South Africa must not take future growth performance for granted, Raymond Parsons of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) said on Wednesday.
He was addressing the first session of the South African Economics Seminar in Johannesburg on the theme "The Economic and Business Environment in SA".
Parsons cautioned that although the South African economy was in many ways bigger, stronger and better than in 1994, "the economy is not on 'cruise control' or 'automatic pilot' - and future growth performance must not be taken for granted".
He added that central to raising the rate of growth in South Africa and achieving a fairer society had much to do with strengthening state capacity where it mattered, or otherwise devising new and innovative mechanisms to ensure effective delivery.
Policies did matter, but so did the institutions and mechanisms through which they were approved and implemented, he said.
A strong delivery culture needed to be developed and embedded in South Africa's public sector if the goals of AsgiSA were to be achieved.
Turning to the role of business, Parsons said that with a watershed general election pending in 2009, business should accept that the economic and political future of the country was too important to be left only to the politicians.
"Business should in a structured way develop its own vision of the future, drawing on experience to date and on research already done on preferred economic options."
Business needed to help South Africa respond constructively to the socio-economic challenges of the next few years, Parsons said.
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