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The framework agreement for growth and development and social dialogue in the Western Cape

Provincial Development Council


December 2004

Posted with permission of the Western Cape Provincial Development Council.
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Just over a year ago, we came together for the first time to look for a way forward for our province. It has been an extremely busy year, and a year in which a great deal of progress has been made in advancing our vision for the Western Cape.

What is that vision? First and foremost, it is the vision of the Western Cape as a home for all who live and work here. This is no idle vision, but one that must be pursued with energy and clothed in practicality.

What does building a home for all really mean for us? It means transforming the deep social divisions into a functional diversity. It means we cannot continue to pay lip service to unity, while allowing those who have always lived on the margins to remain the outcasts of society. And it means making vigorous efforts to find shared solutions to overcoming the real problems that face this province.

In doing so, we take up arms against the three and a half centuries of political and social oppression and racism that has characterized our past. We all carry the scars of slavery and colonialism, of a political and social system that made outcasts of so many and centred privilege in so few.

As I have said, creating a home for all is no idle vision, and we do not intend to remain idle in working towards its realization.

This Summit has been called to look at one of the key foundations of this vision - the economic growth and development that will begin to level the playing fields in our province. iKapa elihlumayo is a practical strategy for change - a strategy that describes how we will achieve growth, development and prosperity through strategic interventions in the medium to long term. iKapa elihlumayo is about hard choices and committed cooperation. It will happen only if we remain focused on the urgencies that face our province.

As all of you here know, iKapa elihlumayo depends on an active partnership between all the influential players in this province. The PGDS is the practical workshop, if you like, in which we spell out our intentions, report on progress and discuss ways of bringing them to fruition. It is the locus of our common vision as social partners; the crucible in which the social chemistry of our province is forged; the platform from which we conduct the social dialogue that ensure that we all move together from a position of real strength and agreement.

Social dialogue means that we bring together the key players and discuss, objectively and without rancour, how we are going to achieve our vision. It implies certain ground rules or rules of engagement that call on us all to listen as carefully as we speak out, and to make real progress in furthering the partnerships we forge here.

Social dialogue does not call for orations or dramatic tactics. It asks of all of us that we come together with a vision for growth and development that will benefit us all.

Social dialogue binds us together to take responsibility for reaching the goals we set for ourselves - all in our unique spheres of influence.

Social dialogue does not occur in a vacuum. It demands of us that we respond to the global enterprise in which we all live and work, with all its faults and failures. It means taking what is good and minimizing what is bad. And it means coming up with and applying local solutions to globalization. We need to learn to think globally and act locally. We need to take the high road to the future to ensure that we survive and flourish as a people.

iKapa elihlumayo is our pathfinder. iKapa elihlumayo is the route map we have chosen to take us forward. It is a strategy premised on growth with equity and sustainable development - growth that takes into account the deep divisions and inequality in our province and acts dynamically towards their elimination.

One of the great debates in this country - as elsewhere - is about how we achieve growth, growth that provides real benefits and lasting solutions to those who need it.

There are three basic models for growth.

The first is the neo-liberal model that benefits only the already privileged. This model prescribes the narrow pursuit of growth in GDP in which the role of the state is reduced to being a handmaiden of capital. And consequently the state has no role in ensuring the equitable distribution of the benefits of growth. This mindset is preoccupied with exports, flexible labour markets and attracting mobile investments. It assumes that GDP growth is enough to address social and environmental costs as the poor will benefit from the trickle down. It is precisely this model that brought about events in Argentina, where the gap between rich and poor caused the implosion of Argentinian society.

The second is the populist approach, which is characteristically focused on the short-term without adequate emphasis on long-term education and skills and infrastructure. The populist approach is more focused on maintaining political allegiance than on giving leadership for long term sustainable development. A populist approach tends to unravel over a relatively long period of time: for example, if we look at Zimbabwe, the first decade was about responding to popular demands without fundamentally transforming the means and relations of production. This is possible when a country is cash-flushed with aid and loans, and the initial benefits to the poor are tangible, and free education, free health and services appear to be guaranteed. It is when the sources of capital later dry up and become conditional that the populist bubble bursts and the absence of sound macroeconomic strategy and investment in the sustainable guarantors of growth become apparent.

The third model is shared growth which, with vision and through strategic interventions, brings real benefits to the poor without killing the goose. The shared growth path recognizes the importance of macro economic stability as the precondition for a strategic approach to broad-based economic development. A shared growth path is fundamentally premised on the simultaneous development of people, infrastructure and appropriate technology. The role of the state is to facilitate such investments and to drive them, while ensuring actively redistributive mechanism which impact positively on the poor through a combination of empowerment, employment education and social delivery. The state provides this leadership on the basis of a sustainable development philosophy.

I have said that we do not work in a vacuum, and our chosen path will not be negotiated without setbacks. We need to come to terms with the very real problems of poverty and inequity in our province by making sure that our growth path deals strategically with these issues. Growth paths are contested terrain. And when we say that we have selected a shared growth path, we do so with the understanding that the neo-liberal path remains globally hegemonic.

It is also important that we do not throw up our hands when we meet with disaster and what some call ‘acts of God’. The drought that threatens our province means that we need to find real remedies and solutions for the millions who are its victims. We cannot make it rain, and we cannot prevent floods, but we need to take steps at the local level to ensure the continued survival of those who bear the brunt of these weather conditions.

We also need to remain aware of and participate in the global conversation about weather patterns and what needs to be done globally to prevent the deterioration that has already set in. The Kyoto Protocol has all but failed. Like Tony Blair, we need to look for a renewed consensus to deal with climate change.

Shared growth depends on development that is sustainable - development and growth that can be maintained over time; that will result in long-term progress and prosperity.
Shared growth is people-centred growth; growth that brings us together in unity of purpose and confidence in the future.

Shared growth must be unifying; it means looking at the whole picture and recognizing that, to use that time-honoured slogan, ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’.

In addition, shared growth must pursue the goals of spatial equity; analyzing the geographical and physical impediments to growth and redesigning our spatial environment in order to achieve greater economic and social inclusion.

In short, shared growth means that we all need to think outside the box; it means that we need to work out solutions and strategies that will create a new and prosperous life for all our citizens within the compass of our greater vision of a home for all.

Over the past year, I believe that we have indeed begun to make real inroads into transforming the divisive social and economic patterns of our past.

We have passed the key legislation we required to institutional social dialogue through the Provincial Development Council. We have identified key strategies and mechanisms to take forward the vision of iKapa elihlumayo. And, over the past year, we have begun to roll back the tide of three and a half centuries and begun to intervene positively and proactively in the lives of our people.

Having said this, I must stress that we still have a very long way to go. Ours is a long term vision, a sustainable vision that faces an awesome task. The pressures on us all are tremendous.
This Summit meets today to look at those pressures, measuring our successes and identifying our strategies and tasks for the coming year and beyond.

At the Cabinet Lekgotla in August last year, Cabinet looked at a scenario forecast of where we will be in ten years time.

By 2015 we will have developed a strong capacity to pick winning sectors. Existing sectors with strong growth potential will have been strengthened so that they can operate optimally from a global perspective. New sectors will have been established and are growing. Sectors in difficulty will have been repositioned so they can function in the new global markets. This will be the result of the shared growth path we embark upon now.

Second, we will review our employment market. By 2015, 30 thousand enterprises will have been created, providing 400 thousand jobs and enskilling ten to twelve thousand enterepreneurs. This will be the result of the shared growth path we embark upon now.

By 2015, we will have achieved significant reductions of core unemployed through unconventional employment (such as public works programmes), and we anticipate that unemployment will have dropped to under 20 percent. This will be the result of the shared growth path we embark upon now.

Today we make a commitment to ensure the achievement of these goals through developing the appropriate skills that will make our labour force that will make our labour force highly attractive to global manufacturing and service sector investors.

On the basis of the commitments we make today, and the responsibilities we take today, these targets will be achieved.

This GDS process is instrumental in achieving these ambitious yet realistic targets for 2015; it is also this is our provincial contribution towards the national and African effort to achieve the millennium development goals of 2014.

But today, in 2005, we also need to include in our strategies the third and local sphere of government. As the prime agents for delivery on the ground, we need, as President Mbeki has said, to “engage in a sustained campaign to build local government’s developmental and democratic capacity”. Amongst other things, he announced the following goals for the year:
  • Popularising ward committees, School Governing Bodies, Community Policing Forums and other mechanisms to promote democratic participation at local level;

  • Intensifying efforts to roll-out and capacitate community development workers, in order to serve and mobilise people;

  • Building cooperatives, Community Based Organisations and other mechanisms, and mobilising the rest of civil society to involve the people in the process of reconstruction and development; and,

  • Strengthening popular involvement in the development programmes that are focused on the nodal areas identified by the Integrated and Sustainable Rural Development and Urban Renewal Programmes.
In line with our holistic vision for government in the Western Cape, we need to keep the critical function of local government in mind at all times. It is imperative that we focus our energies on achieving these national objectives within the framework of sustainable growth and development in our province. This, indeed, is a vital component of our growth and development strategy.

We cannot afford to fail. We cannot afford to despair. We cannot afford to lose our way on the path to iKapa elihlumayo. Nor can we ever lose sight of our vision of a better and a shared life for all in the Western Cape.

I commend you all on the work you have done over the past year and look forward to continued dialogue with all of you in the year to come.

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