Wanted: A prosperous South Africa

Wanted: A prosperous South Africa

2012-12-21 16:17

Bloemfontein - The ANC put its new No. 2 Cyril Ramaphosa at the head of a charm offensive on Friday as it sought to reassure both investors and a restless public it would tackle economic inequality without recourse to wholesale nationalisation.

Days after his appointment as party deputy to President Jacob Zuma, who was re-elected ANC chief, the anti-apartheid hero and businessman laid out the party's strategic priorities.

Appearing at a business breakfast with Zuma and other ANC leaders elected at Mangaung, Ramaphosa stressed the ruling party backed a mixed economy model. But he added the state would intervene to ensure the country's wealth was better shared.

"Within a mixed economy, the state has a role to play. It intervenes and the private sector also has a role," Ramaphosa said, wearing like Zuma a red tie with his dark business suit.

The return of Ramaphosa to the ANC leadership will allow the party to capitalise on his experience and reputation for integrity. His popularity rests on both his history as an anti-apartheid mineworkers' champion in the 1980s and his current pro-business credentials as SA's second wealthiest black entrepreneur.

The ANC had its 100th anniversary this year. But the liberation movement has been split by feuding and has faced a groundswell of popular anger against graft, cronyism and widespread poverty and unemployment.

Deadly strikes swept the mines this year in the worst labour violence since the end of apartheid in 1994. It led to damaging credit downgrades and questions whether 70-year-old Zuma, who has faced a slew of corruption and personal scandals, can effectively lead the party and country.

Ramaphosa warmed to his new role on Friday as he finessed the ANC's main economic policy takeaway from Bloemfontein. This was a decision to shun "classic, wholesale nationalisation" but for the state to intervene selectively in the economy where necessary in key areas such as mining and infrastructure.

Rejecting charges the ANC was "confused" on nationalisation, whose defenders at the conference were soundly defeated, Ramaphosa invoked the party's 1955 Freedom Charter that declares "the people shall share in the wealth of the country".

"Now the ANC's duty is to make sure that is fulfilled, and fulfilling that would mean that in certain areas the state intervenes," he said, giving the examples of a state mining company set up by the government and intervention to ensure that prices of drugs for HIV/AIDS sufferers remain affordably low.

Ramaphosa's elevation was welcomed in business circles.

Moody's, which with another credit rating agency has punished SA for its mining and leadership woes, said the ANC platform looked "more investor- and business-friendly than had generally been anticipated prior to the conference".

Business Day newspaper said in an editorial: "Mr. Ramaphosa's re-entry into party politics represents a victory for those dealing and negotiating in the real world, rather than in the world of ideological illusion."

Wanted: A prosperous SA

But the Chamber of Mines and Moody's said questions remained about how the government would intervene in the mining sector, and what additional taxes it might levy there. The ANC has also raised the idea of export curbs on minerals.

It also remained to be seen whether Ramaphosa, who has maintained a wealthy lifestyle in recent years far from his origins in the anti-apartheid workers' struggle, can connect with the mass of voters who are poor and unemployed.

His comeback puts him in line for a possible future bid for the South African presidency currently held by Zuma who, if he remains the party candidate, is virtually assured of re-election as head of state in the next national vote in 2014.

At Mangaung, Zuma crushed a half-hearted leadership bid from deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, whose challenge grouped a loose alliance of opponents of the Zuma presidency. This included advocates of more radical policies such as nationalisation and seizure of white-owned farm land.

Asked about the ANC's future ideological direction, Zuma replied: "Ideologically, we want a prosperous South Africa."

He also made clear he would not immediately replace deputy president Motlanthe with Ramaphosa in the cabinet.

Zuma, who took the party leadership from former president Thabo Mbeki at a 2007 ANC conference, acknowledged one of the party's biggest tasks was to address the popular clamour for better services, improved livelihoods and more jobs.

"There's a huge backlog there we have to deal with," he said.

Although Zuma denied any internal purge of top figures who had opposed him, some of these, such as Human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale and sports minister Fikile Mbalula, were dropped from the new ANC National Executive Committee (NEC).

Re-elected ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe made clear the party took a dim view of attempts to divide it, for example from expelled former Youth League leader Julius Malema. "If you mess up the ANC, the ANC messes you up," he said.

  • matt.cumming.77 - 2012-12-21 17:27

    ? Ironic how a man who epitomises everything wrong with BEE and income inequality as well as being politically expediant/opportunistic by creating mass wealth on the backs of workers, will now lead the drive to correct it. i could also make a billion by getting contracts handed to me. Tenderpreneur NOT entrepreneur.

      JohncarlosBiza - 2012-12-21 19:45

      What nonsense. Which tender made Cyril rich? You don't have to lie to prove your point. He's got enough factual flaws to prove you correct

      chris.summers.3954 - 2012-12-22 00:37

      @John. Businessman my arse. Walking into a big corporate and being given shares due to your political connections and colour of your skin makes you rich for sure, but it doesn't make you a businessman. Especially when you don't even have to pay for those shares but rather have them financed through dividends.

  • rudzanimulaudzi.mulaudzi - 2012-12-21 17:38

    Then u can see that the man was waiting for this opportunity for a long time. Judging by the way he talks.

      sexyfancyface - 2012-12-21 18:11

      I have never seen Cyril this happy in my dear life. Don't think he was waiting for it though think he had given uup on it and just when he didnot expect it it landed on his dear lap, talk about God working here...Its a lesson to many don't fight too hard for something if it doesnot work out try other things and when you least expect it when God's time is right you will get it. This is the story of Cyril Ramaphosa. He should have been president at least a few years ago...

  • graham.katz - 2012-12-21 17:48

    Dear Cyril. I hope to see action better than words!

  • sexyfancyface - 2012-12-21 18:09

    Cyril you would do well by taking a good revisit at the education system. That is the only way to close the inequality gap. Take a very close look at BEE and read what Richard Maponya said about BEE.BEE is only benefitting a few elite as you know yourself as a beneficiary or the biggest beneficiary.Take a close look at the AA system.Comrades appoint comrades only to high position even if they know they are not competent.Our people are discouraged because some even want to flush their dear degrees in the loo as those who have not even finished school rise through the ranks because they are connected to the right people.Stop making education useless and any intervention you try and do to fight the triplets of this country will prove fruitless.Concentrate on Maths and Science as those are the 2 subjects that drive innovation.Leve the playing field for all citizens.Go grab all the expats elsewhere with their skills as we need them back home don't look at the colour of their skin. Those skills are desperately needed by this economy.Curb the tender system, it is the most poisonous system ever and it doesnot contribute to the economy in anyway.It should be well managed because we cannot do without it.The ANC should learn lessons from the Sri Lankan President,the ANC should be for all and not for the ANC so that you can lure us into voting for you again...Easy there you have it, in 5 years this country will be great.Oh lest I forget we need a Minister of Mentality Change.

      phiwe.mtwebana - 2012-12-22 00:34

      How would you suggest we go about at getting skilled South Africans back home? I currently live at a country were education system is the envy of the whole world. They make their economy flourish on vocational education and is the envy of the UK in which I have also lived. Boy, I come across talented South Africans who are brilliant people and making a good contribution to other parts of the world. Do not hear me wrong, people have to move and get to see places and work with research teams, and in particular were their contribution is highly valued. Clearly, an education system which is highly invested on like the South African one should not be given up on. Let's start using the modern technology by contributing and complementing what is available to improve our education system by calling back home talented South Africans to work together with those who are already at our universities. Why we do not start a twitter or a facebook suggesting further resources that can help with the improvement of maths and science. Being a librarian, i would say, a first point of call is to make acces to educational information a national priority 1. Access to broadband by creating open wireless for schools, whereby educational applications are available to support kids from grade 1- 12. 2. Makes teaching profession a highly incentive and prestigious job as in the past with people who are well trained. 3. Let's bid for the best education system and become a host of best innovative country

      mart.botha - 2012-12-22 11:45

      Cyril old chap...satirically I would like to see you encourage more young girls to get pregnant so that they can draw a grant and share in this 'wealth, appeal to the masses of unemployed'to get their affairs in place to enable them to seamlessly apply to go on the dole, there we're sharing that 'wealth'' again ...... they too must have more children to help them to 'increase their share of the wealth''. I apologise unreservedly for my attitude about this, but only because of people's sensitivities towards being dictated to about how many children theyre 'allowed 'to have. At this very point in time, imagine how much simpler South Africa's brief of a more 'prosperous life for all' would be if the size of our population was more under control. Unless this is addressed yesterday, the same problems will persist and in fact multiply....until it blows up/implodes'.

  • trevor.bush.9655 - 2012-12-21 18:17

    Cyril, you are just another puppet, who made his HUNDREDS of MILLIONS just like Tokyo through government contracts after 1994...you are like TS the originator of all that is rotten in the ANC and I BET, like TS you also have an eye on the top Job. You can't afford Nationalisation, it will wreck your own mines and business ventures...the whole lot of you are ROTTEN and you can't make up your minds...wait for elections then see how you TOTALLY change your current stance to curry voters...ANC...PATHETIC bunch of old FARTS hell bent on STEALING as much as they can because why, they feel they are OWED EVERYTHING they take....they don't see it as stealing...alkl a bunch of criminals at some level.

  • thembaelvis.mchunu - 2012-12-21 20:41

    Give a guys 100days in office before bashing nor judging him,I have heard that the rating guys r happy with policies,trust him to turn downgrades to upgrades

  • chrisjanbotha - 2012-12-21 22:12

    Asked about the ANC's future ideological direction, Zuma replied: "Ideologically, we want a prosperous South Africa." So Zuma can have a bigger cake - it seems a 250 millon slice with 1.5 billon crumbs is not big enough...

      nico.dejongh.90 - 2012-12-22 00:54

      ...we want a prosperous South Africa.His words of 'want' instead of working towards a prosperous.. has more greed than wisdom.

      denny.cray - 2012-12-23 12:19

      Also, that isn't an ideology - it is the goal or intended outcome of one. Clown.

  • phiwe.mtwebana - 2012-12-22 01:26

    A prosperous South Africa is the one in which we will hold each other accountable by contributing to our formal and informal education system. contribution 1 we need to move beyond individual legacy. 2.Let's groom generational leaders today through our education 3. Access to knowledge which is of educational importance by making telecommunication technologies available as learning tools to build our education system. Past succes - we contributed to build our stadia for the Fifa 2010. We worked hard collectively, technically and morally to show as a bidding nation, we were ready to host FIFA 2010 world cup. We were indeed a rainbow nation with time frames in place to deliver a successful event. Direction and way forward: Education is a foundation and a key to knowledge. Having knowledge usually helps to overcome certain stumbling blocks and to think creatively. I would beg Mama Angie the education minister to help the nation in this regard. On her speech about the matrix results, can she assure the nation that all the textbooks are delivered in time to all the schools? Can she open a Facebook account and use other media to communicate this. Accountability: She will not be accountable to me but to the nation and other future generation. Let us act as if we are hosting a FIFA world cup but this time a generational legacy. I am a librarian and I advocate for delivery of books in time! Thus a prosperous South Africa and knowledge is power!

      trevor.dean.10 - 2012-12-22 14:31

      I have heard talk of an economic 'Codesa', but in my opinion the long-term future of our economy lies in proper education. Perhaps an education Codesa is required to try to get government, parents, students and teachers on the same page regarding the future of education in SA.

      heinrich.horn.98 - 2012-12-23 07:47

      You live in Wonderland. The average IQ of South Africans = 72. You can't polish a turd.

  • nic.nomicos.3 - 2012-12-22 04:00

    *but he added the state would intervene to make sure the coutry's wealth was better shared*....nmmmm

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2012-12-22 08:31

    Well I think we will see a little more action from Cyril than we did from motlanthe. Hopefully, his fresh blood will give hope to our Country. The way the ANC is talking the magic fairy is going to do wonders but we will see after elections which fairy continues to serve, the good one or the bad fairy. I personally feel they still need to rid us of Zuma and his hangers on that is what is pulling our country down. Zuma will have accumalated his wealth so its time to move on and sorry to say, there is not one that works under him is worth another chance, all corrupt so they need to go hand in hand when he does. Partners in corruption thats what they are.

  • john.cryink - 2012-12-22 10:38

    It is simple let the black culture proof to the world that "ubuntu" works all the rich people that that benefited from BEE give most of there fortune to the poor. Proof of ubuntu will be in the "pudding".

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-12-22 12:50

    A good example was set with Julius, before he messed with the anc he got away with everything, now he messed with them he will go to jail. Lesson one with anc, if you want to ride on the gravy train don't fight with the driver but its ok to spill the gravy.

  • walter.corbett.54 - 2012-12-22 15:40

    Same old, same old...Zuma needs a new financial advisor to complete Nkandla, et al ....THIS is what should have happened for this country to have anything of chance .. watch...http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=fzoZBdpitUY

  • neil.lovegrove - 2012-12-22 20:06

    This guy has been out of politics for some time now. Yes he has made a lot of money and has built a formidable business empire. Hopefully, his political ambitions are not of the usual 'avaricious' brand. He is well-connected and respected. I think that he also has integrity. Perhaps we should stand back and let him do what needs to be done. It is imprudent to pre-judge the man now. Who knows....he might just surprise and delight us all.

      kndobe - 2012-12-22 21:28

      Cyril will never solve your problems for you only you can with help from others, politicians do not solve problems

  • Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-12-23 08:14

    In short investors returns will be shoveled out to the poor in grants to make more poor and the ultra rich will ensure they get richer with BEE. This new ANC have now entrenched the path to poverty and eventual civil war as all other African nations have done, so the acknowledged start date of SA's +/- 27 year war will start 'when' is the only question left here. The tribal lines have already been drawn distinctly, but that left-over murkiness of Stalinism still lingers in the rigid hierarchies of the 'struggling party's and alliances'! The average South African cannot see this however and will continue to throw their vote at the feet of exactly those abusing them the worst now!

      manqoba.zulu.54 - 2012-12-23 14:37

      You wish will be granted one day and majority of you will regret ever wishing for this, remember I am used to harsh conditions as apartheid trained me on this, will you cope?

  • enlightened.bowman - 2012-12-23 18:39

    to distribute wealth, you first have to create it and I can not see that happening. How? what's he going to change? tax us more? If I read the financial news it is appauling, one headline read: south Africans borrowing to buy food. Wait till e-tolling kicks in and people are going to be a few hundered Rand shorter every month. I know of at least one company where Mr Ramaphosa is on the board of directors and I know for a fact that he has attended no more than eight meetings. Some of these guys sit on 20, 30 directorships and the reason? to keep the ANC out of their hair. There is ansolutely no way anyone can deliver director level performance on that number of seats.

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