SA being 'recalibrated' to attract investment‚ says Ramaphosa

02 September 2018 - 11:30
By Thabo Mokone
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: GCIS President Cyril Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says SA is being "recalibrated in many ways" to be attractive to local and international investors in a bid to stimulate economic growth and job creation.

Ramaphosa made the remarks during his address to a breakfast meeting with SA business leaders on Sunday in the Chinese capital city of Beijing‚ where he kicks off a state visit hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Xi Jinping was in SA in June on a similar visit ahead of the recent Brazil‚ Russia‚ India‚ China and South Africa (Brics) summit.

Ramaphosa said his government needed to provide not just "policy certainty but policy consistency" to investors to attract much-needed foreign direct investment.

"We're recalibrating in many ways‚ we're sharpening our messages to enhance investment to come our way‚" said Ramaphosa.

"One of the key issues that faced us was the issue of policy certainty which many possible investors wanted clarity on.

“We're working through that‚ we're working through all the issues that have been raised with us‚ to make sure that we do have not only policy certainty but policy consistency. This is something has slipped through our fingers in the past few years where we have lost our shine‚ but we're regaining that shine."

The SA economy has taken a battering in the last few years as the previous administration‚ under former President Jacob Zuma‚ dithered on key policy issues affecting crucial sectors of the economy such as mining and energy while state-owned companies were plagued by allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement.

SA has also recently grabbed the attention of the international community with its parliamentary process to amend section 25 of the constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation in a bid to change patterns of land ownership.

Ramaphosa said he was confident that we would “surprise the world" in resolving the emotive issue of land as South Africans were "becoming more rational" in discussing mechanisms to resolve land reform and redistribution.

"I have no doubt that South Africans will step up to the plate to resolve it‚ like we resolved the apartheid problem.

"The apartheid problem was once thought to be the most intractable problem in the whole world and people thought that SA would get engaged in a civil war that would tear the whole nation apart‚” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa said Xi Jinping has been supportive on the issue of land reform in their previous discussions and the two leaders were due to hold further bilateral talks on Sunday.

Beijing and Pretoria were also due sign new trade deals that would see more Chinese companies investing in SA.

Ramaphosa said he would be presenting to the Chinese "a book of investable projects" in SA.

Sandile Zungu‚ the president of the Black Business Council‚ and Sipho Pityana of Business Unity South Africa are among the business leaders that are in China with Ramaphosa.

South African companies such as Standard Bank‚ Nedbank‚ Discovery and Naspers are operating in China and local businessed hope to make further investments in sectors such as manufacturing‚ agro processing‚ mining and technology.

Ramaphosa is also joined by one of his international investments envoys‚ former finance minister Trevor Manuel‚ former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe and several cabinet ministers.