Bay support for Cyril Ramaphosa’s news plan to boost economy
Nelson Mandela Bay business has joined calls for the inclusion of business leaders and professionals in the national executive responsible for the “economic cluster” under President Cyril Ramaphosa.
This comes as Ramaphosa told investors on Wednesday that the first task in kick-starting South Africa’s economy was to reconfigure the cabinet.
“We’re now going to reconfigure our cabinet as part of the reform package our country needs for the economy to move forward and address the needs of our people,” Ramaphosa said at a Goldman Sachs conference in Johannesburg.
This move will be an indication of the kind of power Ramaphosa holds in the party as investors watch to see whether he has the political will to replace Zuma-era appointees.
The Black Management Forum (BMF) – with reference to business leadership – appealed to Ramaphosa on Tuesday to appoint an executive “that is fit-for-purpose”, with a mix of fresh faces and experience.
The forum’s appeal was echoed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and the former president of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) in the Bay, Lithemba Singaphi, on Wednesday.
Ramaphosa told the investors: “The reconfigured cabinet structure will come out with an institutional framework to serve our country best and focus on economic growth.
“The key risk for us is low economic growth and creating jobs.
“The structure of the government will speak to that.”
This comes a day after data from Statistics SA showed that the unemployment rate rose to a near 15-year high in the first quarter of 2019.
“We know the constraints on the economy and we need to speed up on them,” Ramaphosa said.
“Following the technical recession last year, we embarked on an economic stimulus plan and identified a number of reform issues we had to address. “That’s already under way.” He said the government would continue with its reform of state-owned enterprises, particularly cleaning up embattled power utility Eskom.“If Eskom fails, this country also fails.“It is a valued national asset and we are not privatising Eskom, we are restructuring it so we can allow the private sector to be our partners.”Ramaphosa said the government would also engage with unions to deal with the overstaffing at Eskom.“Key structures at Eskom were completely destroyed.“It started at the top – the governance was a major problem and then there was the ballooning of staff.“For the power we generate, we are overstaffed.“We will deal with it sensitively with our unions, with thorough discussions, without throwing people out.“It’s a problem we have to deal with but, in the end, Eskom is too big to fail,” he said.Black Management Forum president Andile Nomlala said: “The BMF implores President Ramaphosa – in his noble plan of government reconfiguration – to not miss the opportunity to appoint an executive that is fit-for-purpose, with a mixture of experience and fresh blood.“The BMF also makes the impassioned plea that the economic cluster ministers must comprise some eminent persons from the business community, and not exclusively from the political trenches.”He said there was sufficient capacity, skill and public acclaim in the “BMF-type” managers.He named Ruel Khoza, Mpho Makwana, Bonang Mohale, Nolitha Fakude, Khanyisile Kweyama, and Gloria Serobe as among them.“We want to see a seasoned business leader with an impeccable track record being considered,” Nomlalasaid.Bay business chamber CEO Nomkhita Mona said such inclusions within the executive were “a no-brainer”.“That we have not had business representation and inclusion at this level explains why we are where we are,” she said.Singaphi said it had always been Nafcoc’s call for business involvement at executive level because, among other challenges, politicians “become factional” in the economic cluster.“Business must be represented at that level,” he said.“Business has a direct interest and the skills to grow the country and, specifically, our economy.”- Business Day