New govt to study S’pore economy and constitution

THE new South African government will send official teams to Singapore to study its economic and constitutional structure, a top African National Congress (ANC) official has said.

The move follows visits by officials from the previous administration and the ANC earlier this year to see how countries such as Singapore and Malaysia formulated national policies in a multi-racial society, said Mr Ismail Coovadia, the ANC’s chief representative to Singapore and Malaysia.

He was speaking on Tuesday at a joint press conference with Mr P. J. Botha, the charge d’affaires of the South African Embassy in Singapore.

Mr Coovadia acknowledged that the new government had to tackle the country’s many problems and could look to Singapore for solutions.

Housing, education, health and restructuring the civil service were the key areas to be worked on. It also had to create 2 1/2 million jobs.

The ANC has estimated that these “reconstruction” programmes would cost US$12 billion (S$19 billion).

“We will need to put into place mechanisms such as those in Singapore and Malaysia that will help us redress the imbalances in society. It seems to have worked well in these countries,” he said.

Mr Botha said the South African government could learn more from Singapore’s economic policies. Johannesburg would study closely Singapore’s “targeted approach” of attracting multinational corporations and industries in the 60s, he said.

“Singapore’s experience is not a blueprint for South Africa. The make-up of our societies are entirely different.

“But there are certain things we can study. We feel that we should not re-invent the wheel when there are success areas we can follow,” he said.

Mr Coovadia said that the ANC had been sending teams to visit Singapore ministries and statutory boards.

Sixteen ANC information officers also attended an intensive seven-week media training course conducted last year by Singapore Press Holdings, the publisher of The Straits Times and other newspapers.

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