Ramaphosa needs to pick up speed

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - OPINION -

WHEN Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa reached his 100 days mile­stone as cit­i­zen num­ber one, the as­sess­ment of his per­for­mance was that, while he was on the right track, he needed to do much more, with greater speed.

Re­cent news that South Africa had de­scended into a tech­ni­cal re­ces­sion means Ramaphosa has to act with even more de­ci­sive­ness, bold­ness, clar­ity and speed if he is to guide our coun­try away from the eco­nomic precipice it has been hov­er­ing above for years.

So much has changed and yet so much has re­mained the same since our as­sess­ment, ex­pressed in th­ese col­umns back in May.

Supra Mahumapelo is no longer the premier of the

North West; the lead­er­ship of many state-owned en­ter­prises has been over­hauled; a clean-up has be­gun in earnest in key arms of the state; and the state cap­ture com­mis­sion is up and run­ning.

But clut­ter still lies strewn all over the reg­u­la­tory land­scape at a time when in­vestors need pol­icy clar­ity and con­sis­tency. Our eco­nomic prob­lems con­tinue to sim­mer, bub­ble and back­fire al­most seven months af­ter his takeover.

Back in May, sov­er­eign credit rat­ings agency Stan­dard & Poor’s stated that it was suf­fi­ciently im­pressed with Ramaphosa’s stew­ard­ship to grant the coun­try a re­prieve amid real fears of a calami­tous down­grade.

Last week another rat­ings agency, Moody’s, slashed South Africa’s growth es­ti­mate from 1.5% to be­tween 0.7% and 1% fol­low­ing the re­ces­sion news.

The fa­tal­i­ties from the fire in Jo­han­nes­burg, the ex­plo­sion at a mu­ni­tions plant in the West­ern Cape and the mug­ging of a Bri­tish mu­si­cian in Dur­ban are re­minders of the deep crises in which our gov­ern­ment is still mired.

And re­cent reck­less talk and pro­pa­ganda around the com­plex land re­form de­bate has been do­ing a lot of dam­age to in­vestor con­fi­dence at a time when Ramaphosa was ratch­et­ing up his drive to as­sem­ble $100 bil­lion to boost our econ­omy.

Ow­ing to bad weather con­di­tions, Ramaphosa had to walk much more briskly dur­ing his KwaMashu visit at the week­end af­ter jet­ting back from the highly im­por­tant in­vest­ment cam­paign in China.

With the eco­nomic grey skies gath­er­ing above, he needs to walk even faster or even start run­ning to de­liver South Africa from dan­ger.

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