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Plans are in place but there’s 'no action' to resuscitate SA’s economy

Economist Iraj Abedian said one problem was that divisions within the governing party, the ANC, meant it could not reach agreement on what should be done.

Picture: 123rf.com.

CAPE TOWN - Deep divisions in the African National Congress (ANC) and a lack of technical capacity in the civil service are two obstacles that must be overcome if the urgent reforms needed for economic growth are to be implemented.

That’s the view of economist Iraj Abedian, the founder and chief executive of Pan-African Investment and Research Services, as he reflects on the country's economy after a tough 2020.

The plans for South Africa’s economic recovery are in place, but there’s little movement in implementing the urgently needed reforms that could breathe new life back into the economy.

ALSO READ: Economist warns it will be some time before SA economy recovers

Abedian said: “The reforms that were needed have been held back - and unless those blockages are unblocked, we’re going to go backwards. Plain and simple.”

He said one problem was that divisions within the governing party, the ANC, meant it could not reach agreement on what should be done.

“Ministers are not focused on their portfolios, they’re rather focused on whether their faction is getting the upper hand politically, knowing that if their faction loses, that is a sudden death for them.”

Abedian said a second factor was the lack of technical capacity in the state.

“Over the past decade or so, the public sector was literally hollowed out of not just money, but also skills – and expertise.”

ALSO READ: COVID-19 and the SA economy in 2020: ‘We need to close the hippo’s mouth’

He said a step-change was needed from talking and planning - to doing – as well as a crackdown on corruption in the civil service. Otherwise, he said, major projects would be delayed by those intent on looting public funds, who would wait until the “right people” are in place.

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