Economic development involves at least three distinctive clusters of activity – growth, development and inclusion. These need to be integrated into a single development framework: its not not ‘either/ or’, all are needed.
Our regional economic strategy needs to take the growth agenda more seriously. This is why the EDA will focus on improving the business and investment climate. At the same time, given the near-crisis levels of poverty, marginalisation, unemployment and inequality, we also need to expand and strengthen the economic inclusion agenda.
This will take leadership. It is proposed that the new Economic Development Agency (EDA) will be a leadership and partnership-based organisation, rather than a conventional public entity, that will coordinate and drive the regional economic agenda. This is based on the assumption that various economic partners can come together on the basis of a shared vision, common agenda and joint implementation plan.
The total lack of discipline on the part of SAMWU members today, and the unwillingness of labour leaders to be accountable for their actions, discredits their role in leading the inclusion agenda. The question is then: who is going to lead?
The Social Justice Coalition has shown how to provide disciplined leadership on issues such as safety and security and access to sanitation in informal settlements. Similarly, the Equal Education Campaign is leading an inclusive education agenda. The community in Khayelitsha are leading the safer neighbourhood design agenda through the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrade programme. There are many more examples throughout our city and region of communities and organisations leading the inclusion agenda through evidence-based strategies, the formation of cross-sector coalitions and partnerships, and disciplined action.
When will organised labour come to the party?