In his weekly newsletter to the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a series of practical partnerships aimed at fostering economic growth and job creation in South Africa. These collaborations, forged with business leaders and labor federations, reflect a concerted effort to tackle the immediate challenges facing the nation’s economy.
The President highlighted the critical importance of these efforts, emphasizing that a slow-growing economy cannot generate enough jobs or sufficient government revenue to fund vital programs in education, healthcare, social protection, and infrastructure. Ramaphosa further pointed out that the mounting debt service costs represent a growing burden, intensifying the pressure on these essential sectors.
“We are acting with increased focus and effort to remove the most immediate constraints on growth and doing so together with our social partners,” President Ramaphosa stated.
Economic Growth and Job Creation
President Ramaphosa acknowledged that South Africa’s economy has rebounded from the pandemic, with the recovery of nearly two million jobs that were lost during the crisis. However, global economic instability and ongoing electricity challenges continue to hinder the economy’s growth and its ability to create jobs at the required pace.
The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, launched in October 2020, has been a central focus of the government’s efforts to revitalize the economy. Nevertheless, Ramaphosa reiterated that the plan’s success relies on broad societal collaboration.
Collaboration with Business
Ramaphosa highlighted the government’s collaboration with Business for South Africa, which has progressed beyond discussions. Since June, these entities have been working closely on critical actions addressing key challenges in energy, logistics, and combating crime and corruption.
One notable achievement is the progress made by the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) in tackling load shedding and enhancing energy security. Business leaders have mobilized additional capacity and skills to support the recovery of Eskom’s power plants, including deploying technical support teams and experts to expedite repairs. The return to service of Kusile unit 3, two months ahead of schedule, exemplifies the success of these efforts.
The President underlined that full implementation of the plan to improve Eskom’s performance, expand generation capacity, and reform the energy sector is expected to result in the recovery or addition of over 12,000 megawatts of generation capacity by the end of 2024.
Enhancing the Freight Rail Network
Efforts are also underway to enhance the operational performance of South Africa’s bulk freight rail network and port system through the National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC). Corridor recovery teams, comprising Transnet executives, industry representatives, and independent experts, have been established to boost freight traffic on rail lines.
Collaboration Against Crime
President Ramaphosa praised the collaboration between business and government in building capacity within the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks. Additionally, efforts to modernize the 10111 emergency response center and address crimes targeting infrastructure are underway in partnership with the South African Police Service.
Commitment to Cooperation
The President stressed the willingness and determination of all social partners to engage in practical actions that can measurably improve the economy’s performance. He emphasized that these partnerships, whether in various forms or at different stages of development, underscore the concept of a social compact rooted in achievable outcomes.
Ramaphosa concluded with optimism, stating, “From the progress that has been made to date, I am certain that this is a task at which we will together succeed. The success of all these efforts will ultimately be measured by their impact on the lives of the South African people.”
In closing, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement signals a commitment to strong partnerships aimed at addressing South Africa’s economic challenges and fostering sustainable growth and job creation, providing a ray of hope for the nation’s future.