Picture: THE HERALD/MIKE HOLMES
Picture: THE HERALD/MIKE HOLMES

Business confidence has declined to levels last seen when Jacob Zuma was still the president.

The index dropped to 96 in April from 97.6 the previous month, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Wednesday. That is the lowest since November. Five of the 13 sub-indices that make up the gauge declined from the month earlier.

Business confidence reached a more than two-year high in January as Cyril Ramaphosa’s ascent to power initially boosted sentiment and the rand following Zuma’s scandal-ridden tenure of almost nine years. The currency has now lost 4% against the dollar since reaching a three-year high in February after Ramaphosa changed the Cabinet and removed some ministers seen as loyal to Zuma and who are implicated in graft allegations.

Two rating agencies cut SA’s credit ratings to junk in 2017 and the economy has not expanded at more than 2% since 2013. Ramaphosa has pledged to revive economic growth and fight corruption and he has overhauled the board of Eskom and removed South African Revenue Service (SARS) head Tom Moyane.

The nation’s leadership "has a mammoth task to restore the South African economy to its full potential that was rudely interrupted over the last number of years", Sacci said.

While steps to address maladministration and corruption has been incisive "a simultaneous phase of the restoration process has to address the revival of economic growth and employment opportunities".

Bloomberg

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