The period after Covid-19 should be seen as an opportunity to restructure the economy, says Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
On Tuesday, she spoke at an online session of the National Council of Provinces (NRP) asking her for her statement in April that a “class suicide” should take place in South Africa to bring about structural change.
George Michalakis, DA MP, wanted to know from Dlamini-Zuma whether she really thought the pandemic was a good time to drive a “Marxist agenda”. He contacted Dlamini-Zuma shortly thereafter as he said he did not fully answer his question.
Sylvia Lucas, deputy chair of the NRP, and several MPs dismissed Michalakis’s question as a political statement because he wanted to include Dlamini-Zuma under “what class” should the suicide take place.
Dlamini-Zuma did say that post-Covid-19 is an opportunity to press the “reset button”.
“We cannot waste a good crisis. We are talking here about every district that needs to have an active economy. The decentralization of the economy, the widening of the ownership of the economy and the transformation of the structure of the economy must take place. “
In the process, many of the deficiencies in, among others, infrastructure, agriculture and transport that were exposed during the pandemic must be addressed, says Dlamini-Zuma. According to her, women and the youth’s share in the economy must be specifically looked at.
Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa announced in April that the government will embark on a process of radical economic transformation as part of the reconstruction phase of Covid-19. However, it is unclear exactly what he means by this.
He did say that it should be easier to do business and that every township should have a living economy.
Dlamini-Zuma also spoke on Tuesday about the issue of movement between provinces, which is generally banned under disaster management regulations.
“If you look at where the most infections are, it’s in the economic centers. If interprovincial movement is allowed for everyone, the virus will spread much faster to provinces where there are few infections. ”
She says only funerals, affairs and essential services can still be traveled between provinces.
“It is not good to limit inter-provincial travel, but I think we have no choice at this stage.”