of his Gear policies in which he said they were not neo-liberal.

When Mbeki was president, his economic policies were strongly criticised by the left of the African National Congress (ANC), trade unions and the SACP.

They claimed the policies were neo-liberal and would result in government cutting back on social services and the rich getting richer.

In his response, the former president quotes from Karl Marx saying that one of the reasons they needed to follow this policy was to ensure South Africa did not have to borrow money from the International Monetary Fund.

But the SACP's Alex Mashilo says Mbeki's use of Marx is not going to work.

"Thabo Mbeki is recycling old quotations. That did not work when he tried to justify it in the past. There is no way those quotations are going to work right now."

Mbeki however appeared to be making the point that running a high national deficit to fund more social services for poor South Africans would not have been in the country's best interest in the longer run.