Kick starting the Economy – can we beat the All Blacks??

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses a media conference at the end of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg on July 27, 2018, as the heads of the BRICS group — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — met in Johannesburg for an annual summit dominated by the risk of a US-led trade war.
Five of the biggest emerging economies on July 26, stood by the multilateral system and vowed to strengthen economic cooperation in the face of US tariff threats and unilateralism. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Themba Hadebe

Almost exactly a week ago a bunch of us rugby enthusiasts asked the question, “can we beat the All Blacks?” Everybody thought not. Nick Mallet thought we needed to score 36 points to hold the margin of defeat to 20 points.

We all got it wrong

We won.

Now we have President Cyril Ramaphosa announcing we can kick-start the economy.

Can we?

Will we win?

Here are the salient points of his package:

To start with President Ramaphosa says “we have taken decisive steps to rebuild investor confidence, end corruption and state capture, restore good governance at state-owned enterprises and strengthen critical public institutions.”

“For several years our economy has not grown at the pace needed to create enough jobs or lift our people out of poverty.

It is in response we are announcing today, following its adoption by Cabinet, an economic stimulus and recovery plan.

The stimulus and recovery plan will:

  • firstly ignite economic activity,
  • secondly restore investor confidence,
  • thirdly prevent further job losses and create new jobs,
  • fourthly to address some urgent challenges that affect the conditions faced by vulnerable groups among our people.

The stimulus and recovery plan has five broad parts:

  • Firstly, implementation of growth-enhancing economic reforms.
  • Secondly, reprioritisation of public spending to support job creation.
  • Thirdly, the establishment of an Infrastructure Fund.
  • Fourthly, addressing urgent and pressing matters in education and health.
  • Fifthly, investing in municipal social infrastructure improvement.

We will change our visa regime to boost tourism and make business travel a lot more conducive.

We will restore investment and exploration levels in the mining sector with a revised Mining Charter. We will not to proceed with the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act Amendment Bill, which has contributed to a lot of uncertainty in the sector.

We will review of various administered prices, starting with electricity, port and rail tariffs.

We will reduce data costs. Lower data costs will also provide relief for poor households and increase the overall competitiveness of the South African economy.

We will protect poultry and other sensitive sectors and a vigorous crackdown on illegal imports.

What we do will take place within the current fiscal framework and in line with the normal budgetary process.

We will prioritise funding will be directed towards investments in agriculture and economic activity in townships and rural areas. Agriculture has massive potential for job creation in the immediate and long term, this will include a package of support measures for black commercial farmers so as to increase their entry into food value chains through access to infrastructure like abattoirs and feedlots.

We will prioritised funding to be re-directed towards igniting economic activity in townships and rural areas.

We have prioritised the revitalisation of three regional and 26 township industrial parks as catalysts for broader economic and industrial development in townships and rural areas.

We will also be re-directing resources towards addressing immediate challenges in health and education, which are critical to the health, wellbeing and productivity of our people.

  • 1,100 sanitation projects will be completed in the current financial year.
  • 2,200 critical medical posts, including nurses and interns will be immediately filled

We will set up a South Africa Infrastructure Fund, which will fundamentally transform our approach to the rollout, building and implementation of infrastructure projects with meaningful partnerships with the private sector, government contribution will be R400bn.

We will identify and quantify “shovel-ready” public sector projects, such as roads and dams, national roads, human settlements, water infrastructure, schools, student accommodation and public transport. and engage the private sector to manage delivery.

We will encourage the IDC to increase its approvals to R20bn over 12 months, an increase of 20% on the previous year to focus on the productive sectors of the economy, including manufacturing, mining, industrial infrastructure and sectors in distress.

We have identified 57 priority pilot municipalities in order to unlock infrastructure spending in the short term. This spending will cover, among other things, sewerage purification and reticulation, refuse sites, electricity reticulation and water reservoirs.

We will implement a series of interventions to ensure that growth is labour intensive and that young people in particular are drawn into the labour market.

We have held consultations with leaders from business and labour on this plan.

We are encouraged by the support they have pledged for the measures outlined and many have undertaken to provide resources and expertise to ensure its success.

We continue to draw on the guidance and support of bodies like the National Planning Commission, which will soon release its own guidance on focal areas to stimulate the economy, and government will continue to co-ordinate its work with formations like the CEO Initiative.

Now, we have it within us to come together once more and forge a new path of growth, jobs and transformation.

We are confident that the four elements of our economic stimulus and recovery package will play a decisive role in reversing the recent contraction of the South African economy.

Together, we are taking bold and concrete measures to ensure a clear and sustained improvement in the lives of all South Africans.

I thank you.”

Thank you Mr. Ramaphosa, like we did with the All Blacks, we will try our hardest, we will play as a team, we will focus, we will defend, we will attack, and, under your coaching/leadership we will play by the rules – and we trust that you, as our leader, will ‘red card’ those that don’t – and get them off the field and out of the way – that’s our only hope of winning.

For full speech: