President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to deliver another State of the Nation Address following the May general elections. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Johannesburg - The Black Business Council (BBC) on Thursday said that it would like President Cyril Ramaphosa to demonstrate concrete and clear plans to spearhead economic recovery, renewal and growth in his state-of-the-nation address (SONA).

The South African economy slumped sharply in the first three months of 2019, contracting by 3.2 percent as seven of the 10 industries took a knock, with manufacturing, mining and trade the biggest contributors to the fall. 

Construction, mining and trade are in a recession.

The 3.2 percent decline is the biggest quarterly fall in economic activity since the first quarter of 2009 when the economy -- under strain from the global financial crisis -- tumbled by 6.1 percent.

Ramaphosa will deliver the first SONA of the sixth democratic Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday evening following a fresh mandate from the electorate in the May 8 election.

He is expected, among other things, to announce further support for the struggling and debt-laden power utility Eskom.

“We applaud President Ramaphosa’s actions so far to create confidence in the country and economy by decisively dealing with state capture and corruption," BBC president Sandile Zungu said in a statement.

"We are also confident that his trimmed Cabinet has hit the ground running and is battle-ready for the massive challenges facing our country."

The BBC said it expects Ramaphosa to outline a decisive implementable plan to create an environment that will be conducive to grow the economy, action plans to deal with the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Also, the organisation said it would like to see a concerted effort for the acceleration of socio-economic transformation, including the repealing of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, as well as a single-minded focus on SMMEs development as the cornerstone of job creation.

The recapitalisation of the National Empowerment Fund to enable black business to access funding, enacting legislation that will stimulate township and rural economies, and plans to deal with serious challenges facing our State-owned companies, specifically Eskom, are also part of BBC's expectations.

"The BBC is available to become part of the solution as we join business, government, labour and community in rebuilding the country as well as restoring and growing the economy," Zungu said.

The BBC lobbies government on policy related matters and plays an advocacy role where policies are in place in order to accelerate the participation of black business in the mainstream economy.

African News Agency (ANA)