Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the private sector to be at the coalface of job creation and transforming the SA economy.

On Thursday, Ramaphosa met members of the Black Business Council.

“As we look set to reach our goal of securing R1.2-trillion in investment over five years, what was most encouraging was that domestic investment in our economy is on the rise. At the inaugural Investment Conference in 2018, local companies committed [investments] in the region of R157bn. This year, they committed just over R262bn,” the president told the businesspeople.

“What this says to us is that local business confidence is slowly but surely returning ... Confidence is what drives the economy.”

Ramaphosa said SA’s economic reform agenda was gaining traction. He said people responded to a market that they could see is reforming, growing and attracting money to itself.

“Since 2018 we have worked to improve policy certainty and ease of doing business; maintained macroeconomic stability, and reduced pubic debt and fixed SOEs (state-owned enterprises),” he said.

The president said the government was relying on the private sector to create much-needed jobs.

Unemployment in SA is standing at 29.1%, its highest since the global financial crisis in 2008.

“We need the private sector to work with us, to remove impediments that exist in the business environment, so that they can take a lead in creating job opportunities for our people.”

“Your insights are important as we implement BBB-EE policies that government has promulgated, which you in the main have embraced, to ensure they achieve far-reaching empowerment. It’s essential that BBB-EE contributes to job creation and transformation [of the economy].”

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa welcomed the appointment of Andre de Ruyter as group CEO of cash-burning power utility Eskom, saying this was an important step towards “restoring stability and forging a sustainable path at this strategic entity”.

mkentanel@businesslive.co.za