No radical changes in South Africa, investors told
INVESTORS looking at South Africa can be assured that there will be no radical changes in the country’s economic policy after its first all-race elections this month, according to a senior South African diplomat.
Mr P. J. Botha, charge de affaires of the South African Embassy in Singapore, said yesterday the country’s major political parties – the National Party (NP) and the African National Congress (ANC) – were now agreed on economic matters.
“It has all been pre-arranged. Nothing is going to change,” he said in a discussion with local journalists at Times House.
Pro-apartheid whites and conservative blacks have voiced fears that the ANC will impose a socialist system if the leading black group is elected.
But Mr Botha dismissed suggestions that the country would nationalise its industries if the party won the April 26-28 elections.
He said the International Monetary Fund had accepted a document prepared by the political parties outlining South Africa’s economic policy for a year.
In the hour-long discussion, he stressed South Africa’s economic credentials.
“The economy is very lean and very strong,” he said, adding that inflation had dropped from 26 to 9 per cent.
South Africa was also going to become a “niche market” for countries in this region, he predicted.
Besides economic policy, the political parties had also reached consensus on most outstanding issues, and put together a Constitution, he stressed.
The South African Parliament adopted a new Constitution in December last year that gave blacks and whites equal political rights for the first time, ending 350 years of white domination.
It also eliminated the black homelands, bringing all of South Africa under one government.
Said Mr Botha: “The ANC and NP are closer now than the white parties have ever been between themselves … for the first time in the history of the South Africa, politicians are putting the country’s interests first.”