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  • glparramatta
    www.mg.co.za TOP STORY Zuma takes charm offensive to the JSE Michael Hamlyn | Cape Town, South Africa 31 January 2007 12:00 Continuing his charm offensive to
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2008
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      Zuma takes charm offensive to the JSE
      Michael Hamlyn | Cape Town, South Africa
      31 January 2007 12:00

      Continuing his charm offensive to reassure businessmen and the
      investment community that his ascent to the leadership of the ruling
      party signifies no threat to the economy, Jacob Zuma on Thursday faced
      the bulls, bears and stags of the Johannesburg Securities Exchange.

      He spoke at a luncheon organised by Jayendra Naidoo, chairperson of
      Macquarie First South, and spoke about job creation, the fight against
      crime, skilled immigration and the electricity crisis.

      The African National Congress (ANC) president said that based on the
      current economic forecasts, South Africa could expect to continue to
      create many jobs, particularly for skilled workers.

      "Thousands however, will remain unemployed, and this is the group we
      must focus on," he said.

      He told his audience that the ANC conference in Polokwane confirmed that
      the creation of jobs must be the primary focus of economic policy
      through targeted and direct interventions.

      "Our development finance institutions and regulatory bodies need to be
      sensitive to this objective," he said.

      "In government procurement policies, industrial and trade policy
      reforms, and in our macroeconomic policy stance, we need to be alive to
      these goals."

      He also spoke of the need to consider fresh ideas to improve job
      creation, for example, by the state helping young people to get their
      first formal-sector job.

      "By creating the right incentives for young people to be employed by
      companies, young people can gain vital workplace skills, experience and
      networks necessary for formal-sector employment," he said.

      On skilled immigration, he said that South Africans had to come to terms
      with the fact that the more skills in the economy, the more jobs could
      be created.

      "While we do the hard work to improve our education and skills outcomes,
      which will take many years to accomplish, our government needs to ensure
      that the economy has sufficient skills to expand," he said.

      Business Against Crime lauded

      Zuma said there was consensus that the level of crime in South Africa
      was simply unacceptable. The Polokwane conference resolved to sharpen
      the anti-crime campaign this year, Zuma said, and he praised the
      business community for demonstrating what a difference concrete action
      could make.

      "The achievements of Business Against Crime, in its support for the
      criminal justice system, are remarkable," he said.

      "There are many innovations that have been introduced in prisons and
      other criminal justice centres, through the work of Business Against
      Crime. We applaud such patriotic duty."

      He agreed that South Africans were concerned about the supply of
      electricity. And he said, grimly, that there was no doubt that
      investment in the sector should have been made earlier, and the reasons
      for this failure would have to be addressed at a later stage.

      But, he said, the investments were being made now. "Our government is
      developing a national response plan which will introduce short-term
      measures to balance the demand for energy with the supply, and this
      while the work to bring more supply is fast-tracked as much as possible."

      He said the electricity crisis was a turning point. "There will no doubt
      be a cost to the economy in the short term," he said.

      "But let us make this a positive turning point for South Africa's use of
      electricity in the longer term. We have become accustomed to using
      electricity very inefficiently and in a manner that is environmentally

      Zuma said the need for an effective planning centre within government
      was made even clearer by the electricity failure, as this problem was
      clearly a failure of planning in the late 1990s, and he noted that the
      ANC had called for the creation of an institutional centre for
      government-wide economic planning, and uniform and high entrance
      requirements for the recruitment of public servants. - I-Net Bridge


      Business Report

      Zuma's WEF statements raise alarms for the Left
      February 1, 2008

      By Terry Bell

      That ANC president Jacob Zuma used the opportunity of the annual World
      Economic Forum (WEF) - which he described as "fabulous" - to underline
      yet again that there would be no change in the government's economic
      policy orientation, has caused considerable consternation in the ranks
      of his supporters in Cosatu.

      This is because the WEF was the forum where the ANC's long-held
      interventionist and demand-led policies were first fudged in 1994.

      The original macroeconomic framework, designed by the ANC's
      macroeconomic research group, was dumped by then president Nelson
      Mandela in the Swiss resort of Davos.

      But the unions picked it up and, in 1996, produced their social equity
      document months ahead of the government's supply-side, "trickle down"
      macroeconomic strategy proposals made within Gear.

      There seems to have existed some perhaps naive hope that Zuma, perceived
      by many as a harbinger of a "turn to the Left" in the ANC, would at
      least hint at a change in Gear when speaking in Davos.

      But his praise for finance minister Trevor Manual and the claimed
      economic achievements of government policies have seriously undermined
      such hope.

      Zuma made his "no change" statements in Davos at a time when the
      International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), to which South Africa's
      union federations are affiliated, issued a scathing attack on such
      policies. To ITUC president Sharon Burrow these statements, and their
      consequences, were "the gorilla in the living room of globalisation".

      She noted: "A massive rip-off of wealth is taking place, with a tiny
      cohort of the world's richest people creaming off vast amounts of money
      while incomes for the great bulk of the world's population are
      stagnating or falling."

      That "tiny cohort", of course, is made up of the members of the WEF.
      According to its own literature, members of the forum comprise 1 000 of
      the world's top companies "across all sectors".

      Set up in 1971 by Swiss billionaire Klaus Schwab, it is a club of the
      super-rich, which stages an annual circus where governments, politicians
      and other leaders may be bribed, bullied and flattered into pursuing
      policies that favour big business.

      To quote economist John Maynard Keynes, this is a venue that seems to
      promote the "extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the
      nastiest of motives will somehow work for the benefit of us all".

      But that is hardly how it appears. Under the slogan of "improving the
      state of the world", media personalities, film and pop stars decorate
      the event, ostensibly to deal with crises that unions maintain are
      caused largely by the event's very sponsors.

      However, it says something about the state of the world that a club of
      the super-rich has come to be regarded as the prime venue for discussing
      and deciding the shape of global, regional and industrial agendas.

      At this year's WEF, the ITUC issued an official statement bewailing the
      fact that the losers in the global marketplace were "the workers ... and
      not the bailed-out bankers and financiers who triggered the crisis".

      What the statement could have said, but did not, was that the very
      bankers, financiers and companies the ITUC blamed for creating the
      current economic crisis were its hosts: the members of the WEF. But
      then, perhaps, it did not wish to seem churlish by biting the hands that
      fed it so lavishly at Davos.

      This seems to be the only hope - and a faint one at that - for concerned
      Zuma supporters to cling to.
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