When President Cyril Ramaphosa reached his 100 days milestone as citizen number one, our assessment of his performance was that, while he was on the right track, he needed to do much more, with greater speed.
This week’s news that South Africa had descended into a technical recession means Ramaphosa has to act with even more decisiveness, boldness, clarity and speed if he is to guide our country away from the economic precipice it has been hovering above for years.
So much has changed and yet so much has remained the same since our assessment, expressed in these columns back in May.
Supra Mahumapelo is no longer the premier of the North West; the leadership of many state-owned enterprises has been overhauled; a clean-up has begun in earnest in key arms of the state; and the State Capture Commission is up and running. But clutter still lies strewn all over the regulatory landscape at a time when investors need policy clarity and consistency. Our economic problems continue to simmer, bubble and backfire almost seven months after his takeover.
Back in May, sovereign credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s stated that it was sufficiently impressed with Ramaphosa’s stewardship to grant the country a reprieve amid real fears of a calamitous downgrade.
This week another ratings agency, Moody’s, slashed South Africa’s growth estimate from 1.5% to between 0.7% and 1% following the recession news.
The fatalities from the fire in Joburg, the explosion at a munitions plant in the Western Cape and the mugging of a British musician in Durban are reminders of the deep crises in which our government is still mired.
And recent reckless talk and propaganda around the complex land reform debate has been doing a lot of damage to investor confidence at a time when Ramaphosa was ratcheting up his drive to assemble $100billion to boost our economy.
Owing to bad weather conditions, Ramaphosa had to walk much more briskly during his KwaMashu visit yesterday after jetting back from the highly important investment campaign in China. With the economic grey skies gathering above, he needs to walk even faster or even start running to deliver South Africa from danger.
The Sunday Independent