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South Africa's president Cyril Ramaphosa gestures before delivering the State of the Nation Address to a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town, South Africa, February 10, 2022. Picture: REUTERS/SHELLEY CHRISTIANS
South Africa's president Cyril Ramaphosa gestures before delivering the State of the Nation Address to a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town, South Africa, February 10, 2022. Picture: REUTERS/SHELLEY CHRISTIANS

The economic implications of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s sixth state of the nation address (Sona) is the focus of this edition of the Business Day Spotlight.

Our host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Yolandi Esterhuizen, a registered tax practitioner and director for product compliance in Africa and the Middle East at accounting firm Sage, and Louw Nel, a senior political analyst at Oxford Economics Africa.

On Thursday, Ramaphosa delivered his state of the nation speech in Cape Town’s City Hall — the National Assembly was gutted in January’s fire.

The panel agrees that Ramaphosa’s speech was geared towards the private sector, being seen by many as “business friendly”.

Join the discussion: 

Looking forward to finance minister Enoch Godongwana’s maiden full-year budget speech later in the month, Esterhuizen and Louw give their thoughts on some of the issues on which the country will be seeking clarity.

Esterhuizen notes that the cost of doing business was highlighted as an issue that needs to be resolved. She says businesses will likely be looking to see if the corporate tax rate will indeed go down, as earlier indicated, or if employment tax incentives will be used as a way to spur the creation of more jobs. 

Louw says this week’s speech was “one of the better Sonas” he has witnessed. He says it was good that Ramaphosa addressed the energy crisis, which is the biggest threat to the economy at the moment, as issues such as load-shedding affect everyone.

Despite having struck a generally positive note, some questions were left unanswered.

Esterhuizen says more clarity is still needed about the long-proposed National Health Insurance, and whether there’ll be extensions of the Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme or the Youth Employment Service.

Louw says government will need to state how the findings from the expert panel report on last year’s unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, and the State Capture report, will be dealt with.

Topics of discussion include: highlights from the Sona speech; how government could fund its activities given economic challenges facing the country; where SA is likely to see increases, decreases and reallocations in the upcoming budget; taxation considerations for businesses; the balance of politics and economics that Ramaphosa has to navigate; and an outlook for the year ahead.

Engage on Twitter at #BDSpotlight

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 Business Day Spotlight is a MultimediaLIVE production.

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