South Africans should acknowledge that President Cyril Ramaphosa is walking a tightrope, Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership SA, said on Friday.
He was the guest speaker at an event hosted by the Ubuntu Foundation and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Cape Town.
"South Africans need to be patient with the pace of progress President Ramaphosa is making. He is walking a tightrope. We have to be sober when we take decisions. Our country is on a downward [trajectory], but we must not give up hope," said Mohale.
Ramaphosa a 'gift'
"Cyril is a gift SA received in December 2017. He could very well be SA's last chance. SA's potential is high, but because of the choice in leaders made in the past, we have impoverished ourselves."
According to Mohale, SA was on a trajectory that would have meant gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6% and unemployment of 16% by now if it were not for the Zuma-years.
"When you tell the wolf to look after the chicken, the wolf will do what comes naturally to him. So, when you expose people to huge resources they are not used to, it is possible they will act in their own interest and not in the best interest of SA," said Mohale.
"We underestimated that. And boy, did they rob us blind! Eskom alone has lost R600bn. That is the cardinal mistake we made, to think our leaders are incorruptible."
During question time, columnist and reputation manager Solly Moeng challenged Mohale, asking why Ramaphosa was "discussing SA's future with people who should be in prison".
To this, Mohale responded by saying he remains of the view that Ramaphosa is SA's "last hope".
In response to a question by Fin24, Mohale said the country should thank the whistle blowers of the Gupta-leaks.
"If it were not for them, Zuma would still be asking 'what is state capture?'" he said.
At the same time, he is of the opinion that the ANC needs to take "corrective action quickly".