'It's all systems go' as business backs Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa during the announcement of the new party leadership at the ANC national conference. (Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images)
Cyril Ramaphosa during the announcement of the new party leadership at the ANC national conference. (Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images)

Johannesburg – Sentiment was generally positive among business people attending the Progressive Business Forum breakfast, following the outcome of the ANC leadership race.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa won by 2 440 votes, compared to the 2 261 for former chair of the African Union Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Analysts quickly raised concerns on what seemed to be a “divided” top 6, which could be a spanner in the works for Ramaphosa in implementing economic policy.

But business people at the breakfast on Tuesday morning were optimistic that the factions could work together. Some of them shared their views on the outcomes and passed on messages to the new leadership to Fin24.

Ntiskoe Mosebo, projects director at Thahameso Civil and Projects, believes there is a “fair balance” between both sides. “So we are hoping that they will try to balance their opinions.”

He expects it to be a challenge for the team to work together, but that they would continue to apply policy as it is not just an individual making the decisions. “They will have to work as a team for the good of the country.”

Abednego Mpumza, owner of Usizolwethu Funeral Services, was hopeful for a “brighter future” for the party and is pleased with the results as unity is needed, he explained.

Hailey Dittberner, senior associate at law firm Poswa Incorporated, kept her message simple: “Finally, a businessman to run the country. The president needs to be a businessman.” 

Jil Hrdliczka, founder of upskilling and training company Knowledge Network, highlighted that it’s only the first day for the new leadership.

“The reaction from the business community or people we have spoken to is all systems go. It’s a new team. It’s their first day, it’s our first day as the business community with new leadership.” She also commended the process.

Leaders congratulate Cyril Ramaphosa on becoming the president of the ANC at Nasrec on Monday. (Photo: Lameez Omarjee)

On Ramaphosa’s win, Sydwell Mahule, director at Sampema Construction and Projects, said: “We want a new ANC to ensure there is delivery, we want to ensure that they recapture the country from corruption, unethical conduct, lack of integrity and now the people have actually spoken and the ANC has listened and delegates have listened to views of the electorate, which is the winner.

"The electorate is the winner. The people of South Africa have won.”

Mahule also said  it is important for the government to work with business to address economic challenges. “Government can’t do it alone. ANC, as part of government can’t do it alone, they need business, they need investors. There is no way you can grow the economy without business involvement.”

Cyril’s rare opportunity

“The fact that we now have Cyril Ramaphosa as the new president of the ANC and hopefully president of the country in the near future I believe is a positive development for the ANC and the country at large,” said Mishack Matla, executive director at Aberdare Cables.

“He is a man with solid credentials and track record of performance from the negotiations during the transition from the apartheid area to the new democratic dispensation,” he said.

“He has experience on both the political and business side. He is the type of guy who comes with requisite skills, expertise an experience to take the country forward in a very well-considered manner. We believe he has a rare opportunity to also pull the ANC together.”

Matla added that the new leadership has a good chance of moving South Africa forward from its current economic situation. Growth between 5% and 7% is possible if government and the private sector work together, he said.

“We hope that we don’t end up in a situation where the new leadership struggles to work together.” He emphasised that it is a “rare opportunity” for the new leadership to change things for the better.

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