Economic growth, affirming social contract SA's top priorities

Staff Writer | May 09, 2019
The Centre for Unity in Diversity, a unit of the FW de Klerk Foundation, says the new government must 'put the country first' and make growing the economy its primary objective.

Putting South Africa first will require the new ANC government to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to corruption and state capture, and, “above all, prize the conditions that will lead to economic growth”.

So says Zohra Dawood, director of the F W de Klerk Foundation’s Centre for Unity in Diversity.

In a statement headlined ‘The election fight is over, let reconstruction and cohesion commence’, she said economic growth “will have a concomitant effect on every sector and facet of life”. 

Ms Dawood added: “It is going to require an abundance of maturity and commitment to put country first when final results are announced on Saturday 11 May.

“An issue of great concern and one requiring as much effort as the threats to our democracy outlined above, is that of mending the social contract in South Africa. In a best-case scenario, 25 years of democracy would have ensured great dividends in terms of wealth creation, quality of education, public healthcare, responsive government and governance, all of which would have ensured a collective future for all the country’s citizens. Alas, the country is teetering on the edge. Race relations are frayed, mistrust and cynicism are increasing and, as was evident from election slogans, the foundations of our constitutional democracy are being questioned.”

She added: “A herculean task lies ahead for not just the ruling party in the 6thParliament but all political parties, to act with maturity to reconstruct the foundations of the country that have been damaged. While election manifestos varied in assertions and promises, few of these will manifest and it is now incumbent on all parties, including the governing party, to work collectively to formulate a game-plan for tackling the most serious of issues confronting the country. Five years is a long time to begin the process of remedial action.”

Ms Dawood said the notion of developing a social contract was not new to South Africa, where, in the 1990s, “unity, non-racialism, and social and economic development were at the core of what bound us together”.

“While the contract has withered, there remains much left to renew and repair. This is the key message for the new government that will sit in the 6thParliament. The urgency of the task cannot be over-stated.”

In recent months, the IRR has emphasised the importance of uniting the middle of moderate, sensible South Africans as a precondition to realising the country’s potential as a free, open and prosperous society.


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