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08.03.2009 South Africa

No stimulus packages for South Africa: president


South Africa was not going to copy the United States' stimulus packages initiative, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe told business people in KwaZulu-Natal's KwaDukuza area on Saturday.

"Our response to the economic crisis must be home grown and not just copy stimulus packages of the U.S. Our problem is different," said Motlanthe.

He was responding to a question asked by KwaDukuza business people who wanted to know whether South Africa was going to bail out businesses hit by the economic down turn.

The U.S. government recently approved multi-billion dollars stimulus packages to rescue its economy from further crumbling into serious financial doldrums.

To deal with the issue of massive unemployment exacerbated by retrenchments caused by the economic crisis, Motlanthe said the South African government was going to invest in infrastructure and also improve the quality of education.

Government planned to invest in the construction of roads, clinics, schools and it expected the upcoming Confederation Cup this year and the soccer world cup next year to boost the economy, he said.

Motlanthe said South African banks were "doing fairly well" compared to the ones in other countries because of the country's sound credit control regulations.

"We believe that our response to this global economic crisis must be around creating more decent jobs and investing in infrastructure. We must also see the opportunity in this crisis. We need to reposition our country and make it the investment of choice," said Motlanthe. One of the difficulties of dealing with the economic crisis was that although it had been declared that some countries were facing recession, the extent of the crisis was not clear yet, he said.

Before addressing business people, Motlanthe, who is also African National Congress (ANC) deputy president, conducted door- to-door campaigns in KwaDukuza where he encouraged people to vote for his party.

He told people he visited to demand better services from government, this would include marching against councillors from their own parties who did not perform their duties.

"You must refuse being treated with disdain. You must demand better services. You must not accept the second best. That is the only way we can do better."