Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) welcomes the changes to the National Executive announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, especially the new political leadership of the National Treasury.
“This long-awaited cabinet reshuffle is an important step in boosting confidence in the economy to restore growth and create jobs to attend to the challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, especially among the youth,” said BLSA CEO Bonang Mohale.
“We now urge the President to speed up the process of reviewing the size and configuration of his cabinet and national departments so as to demonstrate his commitment to urgently needed austerity measures,” said Mohale.
BLSA applauds the return of Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister as a familiar face and steady hand who will give investor confidence to our economy. “This will allow him to continue the work he was performing in the role before his inexplicable, abrupt removal in December 2015,” said Mohale.
BLSA also welcomes the re-appointment of Pravin Gordhan as political head of public enterprises. “State-owned enterprises have become an albatross around the neck of our fiscus. His appointment will strengthen government’s hand in dealing with state capture and corruption, and most importantly, it will facilitate the efforts to address the governance, leadership and capital structures of the SOEs,” said Mohale.
BLSA also commends the President for swiftly removing the ministers implicated in serious allegations of state capture and other forms of wrongdoing. These include: Mosebenzi Zwane (mineral resources), Des van Rooyen (cooperative governance and traditional affairs), Lynne Brown (public enterprises), Faith Muthambi (public administration), Nathi Nhleko (public works) and Bongani Bongo (state security).
“Although he has no direct experience in government, Gwede Mantashe has an intimate knowledge of the mining sector and is an astute negotiator – two attributes that are critical to resolving the current impasse around the formulation of the mining charter. We hope his appointment will help position the industry to take advantage of the next upswing in commodity prices,” said Mohale.
BLSA notes that some ministers who face allegations of wrongdoing and serious mismanagement have been moved to other positions, supposedly to unite the ruling party.
“We believe the bulk of the appointments are justified, and will help the President to make good on the ambitious but achievable plans announced in his State of the Nation. In BLSA, the new administration will find a willing, capable partner in the project to pull our economy back from the brink of fiscal, state capture and confidence crisis. In due course, we will be making proposals on an emergency recovery plan to the new administration,” said Mohale.