No time to celebrate Ramaphosa's election, says Bonang Mohale of BLSA

Cape Town - There's no time to celebrate the election of new President Cyril Ramaphosa who has several tasks waiting for him, says Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Bonang Mohale.

Ramaphosa was elected president of South Africa at a sitting of Parliament on Thursday, and later sworn in by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. His nomination was unopposed.

In a statement issued by the BLSA following the election, Mohale said Ramaphosa will have to urgently work on growing the economy and job creation. “There is no time to celebrate,” he said.

“Instead of celebrating BLSA is calling on the new administration to urgently focus on a few critical areas,” he explained.

These include improving public services, and addressing the “capture” of key institutions like the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

“Our State-Owned Enterprises are bankrupt. We need to address the leadership, capital structure and governance issues gripping these SOEs,” he added.

Call for Zuma Cabinet probe

Mohale also called for the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture to be supported with the necessary resources to investigate “key figures in the ANC’s senior leadership” and Zuma’s Cabinet.

“Technically, we have a leadership that is under prosecution, and they need to be offered an opportunity to account for their actions speedily,” he said.

Mohale also said that stakeholders such as labour, civil society and business should remain engaged on economic policy, and “jealously guard” South Africa’s democracy. BLSA plans to present a proposal on an emergency socio-economic recovery plan.

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) CEO Tanya Cohen believes that the change in leadership is a “milestone” in the revival of investor confidence.

“The positive movement of the local currency following the events of the past few days is indicative of the importance of political certainty, accountability and good governance in advancing South Africa’s economic fortunes,” she said.

The rand held steady at R11.66/$ on Thursday afternoon following Ramaphosa’s appointment. Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop is of the view that the rand could break below the R11.60/$ level again, depending on Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) to be delivered on Friday night.

“The good gains the rand has made could be extended towards R11.55/$, and move towards R11.00/$,” said Bishop. However, this is on the condition that there are no further credit downgrades and the budget speech to be delivered on February 21.

Cohen also pledged BUSA’s commitment to work with Ramaphosa to achieve inclusive economic growth. 

BUSA called for Ramaphosa’s administration to take steps to build business confidence and to develop a programme of action to address fiscal challenges and the declining economy.

Other tasks for Ramaphosa include tackling youth unemployment, small business growth and “restoring good governance and accountability” in both the public and private sector.

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