NATIONAL NEWS - In a statement on Tuesday evening, the EFF cautiously welcomed the economic stimulus package announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier.
Their initial reactions included a demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as medical masks to be locally manufactured instead of imported from abroad, especially China. They called on the Industrial Development Corporation and other state-owned institutions to invest in the capacity to produce PPE.
They had praise for the increase in social grants and introduction of a basic income grant for the unemployed, pointing out that they had been calling for at least a doubling in welfare spend since 2014. They wanted the state to go further than it just being a six-month intervention and asked for it to become institutionalised on a permanent basis beyond the Covid-19 crisis.
The EFF demanded that politicians be kept out of the food distribution chain to the needy, as there had already been too many examples of particularly councillors “stealing food meant for poor people”.
They called for the diversification of the food value chain in order to lower reliance on “predominantly white farmers … and multinational companies”.
Among other things they went on to express caution about the reopening of the economy and the lifting of lockdown regulations, warning that this should not be rushed “senselessly” so that “big business” could exploit people “to make huge profits”.
They added: “The EFF remains opposed to the consideration of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund as sources of the economic stimulus and relief package. The IMF and World Bank loans come with restrictive conditionalities, which will deprive South Africa of its fiscal and monetary policy sovereignty in future.”
They called for a comprehensive plan to be announced for how the country’s education calendar, from basic education to tertiary level, would be salvaged.
The party concluded with a call for the crisis to be used as an opportunity to shift the economy away from “white male minority control … monopolised in the control of few individuals”. They said there needed to be a change from black people being on the margins of “economic ownership and control”.