Operation Vulindlela's economic reforms hits nine benchmarks

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President Cyril Ramaphosa and finance minister Enoch Godongwana ahead of the budget speech 2022 in Cape Town. Photo: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa and finance minister Enoch Godongwana ahead of the budget speech 2022 in Cape Town. Photo: GCIS

BUSINESS


Government is set to announce a new date for the analogue switch-off, after delays caused by legal action.

It says the auction of high-demand spectrum was completed and analogue switch-off has already been completed in five provinces. It’s hoped that migrating households in remaining provinces to a digital signal will be completed soon.

This is one of 26 key reforms that government has introduced as part of Operation Vulindlela.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said:

To facilitate faster deployment of telecommunications infrastructure, the rapid deployment policy and policy direction have been finalised for approval by Cabinet and we anticipate that a standard draft by-law for wayleave approvals will be adopted for roll-out in municipalities by October 2022.

Operation Vulindlela, which was established in October 2020 to bring about economic reforms, is a joint structure that has reached five milestones this year, according to government.

The joint structure between National Treasury and the presidency focuses on 26 structural reforms in various sectors of the economy, such as transport, energy, telecommunication and water. In its second quarter report, it stated that nine reforms had been completed, while 11 were on track.

READ: Ramaphosa hails structural reforms

Among its achievements mentioned in the latest report is the establishment of the national energy crisis committee, formed to lead the implementation of recently announced measures to reform the electricity sector and bring load shedding to an end. But this seems to be the main achievement in as far as energy reforms are concerned; government is yet to provide additional power to the grid and improve the energy availability factor to over 70%, as envisaged in the reforms.

READ: Cyril Ramaphosa | Our mission to fight corruption and take the country back from the criminals will not be deterred

On Monday, government said it would do away with red tape to enable the quick reform of the electricity sector and add more power to the grid. This included the reduction of the requirement for photovoltaic solar panels to be acquired locally to 35% for bid window 5.

A comprehensive review of the work visa system has been completed, with detailed recommendations to attract skilled immigrants and investment.

The finance minister said the recommendations of the review report would be implemented by March 2023: 

Attracting skills that the economy needs could have the second-highest impact on economic growth after resolving the energy shortfall.

“Significant progress has been made, and is being made, to implement these reforms and to address the urgent challenges that our economy faces.”

Transnet was said to be slowly improving its performance and its financial position. Last month, Transnet group chief executive Portia Derby reported a R5 billion net profit, despite ongoing challenges in its operations.

READ: Private operators can generate additional revenue for Transnet

But Godongwana said: 

There have been significant challenges with both the ports and rail infrastructure, as a result of security issues, inadequate investment in equipment, procurement processes that were tainted by state capture and poor operational performance.

“However, Transnet is steadily improving its performance and has made progress in improving its financial position to enable greater investment. Requests for proposals in respect of private sector participation in rail are due this month for 16 slots made available by Transnet on the Durban-City Deep and Pretoria and East London lines.

“We anticipate the passage of the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill in the coming months, which will establish an independent transport economic regulator and enable properly regulated, nondiscriminatory access to the network beyond these initial slots.”


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