Statement of Deputy President Thabo
Mbeki at the National Assembly, Cape Town 14 June 1996
The National Assembly is about to begin its debate
on the budget of our Minister of Finance.
It had seemed right that before the Honourable Minister
makes his remarks, we should say something about the
broader framework which encompasses the important announcements
he will make.
That broader framework is the Reconstruction and Development
Programme. This remains the policy anchor on which all
government programmes have been and will continue to
As this House knows, the Reconstruction and Development
Programme is about the fundamental transformation of
our society in all its aspects.
It has to do with the construction of a truly democratic,
non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous and stable South
Africa positioned within the rest of the world community
not as the pariah of the past but as a responsible international
citizen and an example of what a people-centred society
The RDP is therefore not a conglomeration of particular
projects, but an integrated and sustainable vision for
the creation of the post-apartheid society for which
so many of our people sacrificed everything, including
Its abiding feature is revolutionary change. Its ethos
is an all-pervasive optimism for a better life for all
The vision it spelt out challenged all of us as South
Africans, within government, the private and the non-governmental
sectors to address five critical areas, namely:
meeting the basic needs of the people;
developing our human resources;
building the economy;
democratising the state and society; and,
implementing programmes to achieve these objectives.
Members are aware that in February of this year, the
Intergovernmental Forum, bringing together central and
provincial governments, and following its meeting in
November 1995, met here in Cape Town to discuss a growth
and development strategy for the accomplishment of the
vision spelt out in the Reconstruction and Development
At that February meeting this is what we said:
"The National Growth and Development Strategy
will take the RDP forward by setting out concrete steps
that will accelerate growth and development and hence
reach our targets of reducing poverty, increasing employment
and improving the quality of life of our people."
Earlier in the same speech we pointed out that "The
draft before (the Forum) must also be viewed as an elaboration
of the RDP base document and not its substitute."
Among other things and to give concrete expression
to the vision contained in the RDP, that draft spoke
of a sustained annual growth rate of the Gross Domestic
Product of at least 6 per cent by the year 2 000 and
the creation, annually, of between 300,000 and 500,000
new employment opportunities by the end of this century.
In addition, it identified other areas of focus including:
national crime prevention to secure life and property;
a system of social security and social development;
investment in the social and economic infrastructure;
restructuring the public sector and the state; and,
investing in people for human resource development.
On the occasion of the assembly of the Intergovernmental
Forum 4 months ago, we indicated that we would be reporting
to the nation and government on work done at various
times during the course of this year.
The debate today provides an appropriate occasion for
us to report on work done in the elaboration of the
macro-economic framework that both provides the perimeters
of all our future socio-economic work and will underpin
the key pillars of our strategy.
Today, the Minister of Finance, having been mandated
to lead our work on this element of our growth and development
strategy for the implementation of the RDP, will present
the government's macro-economic policy.
This policy is the central compass which will guide
all other sectoral growth and development programmes
of the government aimed at achieving the objectives
of the RDP.
As government, we are confident that the policy is
right and that both this parliament and our social partners
will join us in its implementation.
We must also make the point that, while conscious of
the impatience of many, including our own, for the government
to pronounce itself on many economic questions, we have
sought to make certain that what we would say would
be scientifically substantiated, based on concrete reality
and therefore realisable.
We have therefore and within the confines of reason
and our national capabilities, chosen to make haste
slowly rather than hasten to earn ephemeral accolades.
It is also important to point out to this House that
since the February meeting to which we have referred,
government has further developed the other aspects of
our growth and development strategy on the same basis
of objectivity in the detail and boldness in the determination.
We have worked and are working on the national infrastructure
investment framework together with our partners in the
For the first time in our history, both the public
and the private sectors have, within a structured and
implementable framework, agreed to work together to
plan, finance and undertake municipal and other infrastructure
development in new ways.
The report covering this area will be published soon.
One of the most concrete manifestations of this private-public
partnership, which also impacts positively on Southern
African cooperation, is the Maputo Development Corridor.
Similarly, we are convinced that we will make decisive
progress in investment in the critical area of the telecommunications
As part of the strategy of growth and development for
the implementation of the RDP, government has also approved
and announced the National Crime Prevention Strategy
aimed at the critically important objectives of combating
and the preventing crime, a matter which this House
discussed extensively only yesterday, during the Justice
The Comprehensive Labour Market Commission appointed
by the President to investigate the crucial matter of
labour market policy also submitted its Report to the
the findings of this Commission and the policy decisions
that will derive from its Report will be another important
element in our growth and development strategy.
The Report contains important policy recommendations,
including matters such as the coordination of macro-economic
and industrial policies with labour market policy as
well as labour market reform.
It places emphasis on economic growth and development
with job creation - all of which are matters of central
importance to the achievement of the objectives of the
The major policy guidelines for the restructuring of
the public service have already been announced and detailed
work in this regard is taking place under the leadership
of the Minister for the Public Service and Administration.
The process of the restructuring of state assets is
going ahead. In this regard, I must make this clear
that government will not be stamp.