PRETORIA: The Presidency on Tuesday, 16 October 2012, said it had not received a request from Western Cape Premier Helen Zille regarding her wish to undertake a debate with President Jacob Zuma on the state of the economy.
"The Presidency has received media enquiries relating to a statement issued by Zille about her wish to undertake a debate with the President of the Republic on the state of the economy. We have not received the said request.
"However, we wish to point out that President Zuma is currently working with key stakeholders on the state of the economy, under the auspices of the Presidency High Level Dialogue on the Economy," said the Presidency.
The high level meeting took place last Friday, bringing together the leadership of Business Unity SA, Black Business Council, labour unions Cosatu, Fedusa and Nactu as well as the representatives of the community sector.
The parties will reconvene on October 17 for further discussions, the outcome of which will help leaders formulate a joint response that will enable the country to deal with the current global economic downturn and also the recent economic challenges inside the country, including strikes and the overall challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
"The outcome of the meeting will be communicated publicly. The President is optimistic that this meeting will find solutions in the same way that a similar meeting assisted the country to cushion the economy and minimise job losses during the 2009 recession," said the Presidency.
The high office and government will focus on "making a success of the work of the High Level Dialogue," it added.
"While we encourage all South Africans to freely express their views, the Presidency sees no need to engage in any exercise that diverts attention from getting stakeholders to work together."