‘SA’s tired of good talk’


The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Eric Naki – er­[email protected]­i­zen.co.za

The time for talk is long past. Cyril Ramaphosa must act now to stop the de­cline of South Africa, say pun­dits. They be­lieve po­ten­tial in­vestors are fed-up with the pres­i­dent’s pol­icy un­cer­tainty and never-end­ing mas­ter plans and fruit­less in­vest­ment sum­mits. The hon­ey­moon is over, they say.

The an­a­lysts says Ramaphosa needs to take ac­tion to ad­dress high un­em­ploy­ment and stag­nant eco­nomic growth and cor­rup­tion. They made some sug­ges­tions, in­clud­ing that he must an­nounce im­prove­ments in pol­icy co­her­ence, ex­pan­sion of en­ergy gen­er­a­tion sources, and in­no­va­tion in agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion – all of which will help grow the econ­omy and cre­ate jobs.

As Ramaphosa de­liv­ers his State of the Na­tion ad­dress (Sona) to­day, the ex­perts said he must act against the cul­prits re­spon­si­ble for state cap­ture, in­stead of com­plain­ing about the prob­lem. He must find ways to re­duce the high un­em­ploy­ment which stands at 29.1%, ad­dress the na­tional debt and en­sure cer­tainty of power sup­ply by Eskom or pro­vide al­ter­na­tive en­ergy sources that would guar­an­tee the fu­ture of their busi­nesses.

“The hon­ey­moon is over for Cyril, the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity and lo­cal busi­nesses are no longer im­pressed, they want to see tan­gi­ble ac­tions,” said po­lit­i­cal econ­o­mist Zamikhaya Maseti.

He ex­pressed dis­may that the fourth-quar­ter re­port showed no change in the un­em­ploy­ment rate and said the coun­try needed to be more in­no­va­tive to grow the econ­omy in all sec­tors.

Maseti said Ramaphosa must move away from is­su­ing more mas­ter plans and, in­stead, in­tro­duce ac­tion plans to turn around the econ­omy and de­liver ser­vices. He urged him to dis­play de­ci­sive­ness and the de­ter­mi­na­tion to act.

“Cyril must end this pol­icy fa­tigue,” he said.

Po­lit­i­cal econ­o­mist Daniel Silke said what­ever Ramaphosa came up with in terms of plan­ning would “come to naught any­way”. “We don’t want to hear at all about state cap­ture and the com­mis­sions of in­quiry. We want to see ac­tion.

“Ramaphosa must make an ex­am­ple with a high-pro­file ar­rest to show that ac­tion is be­ing taken to en­sure cleaner gov­er­nance. The words are good but it’s ac­tion that must match the words,” Silke said.

He said the pres­i­dent had more lat­i­tude for talk and prom­ises in the last two Sonas. Since then, though, he had noth­ing to show, be­cause GDP lev­els re­mained slug­gish while the na­tional debt had in­creased.

“We are tired of the good talk, it’s time for ac­tion,” Silke said.

The pres­i­dent must also show a greater will­ing­ness to al­low the pri­vate sec­tor to play a role in ser­vice de­liv­ery and par­tic­u­larly in state-owned en­ter­prises.

Maseti sug­gested SA must in­tro­duce in­no­va­tion in all sec­tors of the econ­omy – agri­cul­ture, min­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing.

“We need to in­tro­duce what is called ‘pre­ci­sion farm­ing’ – which is plant­ing in tun­nels to pro­tect plants against cli­mate change. In this new agri­cul­tural in­no­va­tion, you don’t need to use pes­ti­cides,” Maseti said.

He said com­mu­ni­ties must be en­cour­aged to get used to pre­ci­sion farm­ing so that they could grow and sell their pro­duces to re­tail­ers.

Pic­ture: Jac­ques Nelles

BIG DAY. A woman passes a Sona 2020 sign out­side par­lia­ment in Cape Town dur­ing prepa­ra­tions for the State of the Na­tion ad­dress tak­ing place to­day.

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