SA needs more from Ramaphosa than his charm
It did not take long for South Africa’s collective online “outrage machine” to get worked up and spew bile at her ignorance.
While South Africans have a myriad things to get upset about, an ignorant White House correspondent is not one of them.
Our collective short attention spans would rather go for the low-hanging fruit instead of tackling leaders who charm, dance and joke while South Africa slowly regresses, and fails to live up to the promise of a democratic dispensation.
That regression has mostly been felt outside the major centres where apartheid spatial planning can’t mask the poverty, and where the gulf in skills places the mismanagement into perspective.
Make no mistake, Ramaphosa went to Biarritz on one of his charm offensives, hoping to draw some concessions and investments from the Group of 7 of the world’s largest economies.
Unlike the opposition parties in the National Assembly at last week’s question and answer session, Ramaphosa needs more than just charm to change perceptions that South Africa has regressed.
Years of looting by the connected cadres of the ANC have seen some of South Africa’s vital state-owned enterprises brought to their knees, demanding billions in bailouts that the country can ill afford when seen in the context of a sputtering economy which has lagged its peers.
While some in the ANC exist in an alternative reality in which South Africa’s gravy train is endless, the reality is that the country’s debt to gross domestic product ratio has climbed steadily for the past decade, from 31.3% to last year’s 55.8%.
While some enjoy the distractions offered by our politics, we sit with the reality that government considers using “prescribed assets” like pension funds to stimulate growth.
An International Monetary Fund bailout, although galling to some, would have been the bitter pill required by Eskom, SAA and Denel to ensure the hard decisions taken ultimately made SOEs transformed and accountable.