Ramaphosa: Tough Decisions Await South Africa

16397

South Africa’s new President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a sober address on Friday that the country will face “tough decisions” as it works to repair its economy after years of stagnation under the turbulent rule of his predecessor Jacob Zuma.

Hailing a “new dawn” a day after his inauguration, he promised to fight corruption, which had weakened the state-owned enterprises in Africa’s most industrialized economy, and to trim a bloated cabinet.

READ ALSO:   From Businessman To President: How Ramaphosa Succeeded Zuma

Ramaphosa said his government was committed to “policy certainty and consistency”, in contrast to Zuma, who was criticized for policy shifts and unpredictable cabinet changes that rocked domestic financial markets and confounded investors.

The leader of the opposition, and head of the Democratic Alliance party, Mmusi Maimane, said the president was reading from an old script.

READ ALSO:   Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala Named Member-Designate of South Africa’s Economic Council

“We could have gotten more bolder action today, but I heard more of the same stuff,” Maimane said.

The 65-year-old was sworn in as head of state on Thursday after Zuma reluctantly resigned on orders of the ANC.

“This is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions,” Ramaphosa said in his first State of the Nation address.

READ ALSO:   What Buhari Told Ramaphosa On Migrants' Protection

“We are determined to build a society defined by decency and integrity, that does not tolerate the plunder of public resources, nor the theft by corporate criminals of the hard-earned savings of ordinary people,” he added.

Ramaphosa’s election as president, which was unopposed in the parliament, has prompted a wave of optimism among South Africans hungry for change after nine years of economic stagnation and corruption scandals. Zuma denies all wrongdoing.

READ ALSO:   Breaking: S/Africans Resume Xenophobic Protests, One Killed, Five Injured

“Tough decisions have to be made to close our fiscal gap, stabilize our debt and restore our state-owned enterprises to health,” Ramaphosa said. He promised to make job creation a priority in 2018.

South Africa’s rand ZAR=D3 rallied soon after Ramaphosa started his address, trading near its three-year best.

Financial markets have rallied since Ramaphosa took over from Zuma as ANC leader in December, as investors warmed to his pledges to woo overseas investment.

READ ALSO:   Ethiopia-Tigray Crisis Troubles UN Chief

He thanked Zuma for the way he had approached recent events. Facing waning electoral support for his party, Ramaphosa needs to avoid alienating ANC members still loyal to the 75-year-old former president.

In a direct appeal to poorer black voters – the core of the ANC’s support – Ramaphosa said he would aim to speed up the transfer of land to black people. Two decades after the end of apartheid, the ANC is under pressure to redress racial disparities in land ownership where whites own most of the land.

READ ALSO:   Covid-19: S/Africa Orders Schools Closure After Spike In Cases

Ramaphosa said he will pursue a policy of “radical economic transformation” that will speed up expropriation of land without compensation, but said this should be done in a way that increases agricultural production and improves food security.

Ramaphosa said mining had potential for growth and jobs.

“We need to see mining as a sunrise industry,” he said.

READ ALSO:   South Africa’s Economy Slumps Into Recession

South Africa’s mining industry has been a major employer and contributed 7.7 percent to gross domestic product in 2016. The sector also accounts for 25 percent of exports in Africa’s most industrialised economy.

South Africa’s GDP is estimated to grow by around 1 percent this year.

Subscribe to Our VIP Newsletter

Previous articleNNPC Dispatches 29.058m Litres Of PMS To 13 States
Next articleWhy Libya’s Uprising Has Lost Its Shine
Hamilton Nwosa

The New Diplomat stands for ethical journalism, press freedom, accountable republic, and gender-equity. That is why at The New Diplomat, we are committed to speaking truth to power, fostering a robust community of responsible journalism, and using high quality polls, data, and surveys to engage the public with compelling narratives about political, business, socio-economic, environmental, and situational dynamics in Nigeria, Africa, and globally. From our insightful reports of political issues to our riveting investigations and analyses of business, socio-economic, and cross-cutting sectors, The New Diplomat remains ever committed to investigative reporting and ethical journalism. Support and partner with The New Diplomat today, to guarantee a positive future for all under an atmosphere of free press!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here