Tripartite Alliance Summit
Consolidated Report of Commission Discussions on Accelerating Growth & Development
6 April, 2002
It was agreed that the discussion of economic policy provided by the Summit was a historic opportunity. The Summit gave the opportunity for the Alliance to lead the country forward. This is an important step in our joint objective to accelerate growth and development.
The Summit considered a discussion document. There is general agreement that the document, “Accelerating Growth and Development” (see document 5) constitutes a basis for moving forward and the Summit raised a number of issues that are reported on here. We have agreed the processes to take these issues forward toward a Growth and Development Summit.
Comprehensive discussions were held in the commissions, and a report on these dealt with in the Plenary. The six commissions dealt with different matters, but all of them addressed four common questions.
In the section on general conclusions below, we summarise the responses of the commissions to the four common questions put to them. Secondly we identify important areas of agreement and further debate that arose in the commissions.
Following the conclusion of commission discussions, the Summit considered and endorsed the following general conclusions in plenary:
There is general agreement that the document ‘Accelerating Growth and Development’ (see document 5) constitutes a basis for moving forward. A number of commissions identified areas where the analysis needed to be strengthened. Particularly important is the extent and nature of the unemployment crisis and the need for decent work as a focus of policy. All commissions felt that this was not adequately addressed in the document and needs to be elaborated. Other matters raised are set out below. The proposals contained generally form a basis to move forward. The headings in Appendix One of the Document (A Summary of Government’s Microeconomic Reform Programme) define the issues to be dealt with. These and additional issues that can be raised require further discussion as do the issues raised by COSATU in Appendix Two to the discussion document.
There was agreement on the need for a Growth and Development Summit (GDS). The commissions supported the areas for the summit to address and the process toward it that is outlined is acceptable. The Summit agreed on the need for a process for ongoing Alliance discussions, in order to develop a common Alliance position prior to the GDS. In addition, the Alliance should mobilise the broadest range of social forces in support of its position. At the point where the formal engagement with business, labour and communities begins the process would be dealt with by government through NEDLAC.
FURTHER AREAS OF AGREEMENT
The Summit discussed and endorsed the following further areas of agreement.
The need to develop more comprehensive strategies for employment creation was emphasised. These need to be supported by more detailed analysis of the patterns of employment, job losses, and opportunities for job creation.
It was agreed that the ILO’s concept of decent work should be integrated by concrete actions into our programme to accelerate growth and development.
Short-term programmes of employment creation must be intensified.
There is general agreement on the need to mobilise resources in the retirement industry, the life assurance industry, and other forms of savings, towards
Provision of social and economic infrastructure, and
Labour-absorbing economic activities.
Towards this end, many proposals such as prescribed assets and targeted investments were tabled. However, this is a matter that will need to be taken forward to define the mechanism to do this effectively. There was general agreement that the structure of the financial sector is in need of transformation.
Skills and human resource development
There is agreement on the need to intensify human resource development.
In the area of skills, the need to increase participation and the effective mobilisation of the SETAs was stressed.
There is a compelling need to build a strong co-operative movement, as a means of promoting employment, redistribution and local and community empowerment. It is therefore important that the Alliance should take a leading role in promoting such a movement.
Government should create a facilitative and supportive environment for the growth of co-operatives.
Spatial and local economic development
It was agreed that high priority be given to the acceleration of the implementation of policy on urban, rural and local economic development strategies. It is this that will have an immediate and direct impact on the lives of our people.
The Summit endorsed the active engagement by the Alliance and government, to bring about a more equitable global social order. This would enhance and support accelerated growth and development for the South.
To this end, our engagements within and with the IMF, World Bank, WTO, ILO, and UN, and our inputs into the WSSD, should be directed to a concrete programme of action to achieve the goal of global equity.
The Summit stressed the challenge of mainstreaming gender into all aspects of our growth and development strategy, since women often are the most severely affected by the poverty and inequality in our society, and can play a crucial role in accelerating growth and development.
AREAS OF FURTHER ANALUSIS AND POLICY CLARIFACATION
A number of additional areas were identified where joint work should be done. Among these are:
Role of and transformation of the state and developing the capacity to place it at the centre of economic development.
The nature of capital and its role in the transformation.
The informal sector
Some of the theoretical concepts and formulations in the document need to be more rigorous, need to be debated and a common expression found where possible.
- There is general agreement on the need to improve our statistics base and capacity to evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of interventions.