President needs to provide a turnaround strategy now


The election of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president last December, and of the country this year, came as a relief to many, marking the end of a decade of kleptocracy under Jacob Zuma.

Ramaphosa’s “thuma mina” speech brought hope to many despondent citizens. When he pressured Zuma to appoint the commission of inquiry into state capture, he demonstrated commitment to fighting corruption.

He was applauded for appointing commissions of inquiry into improprieties at state-owned fund manager the Public Investment Corporation and the South African Revenue Service.He appointed credible leaders to struggling state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

But Ramaphosa’s administration has been unable to find concrete solutions to grow the economy and to reduce unemployment. This week, ANC head of transformation Enoch Godongwana placed the blame for the economic mess on Zuma’s administration.

But Ramaphosa cannot be absolved completely because he was deputy president during Zuma’s reign — even though he had little room to manoeuvre.

Six months into his presidency, Ramaphosa and his comrades in the ANC and government have failed to provide a turnaround strategy.

This week the Cabinet said the government had committed to overhauling the visa system to support tourism, finalise mining legislation and to further stabilise the financially distressed SOEs.

“The upcoming job and investment summits, as well as the proposed government stimulus package, will provide details on reforms to drive growth …A revised fiscal framework will be presented in the medium-term budget policy statement,” Thursday’s Cabinet statement read. But no details were given.

Ramaphosa has secured investment commitments from Saudi Arabia and China as part of his ambitious plan to attract $100-billion in investment. But this will remain meaningless to many South Africans unless it translates into jobs.

Ramaphosa is trying to be every­thing to everyone — hence his inability to provide a decisive policy direction.

He has kept some incompetent ministers from the Zuma administration — such as Bathabile Dlamini and Nomvula Mokonyane — to manage fallout in the deeply divided ANC ahead of next year’s general elections.

What complicates matters is Ramaphosa does not enjoy overwhelming support in the party’s national executive committee.

His opponents in the ANC are putting pressure on him to implement party resolutions such as land expropriation without compensation. He and his supporters were initially reluctant to do so, arguing that the Constitution in its current form allows for expropriation without compensation.

The Ramaphosa group has been at pains to explain that this would be done with care to avoid undermining the economy, agriculture production and food security.But they will have to work harder to convince foreign investors that the calls for such land expropriation will not result in illegal land grabs similar to those that occurred in Zimbabwe in the early 2000s.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


ConCourt settles the law on the public protector and interim...

The Constitutional Court said it welcomed robust debate but criticised the populist rhetoric in the battle between Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Minister Pravin Gordhan

Small towns not ready for level 3

Officials in Beaufort West, which is on a route that links the Cape with the rest of the country, are worried relaxed lockdown regulations mean residents are now at risk of contracting Covid-19

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday