An African National Congress (ANC) lurch to the left is bound to throw the country off course, said Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille on Thursday.
She was speaking at an economic summit arranged prior to the DA publishing its own economic policy, which follows the ANC mandate released last weekend.
Zille said the aim was to come up with a sustainable response to the economic crisis.
“It needs clear leadership as to how we respond,” she said.
Zille noted that there were divisions in the tripartite alliance — the ANC, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) — as while Finance Minister Trevor Manuel looked for no change in economic policy, Cosatu and the SACP were promising shifts.
“We cannot afford confusion and contradiction at this time of crisis,” said Zille. She said that if this did ensue, then the country would be “punished by the markets”.
Zille felt there would be second-round effects from the crisis, which was a negative portent for economic growth.
“We need to craft a local solution to a global problem,” she said.
Notably, she said that labour analysts had predicted 310 000 jobs could be lost in South Africa in 2009, coming on top of the 74 000 jobs lost in the third quarter of 2008.
“It will have a significant impact on our social and hence our political fabric,” she said.
She said that the key was to create sustained opportunities in the economy via job-creating growth and via education. — I-Net Bridge