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'Economic recovery & reconstruction plan must be rolled out urgently'

The ambitious plan focuses on four key areas: a big public employment drive, energy security, massive infrastructure development and the industrialisation of the economy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering the country's economic recovery plan in Parliament on 15 October 2020. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday said the economic recovery and reconstruction plan he unveiled in Parliament must be rolled out urgently.

He, however, acknowledged that implementation would be key.

The ambitious plan focuses on four key areas: a big public employment drive, energy security, massive infrastructure development and the industrialisation of the economy.

The plan was approved by Cabinet last week – it’s based on agreements reached between the government, business, labour and social partners at the national economic development and labour council – Nedlac.

The R350 COVID-19 grant will be extended to help see those in distress through to the end of January, but Ramaphosa said the government could not afford any more extensions.

He said he plan to revive South Africa’s battered economy must be rolled out with urgency.

It focuses on an infrastructure development drive of R100bn over the next decade, with a pipeline of projects – some shovel-ready.

He emphasised that job creation also takes centre stage.

“We have committed R100bn over the next three years to create jobs through public and social employment as the labour market recovers. This starts now, with over 800,000 employment opportunities (to be) created in the months ahead.”

Steps to boost the economy include making it easier and cheaper to do business, and support for small and medium enterprises, but Ramaphosa will have to convince detractors of the government’s ability to put the plan into effect:

“It is clear that implementation is really going to be the key in giving effect to this recovery and reconstruction plan. This requires a more effective and efficient state, with greater coordination and integration between national, provincial and local government.”

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