- ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa promises seamless macro-economic policy transition (11/09/08) Cameraperson: Lizelle Cronje; Editing: Darlene Creamer (9.69 MB)
Speaking at a business breakfast organised jointly by the French and Nordic chambers of commerce in South Africa, Phosa also insisted that it was the ANC rather than its left-leaning alliance partners, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), that would ultimately determine the new government's economic policies.
Phosa, who is one of the so-called ‘top-six' in the post-Polokwane ANC leadership structures, was speaking on the same day as South Africa's leading financial daily, the Business Day, was running a front-page story suggesting that the SACP was proposing an overhaul of the role of the National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank.
Both SACP and Cosatu were known to be unhappy with the tight fiscal and monetary policies overseen by Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni, having continuously opposed the retention of both the Budget surplus and the policy of inflation targeting.
Phosa said that, while the ANC had respect for the views held by other sectors within the alliance, the ANC was not "communist" and was prepared to make the necessary compromises, as it had in 1994 under former President Nelson Mandela's leadership, in the interest of South Africa and continued economic growth.
"We made those compromises very consciously to ensure that we made the macroeconomic framework what it is," Phosa added, noting that the ANC had been criticised along the way, even to the point of being called a "sell-out".
Making continual reference to the spirit of "compromise", "balance" and "nation building" that epitomised the Mandela era, Phosa stressed that "we (the ANC) have our views too, and we have got the business of running that country [to consider]", adding that "Cosatu is Cosatu, and the ANC is the ANC."
But he also stressed that it was not hostile to the views held by either the SACP or Cosatu and would continue to talk with its partners to "convince one another".
"At the moment, as to where we stand, there should be no uncertainty. The ANC policy is on the record," Phosa stressed. But he refused to be drawn directly into the inflation-targeting debate, quipping that he was "not qualified" to do so.
An economics summit is scheduled for October, where the ANC and its allies were expected to enter a robust debate on the future trajectory of South Africa's post-Mbeki economic policies.