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Who’s going to stop the gaps?

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Jun 22, 2019

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Business and labour welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address, but warned of key things missing in the speech to turn around the economy and create jobs.

Ramaphosa’s massive bailout of Eskom with R230billion was said to be important in ensuring the power utility continues to operate.

Business Unity South Africa said yesterday it welcomed the president’s commitment to fix the ailing economy. But key to this was his support for the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank.

ANC officials have been singing different tunes on the mandate of the bank after party secretary-general Ace Magashule said the national executive committee lekgotla agreed to expand its mandate to include growth and employment.

Busa also backed plans to support Eskom as it remained a risk for the economy. But the business organisation wants a broader plan for state-owned entitities (SOEs).

Cosatu said it was concerned about the crisis facing SOEs and leadership instability.

Two chief executives have left key SOEs in a space of weeks - Phakamani Hadebe at Eskom and Vuyani Jarana at SAA resigned.

“Cosatu is pleased that the president placed the need for drastic and urgent intervention in the economy. In particular it is inspiring that R250bn of the R300bn promised investments from the 2019 investment summit are materialising,” said the union.

“We are encouraged that R840bn further investments will be targeted over the next five years.”

Cosatu, however, warned that the country needs to be creating 55000 jobs every month to deal with the unemployment crisis.

Ramaphosa said the government would create 2 million jobs for the youth in the next 10 years.

Opposition parties slammed Ramaphosa, saying much was missing in his address.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said Ramaphosa failed to deal with the crisis of unemployment and presented no major plans on SOEs and fixing the economy.

EFF leader Julius Malema said the speech had nothing new to offer. He accused Ramaphosa of not sticking to ANC resolutions on the expropriation of land without compensation.

The SACP welcomed the address, but said Ramaphosa must speed up the land reform programme. It said it backed the R230bn bailout of Eskom, but warned that any restructuring of the power utility must involve unions and other stakeholders.

The Saturday Star

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