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Solving only half the problems

President Cyril Ramaphosa highlights challenges facing SA. But gives few details on how to deal with them.
President Cyril Ramaphosa offered no clarity on whether government will fund SAA and the SABC. Picture: Reuters

In what is becoming a familiar theme in his third state of the nation address (Sona) since becoming head of state only 16 months ago, President Cyril Ramaphosa spelt out the problems the country is facing but didn’t go into too much detail on how to fix them.

Ramaphosa, for instance, said the economy was struggling, and this was in part a result of power utility, Eskom instituting rolling blackouts earlier this year. While he said the government would “allocate a significant portion” of the R230 billion Eskom needs over the next 10 years, he did not flesh out how this money would be spent.


Ramaphosa says SA to allocate Eskom much of R230bn it needs

Read Ramaphosa’s complete State of the Nation Address

He said details on how the utility will be turned around, including who its new CEO will be, will be made by Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni in due course.

The theme of acknowledging a problem but being short on the specifics on fixing it is a recurring one, also seen in the lack of solutions for corruption and poor governance in the country’s state-owned enterprises (SOE), resulting in at least  R178 billion being spent irregularly.

Read: SOEs demonstrate galling lack of governance

The president also said the creation of the Presidential SOE Council would “address problems of poor governance, inefficiency and financial sustainability”, but did not say what exact steps would be taken to prevent the “corruption, patronage, rent-seeking and plundering of public money”.

Ramaphosa did say he expects the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) Tribunal, which was set up earlier this year, to fast-track civil claims arising from its investigations, which are currently estimated to be around R14.7 billion.

He was, however, conspicuously silent on whether the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and South African Airways (SAA) would be receiving the billions of rands they have been asking for.

Although Ramaphosa didn’t mention their funding, he did hint that there was not enough money to go around.

“It is time to make choices. Some of these choices may be difficult and some may not please everyone.”

Another issue put on the back burner was land reform. He said the report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture had been finalised and will be presented to the cabinet.

Although the panel’s recommendations will “inform the finalisation of a comprehensive, far-reaching and transformative land reform programme”, he gave no timeframe for when this will be completed or even when cabinet will get sight of the report.

On growing the economy, he said implementing the National Development Plan (NDP) would be to government’s efforts but even here, its goals have been pared back. He said the goal was to create 2 million jobs by 2030, but this is sharply down from the 11 million first mooted when the NDP came into being in 2012.

He also said the private sector has committed to invest R840 billion in 43 projects over 19 sectors while creating 155 000 jobs in the next five years.

This commitment, however, has yet to be seen in the economy. According to Statistics South Africa, gross fixed capital formation, a measure of the private sector’s willingness to make long-term investments dropped 4.5% for the first quarter of the year, its fifth consecutive decline.

To the president’s credit, he did commit the government to easing the burden of doing business in SA. He said that companies should not need to wait more than six months for a permit or licence, and new companies should be registered within a day.

“We will continue to reduce the cost of doing business by reducing port export tariffs, pursuing the lowest cost electricity generation options, and making rail transport more competitive and efficient.”

Ramaphosa also said the government would priorities sectors of the economy that had “the greatest potential for growth”.
“Drawing on our successes in the automotive sector, we will implement master plans developed with business and labour in industries like clothing and textiles, gas, chemicals and plastics, renewables, and steel and metals fabrication sectors.”

Some of the sectors he mentioned have had long-standing support programmes. Local clothing retailer, TFG, for example, got a R75 million grant to expand its two factories in the Western Cape in 2015.

Ramaphosa also recommitted the government to expanding the role of spatial interventions like special economic zones – something he said in his previous Sona.

He, however, added that aside from these zones, the state would also be looking to revive “local industrial parks, business centres, digital hubs and township and village enterprises, we will bring economic development to local areas”.

In supporting these business support ventures, the hope is they would boost small and medium-size enterprises.

The struggling construction sector is also set to get a boost with R100 billion set aside to seed government’s Infrastructure Fund.

The goal was to have the fund managed by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, bring in private investors, such as pension funds, and have the newly-configured Department of Public Works and Infrastructure playing an oversight role.

The one issue he was clear on, was the independence of the South African Reserve Bank, this is despite pressure from within his own party that it should fall under government control. “Today we reaffirm this constitutional mandate, which the Reserve Bank must pursue independently, without fear, favour or prejudice.”

The president ended his speech with a call to create a “new, smart city founded on the technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution”.

He gave no timeline for its creation, where it would be or how it would be funded.

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These okes do not know how to fix a lawnmower never mind the country!!!

The best part is that they broke the lawnmower, sold all the parts and now wonder why the grass is long and the garden unproductive.

The funny part is that the anc keeps promising jobs, when will they wake up and realise their task is not give jobs but to create an environment where jobs can be created.

Blame apartheid!!

Hahahah funny

but we have seen this movie before.

Indeed. And just like our local TV stations we see repeats over and over and ….

Talking about EWC the past year has hurt the economy tremendously. but then he dreams of Wakanda. Total lack of logic.

If you can’t fix Home Affairs how on earth are going fix the the rest of it . I’m afraid it’s a case of ‘ You don’t know that you don’t know ‘ . Privatization is the only thing that can save this country and they all know it . That’s why
our politicians use private hospitals and send their children to private schools !

and registering a business in only one day……it’s not a dream it is a mad mans joke.

There is no clear and coherent message in the SONA, but if you read between the lines, the subtle message becomes clear. The SONA is a smokescreen, a facade of false competence to hide the real, underlying reality.

This SONA, when interpreted by free-market economists will read like this: “The real plan is the National Democratic Revolution that is built on top of the Freedom Charter. Everything we say here today is meant to fool the rating agencies and foreign investors. Our entire plan rests on our ability to borrow internationally to fund the BEE looting locally. As you all know, I am a BEE entrepreneur with personal interests in coal contracts with Eskom. Therefore, we will save Eskom with your money.
The course of our economy is set for hyperinflation of the currency. That is our de-facto 10-year plan. Our economic policies are similar to that of Zimbabwe and Venezuela, and our cabinet members are of hugely inferior capability. So, the outcome is a no-brainer. Thank you. Thuma Mina, and watch this space.”

“The SONA is a smokescreen, a facade of false competence to hide the real, underlying reality” -profound observation.That is precisely what it is

If he does not know what the reason is why we ended up where we are why is there expectation that he will have a plan to get us out of the mess.

One of thousands of examples are ESKOM still made a profit about a decade ago. It was not apartheid that broke it. It is not taking long to fix. It took a short time to break.

It happened under their watch.

When he starts his speech by blaming apartheid and global warming for the problems, it can only go downhill from there.

ANC used this dude big time.

and he/they chooses to ignore what happened between 9 May 2009 – 14 February 2018….forever stuck in a rut.

A speech contrived under the influence of opium when what was needed was Ritalin.

I think “half” is a stretch!

Worryingly little material of what action will be taken regarding historic and current theft from the state and no concrete plans to act on corruption.

No mention of border controls without which any improvements to the supply of services will be overwhelmed by a tsunami of demand.

However lots of plans to spend money we don’t have and very little talk as to how these plans are to be funded.

Sadly looks like motherhood and apple pie statements that have little substance.

Waking up to the smell of socialism again this morning.

Now time to reload those rand shorts like a boss.

I doubt whether David Mabuza could have done worse.

When he opened with the 106 year anniversary and apartheid race card and how 25 years ago the ANC took over an economical disaster my estimation of this guy dropped.
This was Zuma all over again with a different accent but no stumbling over 5 digit numbers.

If Zuma/Radebe and co had signed all the IPP contracts 5 years ago these projects would have absorbed the redundant Eskom workers and Eskom would have almost been fixed. but once again we are trying to fill a leaking bucket by adding more water.

Cyril your gifted riches are showing, if you were a self-made billionaire you would know how to fix this mess but seeing that all you have was given to you and is enough to generate enough to fix your business problems it is no wonder you don’t know what you are doing.

I really hoped you would crack the whip, to hell with popularity and a second term, be unpopular, wield the big sharp knife, cut the fat, the
nation will thank you in 5 years time and will vote you in again. Carry on like a wimp and you may not have a country in 5 years time.

Clueless Cadre Socialist Maparas .
RSA is unfortunately beyond repair .
Bullet Trains !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we already have them on the Cape flats !
Cyril is as Clueless as the rest , but of course they all live with their fortunes , as their “due” under BEE policies . We are at the bottom of Africa and look like we will end up that way !

He got his words mixed up – what he meant to say was that we are going to have bullets flying through trains as they move from city to city.

This is why I read Moneyweb! The often really witty remarks that make you laugh out loud, even when the topic is actually grim.

This President, leader of our country should first remove the racial wedge instead of moer it in further!

Wakanda fo eva! Felt like he watched that movie and started imagining himself black panther.

What do successful countries like China and Singapore do:

They focus sharply on high economic growth, which creates the jobs and taxes – and

low population growth, so the rest can be better looked after.

No such focus here.

SONA- African politics’s night at the Oscars! The ANC acting like they know how to run a country, when in fact they can’t run a bath without flooding the bathroom!!

And the winners are …..Socialism, China, Poverty, IMF, Failed State!!!

ANC corruption (Mayeni) has left SAA as dead as a Dudu.
ANC corruption and State Capture have left SA’s growth prospects as dead as a Dodo.

SONA may as well have been called #DUCTTAPE2019. the damage done by the looting is manifesting fast and furious now – and no one is behind bars yet. The commissions of enquiry or airing of dirty laundry continue and have become like a really nasty soap opera. Cyril and the ANC just don’t have the answers – when they do have answers they do a 180 and then create policy uncertainty that then hits the rand and and and. Any bailouts will be funded by tax payers – despite the fact that most SOE’s are now nothing more than employment agencies for people that will vote to keep the ANC in power – rinse and repeat. The ANC has hit rock bottom – and started to dig.

ANC can’t run a spaza shop

Before doing the bullet train thingy Dear Cyril, could you please just get the Metrorail service in Cape Town to run as efficiently as it did in 1990?

The ANC and Cyril do have all the answers, it was given to them long ago by very clever people. But they do not have the brains and the will and the balls to implement it.

As expected from a party with terrorist/revolutionary roots:
1% devoted to solutions + 99% being ideological talk.

“SONA” = Searching Old Non-existent Answers ??

The best snippet from the speech is that those who use electricity must pay for it. Until Soweto is left in darkness and all hell breaks loose.

Feinmann.”The first principle is not to fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” We have below 70IQers trying to look impressive but a monkey in dress is a monkey no less. Even if the suit comes from Soutrivier. SA will be stuffed by Dec. 2019.

The big issues CR left out:

1) Aids – 7m people HIV positive, 20% of female population. 40% of worlds aids victims. US gave $1.2 billion to prevent 10% of population dying by 2030 – no acknowledgement by CR. Biggest disaster ever to hit SA, 4 ANC presidents provide no leadership.

2) Explosion in population growth – a major cause of poverty – no mention.

3) Illegal immigration – contribute to SA poverty.

4) Kader deployment

= The opposition is sleeping.

To me this is one of the ANC’s most successful cons. The party was dead set against providing anti-retrovirals to tens of thousands of dying people.

The ANC government only acted to save lives when the Concourt ordered them to.

Now doing something about which the ANC had no choice is sold time and again as a major success story.

No stats of new infections are ever provided and let’s face it, with people living longer on free treatment there will be more infections.

There is no incentive for the ANC to address the Aids crisis because every person on treatment owes their continued existence on the medicine given by the glorious and selfless ANC.

This was the first comedian to speak.

The tragedy is that the real comedians are speaking next. They have an even bigger joke. That the Opposition has a better idea.

Not so funny anymore.

The economy will only get up to speed once the split in the ANC has taken place.

The policy stagnation, caused by the unions and the left, is causing more damage to the economy than state capture. Every positive measure by CR is blocked by them.

In the mean time we muddle along.

End of comments.



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