Government and companies agree working groups for a social pact

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (IGCS)

The South African government, trade unions and business representatives have agreed to form working groups that will aim to agree on a recovery plan for the country’s struggling economy.

Representatives of the National Council for Economic Development and Labor took the decision on Thursday evening to split into small groups to work on the elements of a so-called social pact – an agreement that President Cyril Ramaphosa said in February that he expected to be concluded within 100 days. He missed that deadline.

“There is no specific time frame, but we want the process to be completed before the state of the nation address that will be delivered by the president” in February, said Matthew Parks, the congressional coordinator of the Congress of South African trade unions, in an interview.

Ramaphosa said last February that by bringing together government, business, labor and civil society, he hopes to chart the way forward for an economy that has languished for more than a decade. Unemployment is near record highs, sovereign debt is climbing and a litany of corruption scandals has eroded trust in government.

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