Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Major state-owned entities have indicated they expect to invest R420bn into the economy over the next five years.

In April, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a drive to attract about R1.2-trillion in investment into the country over the next five years.

"We have had several meetings with the CEOs of some of this country’s larger state-owned companies … they have given us an indication of their investment plans over the coming years," Ramaphosa said during his response to the Presidency budget vote debate in Parliament on Thursday.

"They have informed us that over the next [five] years, they expect to invest … R420bn into the … economy.

"We are seeking investment that expands the industrial capacity of our economy, that creates jobs on … scale and that lifts millions … out of poverty."

The president also appointed four investment envoys tasked with engaging domestic and foreign investors around economic opportunities in SA.

Analysts think the envoys face an uphill task amid talk of expropriation of land without compensation.

"We are seeking investment from private companies, from sovereign wealth funds and from public entities. This is not a 1996 class project. This is about addressing unemployment."

The president said investment in itself was a guarantor of neither growth nor job creation. But without investment, neither will be possible.

"Countries that succeed in generating investment are countries that succeed. As we have said before, the creation of jobs, the reduction of inequality and the eradication of poverty – and indeed the success of investment – is dependent on our ability to correct the distortions of the apartheid legacy."

This, Ramaphosa said, includes the government’s efforts to address the skills deficit by ensuring access for the children of the poor to quality education, from early childhood development level right through to higher education and training.

"It includes our efforts to provide our people with houses, land and other assets so that they may break the cycle of poverty. Land reform is fundamental to the eradication of poverty. It is fundamental to restoring the dignity of all South Africans, to foster reconciliation and to forge national unity."

phakathib@businesslive.co.za