The most urgent task facing the government is to speed up the building of a national democratic society‚ in which all South Africans can enjoy an improved quality of life‚ especially the working class and the poor‚ says new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.
Holding his first official news conference in his new capacity‚ the former home affairs minister said he intended to implement the policies of the ANC‚ as “articulated in conference resolutions‚ in the 2014 election manifesto‚ and in the President’s pronouncements”.
“The overarching message of these is that we need to radically transform the South African economy‚ such that it works for all South Africans‚ including those who have been and still continue to this day to be marginalised – the working people and the poor‚ black people in general‚ women and youth.
“There needs not to be a contradiction between inclusive growth and radical economic transformation; there can be no economic progress that leaves the majority of our people behind‚” Gigaba said.
He added that for too long‚ there had been a narrative or perception around Treasury that it belonged primarily and exclusively to “orthodox” economists‚ big business‚ powerful interests and international investors.
Over 20 years of managing the nation’s fiscus‚ the ANC had exercised restraint‚ prudence and an “admirable commitment” to balance competing priorities and constituencies‚ he stated.
“There is a growing consensus inside the ANC and progressive sectors of society‚ that if anything‚ the pace and depth of transformation has been too slow and in many instances‚ superficial.
“Simply put‚ many in our alliance feel the ANC has been too conservative‚” Gigaba asserted.
However‚ he said the government did not “seek to implement a reckless lurch in a particular direction”.
“We will stay the course in terms of the fiscal policy stance approved by Government.
“We can no longer pretend that growing the economy‚ as it is currently constituted‚ will improve the lives of all South Africans.
“We need to change our approach‚” he added.
Gigaba said he would not betray the nation by “allowing individual or special interests to prevail over the public good”.
“Every decision I make will be for the public good‚ and I will be responsive and accountable to the public on those decisions.”