President Cyril Ramaphosa (Pic supplied: Discovery)

JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday proclaimed the end of what he characterised as a nine-year impasse between the government and private sector. 

This comes on the back of the inaugural South Africa Investment Summit attended by more than 1,000 investors last week in which private companies pledged investments with a total value of R290 billion in the country over the next five years.

The investments were made in sectors like mining, forestry, manufacturing, telecommunications, transport, energy, agro-processing, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, financial services, energy, ICT and water.

Speaking at the Discovery Leadership Summit in Johannesburg, Ramaphosa said that there was a time that private companies were thought to have withdrawn from investing in South Africa until government sorted its leadership crisis. 

"It is at precisely this moment, as we find ourselves at an economic crossroads, that we require courageous and visionary leadership throughout society – in business, in labour, in government and in civil society. Each social partner needs to play its role. We have emerged from a period of turbulence and are now embarking on a new path of renewal, a new dawn, as it were. We are determined to succeed," Ramaphosa said.

"While it is the private sector that will drive the bulk of fixed investment in the economy, it is government that has to create a conducive and enabling environment. That is why we are working to reduce the cost of doing business through, for example, reviewing administered prices, improving regulatory efficiency and amending visa requirements."

Ramaphosa also said that government was introducing further measures to reduce the concentration of economic ownership and control and promote competition across the economy.

He said that in the current environment, in particular, government has a responsibility to prevent corruption and rent-seeking, which severely damage the capacity both of the state and the economy, adding that government needs to take responsibility for managing public funds responsibly and prudently.

"In a severely constrained fiscal environment, we are continuing to invest in growth-enhancing measures and ensuring that education, health and social support – which are critical in pushing back the frontiers of poverty – receive priority. It is at times like these that we look to business to provide leadership," Ramaphosa said.

"The world is in turmoil in a number of places. The world is in dire need not of leaders but of leadership, in need of men and women who are in business, government, the unions or in broader society, people who will provide leadership on a variety of issues that most affect the global community."

Ramaphosa also praised Discovery chief executive Adrian Gore for his visionary leadership and good corporate citizenship.

African News Agency (ANA)