Support for farmers, structural reforms and confidence — Mboweni’s message to Davos delegation

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni speaking at the pre- World Economic Forum Breakfast in Rosebank ahead of his trip to Davos, Switzerland later this month. Picture: Palesa Dlamini
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni speaking at the pre- World Economic Forum Breakfast in Rosebank ahead of his trip to Davos, Switzerland later this month. Picture: Palesa Dlamini

South Africa will get state-owned enterprises on the straight and narrow, farmers will be supported, structural reforms will be implemented and despite everything, there will also be political stability in the country.

This is part of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s message to the South African team he will lead to the 50th annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland later this month.

Addressing the media and South African business leaders at a pre-WEF breakfast in Rosebank on Thursday, Mboweni said: “The key question that we need to deal with is: what are we are going to say there [in Davos].

“Some of the issues we might wish to talk about are the following: there is a determination on the part of the South African authorities to implement serious structural reforms. Most of these structural reforms are clearly indicated in the paper Towards an Economic Strategy for South Africa,” he said.

“This includes, among others, the determined effort to put SOE’s on the correct path. And those which work must be supported, those which don’t work must get out of the way.”

Mboweni added that it was important to take note of the support for “our industrial programmes, including economic zones as well as for agriculture, particularly emerging farmers – both black and white.

“We are going to say we are quite certain that there is political stability in South Africa which is key to the achievement of our economic objectives and key to our progress,” he said.

This year’s WEF is being convened under the theme Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World. The South African team will include International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor and Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel.

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel will join Finance Minister Tito Mboweni for the 2020 World Economic Freedom in Davos, Switzerland later this month. Picture: Palesa Dlamini

Patel said: “We can say that we had a peaceful election [last year] where the results were broadly welcomed and the affirmation of a president who has been leading a process of change and has brought a high degree of confidence to us,” Patel said.

Asked how the team would respond to the Eskom crisis in Davos, they would assure investors that the problem was being tackled with the proposed unbundling of the power utility.

“We experience load shedding as a result of Eskom mismanagement,” he said. “We won’t lie to people. But we can’t be doomsday sayers and say there is no electricity in South Africa because that is not true.”

The this year’s WEF runs from January 21-24.

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