Despite tough times, SA has made progress, Ramaphosa says
President says electricity crisis is the main threat to SA’s progress
Despite a difficult and challenging year, SA has managed to attract investment into the economy, the president says.
“Like many across the world, South Africans have faced a substantial rise in the cost of living. Our post-Covid recovery has been held back by continued load-shedding and inefficiency at our ports and railways,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter.
He said despite the economy being weighed down by international events, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict and instability in the global economy, companies have continued to invest in the economy.
“At the fifth SA Investment Conference earlier this year, we surpassed our target for new investment commitments over five years.”
He said while the number of people in employment has returned to pre-Covid levels, jobs are not being created fast enough to reduce levels of unemployment.
“While we continue to face a number of challenges, the electricity crisis is the main threat to our progress.”
Ramaphosa recalled his state of the nation remarks, emphasising how the country’s most immediate task is to dramatically reduce the severity of load-shedding in the coming months, and ultimately end load-shedding altogether.
“The work that has been done since then in implementing the energy action plan is showing positive results, giving us greater confidence that we will bring load-shedding to an end.
“While we experienced some of the worst load-shedding ever in the first few months of the year, there has been a measurable and steady decline in the severity of load-shedding over the last few months.”
Though electricity supply is still not stable, the president said the overall trend is towards less severe load-shedding.
“Damaged units at the Kusile power station have returned to service ahead of schedule and plant maintenance has received close attention. What gives us hope for even further improvements is the progress that has been made in bringing new electricity generation online. Regulatory reforms we have initiated have enabled a massive increase in private investment in electricity generation, with over 12,000MW of confirmed projects in development.”
After the introduction of tax incentives and financing mechanisms, Ramaphosa said the amount of installed rooftop solar has more than doubled to more than 4,500MW in the last year.
“Government is working closely with Transnet, industry and other social partners to relieve congestion at our ports and increase the volumes of freight being carried on key rail corridors.
He said several significant infrastructure projects in social housing, road construction, rural bridges and dams are contributing to greater economic activity and providing much-needed infrastructure.
The president said his government has also undertaken far-reaching reforms to improve the competitiveness of the economy. These included proceeding with the digital migration of the country’s broadcasting service to free up broadband spectrum and reduce the cost of data, and introducing visa reforms to attract more skills into the economy.
The president said though times are still tough, the government had made important strides over the past year to fix the problems in the economy and society.
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