Uncertainity is gone, let's have action

When President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his state of the nation address early next month, he is expected to announce bold measures to turn around the fortunes of SAA, Eskom and other struggling state entities, the writer says.
When President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his state of the nation address early next month, he is expected to announce bold measures to turn around the fortunes of SAA, Eskom and other struggling state entities, the writer says.
Image: GCIS

It is still early days, but President Cyril Ramaphosa's decision not to travel overseas for an investment summit as well as the World Economic Forum appears to have paid off.

The president decided to stay at home and attend to the pressing issues facing our struggling economy.

Central to his decision not to go abroad was the ruling ANC's lekgotla - a gathering of its leaders from regional, provincial and national levels as well as representatives of the party's alliance partners.

While some may criticise Ramaphosa for prioritising a party political gathering over an opportunity to rub shoulders with world leaders and potential investors, this lekgotla was critical for him if he is to lead South Africa over the next few years without perennial questions about whether he was in charge.

The lekgotla sets the tone and gives a line of march for the president and other ANC deployees in government. Much of what is agreed there informs government plans and guides the president's state of the nation address.

This year's lekgotla came at a time where it seemed like the party was deeply divided on what to do with our ailing economy, especially the role of state-owned enterprises. As it approached, Ramaphosa's adversaries were flexing their muscle, pushing for the removal of some of his key political allies from the cabinet.

But the president emerged from the three-day lekgotla looking stronger than before. Instead of him being under pressure to drop public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan from the executive, he emerged from the gathering with party structures giving his government a free hand to introduce reforms that would help turn around troubled parastatals.

The ball is now in the president's court as, following the lekgotla, policy uncertainty can no longer be raised as an excuse for non- action.

When he delivers his state of the nation address early next month, we expect the president to announce bold measures to turn around the fortunes of SAA, Eskom and other struggling state entities. The time for debates is over, we now need a clear plan and we need it to be implemented without further delays.

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