Ramaphosa says to speed up economic reforms, fix Eskom

Ramaphosa says he will give more details on his reform plans in a state of the nation address scheduled for next month.
Ramaphosa was speaking to investors in Johannesburg for the first time after winning the electoral vote last week. Picture: Jairus Mmutle, GCIS

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday that he would use a new five-year term to speed up economic reforms and fix ailing state power firm Eskom, a week after his African National Congress party was re-elected with a reduced majority.

Analysts have said reforms like cutting red tape and overhauling Eskom should be post-election priorities for the ANC, after a decade of slow growth and rising joblessness in Africa‘s most advanced economy.

Read: Eskom’s turnaround imperiled as debt approaches R500bn

“We are in an economy that has not been growing … in an appreciable way. That troubles us,” Ramaphosa told investors at a conference in Johannesburg, acknowledging that South Africa‘s regulatory framework had discouraged investment.

“We have to embark on the reforms, speed up,” he added. “We are going to ensure that the certainty that investors want to see is there.”

The ANC’s 57.5% share of the vote was its worst result in a parliamentary election since it swept to power at the end of apartheid in 1994, but it was an improvement on a worse showing in local government elections in 2016.

Ramaphosa said he would give more details on his reform plans in a state of the nation address scheduled for next month.

Analysts say an early barometer of Ramaphosa’s ability to push through change will be whether he manages to trim a cabinet comprising more than 30 ministers and deputies.

Ramaphosa said on Wednesday that he would announce a “reconfigured cabinet structure” soon but did not specify that numbers would be cut.

South Africa‘s economy grew by an estimated 0.8% in 2018 after recovering from recession. Growth is forecast at 1.5% this year.

One factor in hitting that target will be how the government manages a restructuring of power utility Eskom after severe power blackouts earlier in the year that dragged on growth.

The government has pledged a R23 billion ($1.6 billion) a year bailout for Eskom over the next three years. The utility had around R420 billion of debt last year.

“We have to address the issue of Eskom’s debt, which is precisely what we are doing now with our Treasury, with our lenders, because (Eskom) is too big to fail,” Ramaphosa said.

The president also reassured investors that the government’s land reform policies would not result in “land grabs”.

“There is no way we can invite foreign investors to come to our country — we say come and invest — and tomorrow we take your land away, that is not going to happen. That is not sensible,” Ramaphosa said.

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I don’t know if I should respond positively or negatively to this. I will sit on my hands for a while.

All talk. The man lacks any substance. SA is in a critical situation with crime, corruption, bust SOEs, failed government departments, unemployment and stagnant growth. The bribed sheep continued to vote ANC and will pay the price-hunger is coming to a failed state

I say that to speed up economic reform:
– fix Eskom and ALL THE OTHER SOE’S;
– fix local authorities and make them pay for consumables;
– ditch BEE as the main measure for procurement;
(rather have a wealth fund);
– fix policy and make it certain;
– undo land ambiguity;
– Pay down debt;
– offer more incentives to entrepreneurs.

I do appreciate that the current gov has stuffed up big time to a point where words can’t quantify but, fellow saffers, we simply HAVE to believe in Cyril – there is simply no alternative at this stage. Yes he was looking over JZs shoulder and Yes of course he should have done something but had he stuck his neck out he might not have been there now. He is making the right noises. My view is to cut him some slack and give him a chance to come good. I really don’t believe that there is an alternative at this point other than to pack for Perth which, by the way, the nay sayers should have done a long time ago….

So we’ll be waiting for the miracle in SONA next month.

But the “nitty-gritty” is always in the finance minister’s budget, which is delivered later, hopefully during the same month.

Then it’s only another six months until the next SONA.

This is assuming that the ANC MPs actually vote for Cyril to be president.

By my calculations an EFF/ANC marriage, with one or two small parties thrown in, needs about 150 ANC votes to elect their own president.

End of comments.





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