Ramaphosa was addressing business, labour, government and civil society representatives yesterday on the last day of the Jobs Summit held in Midrand. He told those gathered that necessary investment and collective efforts would not take place if governance in all sectors wasn’t improved.
He said one of the current tragedies was that government structures had weakened over time, particularly at local government level.
“It has been a matter of deep shame for us to have a province (North West) being finally put under administration and it is a dent on our ability to deliver real good governance in our country. But we want to put those things behind us, and we are going to put them behind us. We are going to work in a dogged manner to prevent any other province from getting into administration,” Ramaphosa said.
His comments come almost two months since then premier Supra Mahumapelo was ousted as the ANC’s provincial chairperson.
Meanwhile, the summit announced more than 70 interventions, including commitments to avoid retrenchments, boost small and medium enterprises and prioritisation of local procurement by both business and the government.
Ramaphosa said the summit was part of that process of building an agreement between the government, businesses and civil society. “I would like to believe and so I do that today we have, as we conclude this summit, a national compact on jobs and that from here we are going to move forward in a determined fashion to go and create the jobs that are going to make the lives of our people better,” he said.
He added that he hoped the interventions announced would bolster investor confidence ahead of the upcoming Investment Summit later this month.
“We have committed to raising R1.3 trillion in five years and we want to get a clear demonstration that there is a commitment, as we have now been addressing all these enabling measures that the investing community will come and invest.
“It is pleasing to hear that there are some local companies themselves who say, as confidence builds and as trust increases, they are prepared to commit to invest in their own economy,” he said.
Absa group chief executive Maria Ramos said Ramaphosa and the government wouldn’t be able to bring much-needed investment and jobs to the country alone and that local investors had a role to play. “We expect foreign investors to come in here and invest. That is interesting, but if you cannot invest in your own economy, who else is going to invest? So that is really what this is about. If we do not get things right ourselves, I don’t know who else is going to get it right,” Ramos said.
She, however, decried bad governance and policy uncertainty in the country, which she said contributed to the reluctance by local investors to plough money into the economy.
“Even if you want to invest, it is not easy to invest. I and other corporates would love to invest more, but if it is not clear where legislation is going, if takes a long time and if it is full of bureaucracy and if there is ongoing corruption everywhere, then it is not so easy for people to have the confidence to invest,” she said.