We All - Including Cosatu - Need to Be Open to Innovation

Cape Times (South Africa), May 4, 2012 | Go to article overview

We All - Including Cosatu - Need to Be Open to Innovation


Tony Ehrenreich's letter, "Province's economic plan discriminates and will fail" (Cape Times, May 3), is a classic illustration of someone who, in his eagerness to jump to conclusions without checking the facts, gets it wrong.

He is wrong on how the Economic Development Partnership will be structured. He is wrong on how the EDP board will be constituted. He is wrong on the role of funders. He is wrong on the character and purpose of the EDP.

Perhaps if Ehrenreich had the good grace to listen and engage, discuss and debate, he would realise that his views about the EDP are based on wrong assumptions and erroneous conclusions. But then he must explain why Cosatu is the only organisation in the Western Cape, out of countless organisations that we have met over the past 15 months, that was not prepared to sit down and genuinely engage with the EDP process. It is precisely through dialogue with a diverse range of organisations that the EDP concept has evolved, matured and changed over time.

Allow me to set the record straight on how the EDP is structured.

It is a voluntary, independent, non-partisan organisation that will focus on building effective partnerships for inclusive growth.

Membership is open to all organisations that constitute the Western Cape economic delivery system, drawn from 12 categories of potential members. These include the government and government agencies, local authorities, industry associations and sector development agencies, knowledge-based institutions, training and skills development organisations, NGOs, community-based organisations and social movements, local economic development partnerships, business associations, trade unions and professional associations.

Hardly a "gathering of the beneficiaries of apartheid", as Ehrenreich claims.

There is one class of membership; all members will have equal status. There is no special position for the government, or business, or funders. The provincial government does not even have a guaranteed seat on the board. Nor do business organisations. There is no "discrimination based on income", as Ehrenreich surmises.

The EDP board will be constituted through a process of nominations from member organisations. Board members will be appointed by an independent selection committee made up of seven respected leaders in the Western Cape. …

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