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1999

UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

GEAR AS “NON-NEGOTIABLE”?

STATEMENT ISSUED BY ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK as ACTING NATIONAL SECRETARY

Addressing a Workers’ Day celebration on Saturday, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela spoke of the weaknesses in the GEAR policy that needed to be corrected.  This is a rather curious statement, considering that quite recently (1998 budget time) we heard Trevor Manuel refer to GEAR as the government’s “fundamental” policy.  At about the same time, President Mandela made the statement that GEAR is “non-negotiable”.  As recently as 
17 April, 1999, a statement appeared in the Saturday Star in which Mr. Manuel responded to a survey, which found that South Africans prefer that the government create an environment in which the private sector can create wealth and job opportunities rather than do it themselves, by saying that these findings vindicated GEAR.

Now that election time is around the corner and Mr. Shilowa has been named the ANC candidate for the Gauteng premiereship, GEAR is suddenly being questioned by Ms. Madikizela-Mandela. Even more mysterious is the fact that the name of the macro-economic policy does not appear even once in the ANC manifesto.

COSATU has criticised GEAR sharply.  Shilowa has referred to it as the “reverse gear” of government policy.  Is the ANC manifesto silent on this “fundamental policy” because its alliance partner’s views have prevailed, or is it because the ANC is hiding its true agenda from the voters?  Is this why GEAR has not been properly implemented?

The ANC government must come clear on its position so that voters can make an informed decision on June 2nd.  An “open and democratic society”, as required by our Constitution, can not exist in a country where the government is intentionally so evasive about such crucial policy issues.  We must have transparency.

Enquiries:
Ms Annelizé van Wyk
Acting National Secretary

03 May, 1999

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