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Progress in economic reforms will create jobs, says Ramaphosa

Sisanda Mbolekwa Politics reporter
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the lack of investment and increased cost of doing business have added to the many challenges government needs to address. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the lack of investment and increased cost of doing business have added to the many challenges government needs to address. File photo.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the economic reforms implemented by his government through Operation Vulindlela, led by the Presidency and National Treasury,  have built significant momentum to create growth and jobs, laying a steady foundation for the revival of economic growth.

By restructuring our network industries like energy, telecommunications, ports and rail, we are opening space for investment and a renewal of our nation’s infrastructure. This new report highlights key milestones reached during the past quarter,” he said.

The president said the first reform milestone was the digital migration process implemented by switching off analogue transmission for all frequencies above 694MHz on July 31 2023.

“This marks a significant step in migration from analogue to digital signal. This means radio frequencies that were being used for television broadcasting can now be used for mobile telecommunications, which will make network communications more accessible and increase the speed and reduce the cost of data.”

“The implementation of this reform will bring new investment in the telecommunications sector. Work is underway to implement necessary reforms in our logistics sector to address the challenges that have held back the growth of South African exports,” he said.

Ramaphosa said the lack of investment and increased cost of doing business have added to the many challenges government needs to address.

The president announced a key milestone was reached with the selection of an international terminal operator to partner with Transnet at the Durban Pier 2 container terminal.

The terminal, which handles close to half of port traffic, is expected to increase investment for upgrading equipment and expanding terminal capacity through this partnership.

A key aspect of this partnership is that port infrastructure will remain state-owned, and all jobs will be protected,” said the president.

Ramaphosa said two critical pieces of legislation were tabled in the National Assembly this month that will advance economic reform. 

“The Electricity Regulation amendment bill will support the restructuring of Eskom into three separate companies owned and controlled by Eskom Holdings, including an independent grid operator.

“Through this bill we will introduce competition in electricity generation, enabling a number of independent generators, alongside Eskom, to produce electricity to meet our country’s demand.”

The president said this reform will fundamentally transform, modernise and improve the energy sector to ensure energy security into the future. 

“The reforms we have implemented through the energy action plan have unlocked new investment in renewable energy sources, both to end load-shedding and to use our unique wind and solar resources to power economic growth.”

The water sector has also been prioritised in key reforms. The national water resources infrastructure bill was introduced to establish a dedicated national water agency to design, plan and finance water resource infrastructure. 

“This agency will enable significantly greater investment in bulk water infrastructure to guarantee water security in the years and decades to come while creating jobs and unlocking new agricultural potential. 

“We are implementing a range of other reforms to unlock economic growth, from creating an enabling regulatory environment for hemp and cannabis production to eradicating the backlog of title deeds for subsidised housing.”

Despite difficult global conditions, Ramaphosa commended investors for continuing to see value in the country's economy and the benefit of the reform agenda government is pursuing.

“We are pleased the Brics Business Forum held last week was attended by 1,500 investors and business people from all five member countries. We were able to showcase the potential of South Africa and the African continent as the next frontiers of productivity and growth. 

“Many participants remarked on the enormous potential of our economic reform agenda to drive growth in the green economy, the digital economy and other key sectors.”

TimesLIVE

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