Brand South Africa: Stability above all else

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his Cabinet for the 7th administration. Picture: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his Cabinet for the 7th administration. Picture: GCIS

Published Jul 1, 2024


By Thoko Modise

In the past couple of weeks and months, South Africa has displayed three qualities that are critical for attraction of investments: political and financial stability, as well as strong democratic institutions, including courts, for a democracy to function.

The period leading up to the elections, the announcement of results, as well as the first sitting of parliament and the final announcement of the Government of National Unity (GNU), has been an admirable display of political stability.

Another feature on display that investors also watch closely is the functioning of courts, for the resolution of cases, disputes, enforcement of contracts right up to labour matters and tax. During the election season, the Electoral Court as well as the Constitutional Court needed to address all matters efficiently and timeously to allow the election process to proceed seamlessly.

We must not take for granted what we have just witnessed: for the first time in three decades, a governing party lost its majority and had to negotiate the sharing of power with opposition parties. This is a sign of a maturing democracy we can all be proud of.

The architects of South Africa’s constitution knew that a time may come when there could be a need to form a coalition government. What they could not have anticipated was when or how that may come about.

The 14-day timeframe built into the constitution for parliament to sit and government to be formed after an election is necessary, in order to eliminate room for lingering uncertainty, on policy directions and focus the minds of those tasked with negotiating terms.

This does not in any way suggest that the most fiercely contested election since the dawn of South Africa’s democracy, was not fraught with disputes, from the trivial to cataclysmic.

The Independent Electoral Commission’s firm application of its rules, as well as the use of courts managed these well. Part of disputing the results included the handling of over seven hundred recount disputes, to ensure an accurate result announcement.

The IEC’s decision to proceed with the announcement, hand over the list of members of parliament to the Chief Justice, allowed for the convening of the first sitting of parliament, was once again a clear display of South Africa’s institutional integrity.

An aspect of the work that the IEC does but is underappreciated is in the assistance and support they offer to other countries on the continent and beyond, as well as election management and peace building to bodies such as the United Nations. This is something we should be proud of as a nation.

The IEC Chairperson, Mosotho Moepya, made the point that the Commission, leadership, and broader staff, approached the election preparation like a duck in a pond, all gracious above surface and while paddling furiously under water. As a country we are grateful and lucky to have their leadership.

Lastly, the South African Reserve Bank recently released the latest Financial Stability Review (FSR), showing that South African banks are stable and well capitalised. The financial system was found to have the strength to withstand any anxiety that may have existed. Our financial markets remain deep and liquid enough to satisfy the needs of local and international investors.

Above all, they offer stability.

Thoko Modise is the General Manager of Communication at Brand South Africa.