Call on business to help fight recession

ECONOMIC Development Minister Ebrahim Patel yesterday echoed ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe that the debate that blacks had been excluded from the economic cluster was "erroneous and retrogressive".

Patel was speaking at a Business Unity South Africa gathering where he had been invited to shed light on South Africa's response to the global economic crisis, his ministry's strategic priorities and the role of social dialogue in resolving national challenges.

He said organised business should help strengthen the government's response to the economic crisis.

The R2,4billion announced by President Jacob Zuma to train retrenched people, R787billion to be spent on infrastructural projects and the R2billion to be spent by the Industrial Development Corporation to assist distressed companies formed part of the government's strategy to fight the recession, he said.

Patel said the government would also place emphasis on reconstructing and designing industrial policy to ensure that unemployed people were converted into employed people.