Time for state to take decision

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Cyril Ramaphosa DIRCO President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: GCIS

The government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic has not been perfect.

But it has by far been the most impressive work done by the state in decades, at least on the health front.

Our economic crisis, deepened by the current lockdown, presents a different challenge altogether - one that has so far proven to be a steeper hill for our leaders to climb.

Today cabinet will meet, for the second time in a week, to decide on a much anticipated economic recovery plan during and in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Last week's meeting failed to make a decision, sparking widespread criticism that the government inefficiency coupled with the ANC's factional dynamics could very well be standing in the way of a decisive economic response to the ravages of the pandemic.

Whatever the reasons, what we know is that four weeks into the national lockdown, the nation is deeply anxious and there are decisions to be made about how to claw back from the economic hole in which we all find ourselves.

The cabinet must, for example, decide whether to increase social grants to assist those reliant on the state - a decision that has already been endorsed at Nedlac.

It needs to decide what to do with struggling South African Airways, an entity which has long been a liability to our national fiscus.

It must decide how to help small businesses which have made great sacrifices by stopping trade and closing shop for weeks.

The South African Reserve Bank has so far led the way, slashing interest rates by another 100 basis points to a new record of 4.25%.

In the last month many academics, economists and business leaders have made various proposals on how to kick start the recovery process.

Some proposals were feasible, others not.

In line with President Cyril Ramaphosa's leadership ethos, extensive consultations have taken place.

It is now time for the leadership to bite the bullet and produce a blueprint that will hopefully revive businesses, save jobs and feed those in need.

This is ultimately what today's meeting must achieve.

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