More consistent engagement through regular meetings at NEDLAC with the Minister and Deputy Minister.
Review the entire industrial strategy to assess its likely impact on employment creation and the distribution of income and wealth. If it proves to be inadequate, it should be modified to improve the outcome.
Priority areas include:
Fast-tracking the process to identify labour-absorbing areas. These areas should include light industry (clothing, plastics, appliances, food processing, repairs) as well as the public services, personal services, retail and construction. Land reform is clearly a critical component.
Developing positions on trade that will back up the industrial policy in time to influence the current round of negotiations.
Developing practical proposals to ensure that the proposed increase in government investment and the broad-based BEE Codes do more to support sustainable employment creation as well as more equitable income distribution and ownership of productive assets.
Developing an understanding of SA investment in the rest of Africa, and how it can do more to contribute to sustainable development.
The paper talks as if the high rand is unavoidable. That means we are not serious about industrialisation. The high rand is caused by inflows of “hot money” with a potentially serious destabilising impact.
There are ways to address this; we need to discuss them urgently.
The proposed forums are thoroughly inadequate to ensure the re-orientation of government programmes to support employment-creating growth. Successful industrial strategies are characterised by strict co-ordination of state activities around core national priorities backed by stakeholder participation and mobilisation. We need urgently to design practical systems:
To ensure that all new government programmes, without exception, are measured before implementation against the ASGI-SA targets;
To require all levels of government to align as far as possible with ASGI-SA strategies, with the industrial policy as part of ASGI-SA;
To use NEDLAC as the key mechanism for consultation on cross-cutting industrial policy issues; and
To develop inclusive and consistent processes for sector strategies, which give a voice to all stakeholders – not just business. A concern here is that the BEE Charters are generally more effective, inclusive and binding than the CSPs. How can they be made a tool of industrial policy, rather than a separate process with rather different objectives?
This is an edited version of the paper Cosatu presented to Nedlac in June 2006