Economic reform policy should not be derailed – Ramaphosa

In an effort to promote economic growth, job creation, and investment, President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for the continuation of economic reforms in his weekly newsletter.

The president said now that the elections are over and the composition of government is yet to be decided, “there is broad support for the continuation of economic reforms” among political parties.

“Regardless of the form or composition of the incoming administration, it is important that the momentum of reform be retained and sustained,” said Ramaphosa.

“While we have come a long way in the reform journey, there is much work that still needs to be done to reignite growth in our economy.

“A change in direction would derail the positive progress that has been made and take us back to the starting blocks.

“At this important moment in the life of our nation, eradicating poverty and inequality and reducing unemployment must remain our overriding collective priorities.

“We cannot address these challenges and improve the lives of our people without attracting more investment in our economy and accelerating growth.”

Growth and job creation

He said the sixth administration of parliament has been focused on economic growth, transformation, and job creation, driven by a range of economic reforms in sectors including electricity, water, and logistics through Operation Vulindlela.

“Because well-functioning network industries are vital to economic growth, we have undertaken far-reaching reforms in energy, logistics, the water sector, and telecommunications.

“These reforms include an overhaul of the energy sector to enable efficiency, stability, and greater investment in electricity generation, and to introduce a more competitive electricity market.

“We have introduced private sector participation in the operation of port terminals, enabled open access to the freight rail network, and completed the auction of high-demand broadband spectrum.

“While we recognise the value of public-private partnerships, we have stressed that the state must continue to play a strategic role in the development and ownership of public infrastructure in the interest of the people,” he said.

Reconstruction and recovery

He acknowledged that the effect of some reforms may take some time to be felt but assured that “the process of recovery and rebuilding is well under way”.

“The electricity sector is one such example. The implementation of the Energy Action Plan that we announced in 2022 has seen accelerated procurement of new generation capacity, a growing number of new energy projects being connected to the grid, and a surge in rooftop solar energy.

“These developments, together with Eskom’s ongoing work to improve the maintenance of its power stations, have helped to reduce the severity of loadshedding.

“These reforms must continue alongside measures to advance economic inclusion, such as skills development, addressing spatial inequality, and investing in skills development and public employment programmes.”

The president emphasised that higher economic growth can be achieved through a combination of “structural reforms, increased investment, and sound macroeconomic management”.

He explained: “Modelling by the National Treasury showed that the successful implementation of key reforms could raise GDP [gross domestic product] growth to over 3% a year, add an additional R600-billion to revenue, and create a substantial number of additional jobs over 10 years.

Stable and effective government

“This approach is supported by the BER [Bureau for Economic Research] study, which shows that continuing the path of reform could increase growth.

“This would start to make a meaningful dent in our unemployment rate and usher in a new era of growing prosperity for all.”

He called on all political parties and all parts of society to work together to realise economic growth and job creation.

“By deepening our partnership as government, business, and labour by accelerating structural reform, and by continuing the work to strengthen state capacity and improve the operation of state-owned enterprises, we are firmly on course for realising greater economic growth and creating more jobs.

“As the country prepares for a new democratic administration, all parties need to work together to sustain the momentum of reform, growth, and transformation.

“A stable and effective government committed to economic reform will enable us to build an inclusive and growing economy that benefits all South Africans.” –

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