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President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has heaped praise on the partnership between the government and business, saying joint initiatives have made remarkable progress in tackling problems stifling economic growth.

Writing in his weekly newsletter, Ramaphosa said the past nine months of that partnership had proved how much the government could get done when it collaborated with the private sector.

Ramaphosa detailed how the partnership, established in June 2023, had managed to improve the electricity situation, take steps to address the severe challenges in freight rail and port operations and land blows against crime and corruption.

“These areas were identified as the most immediate obstacles to faster growth and job creation. By addressing the challenges we would be able to unleash great potential in our economy.”

The president said the government had decided on a focused approach, undertaking actions that would result in the greatest effect in each area.

“Where appropriate, business has participated in the government’s broader response to the challenges, and has dedicated substantial resources and skills in supporting the government’s work.”

Since the inception of the partnership, the private sector has contributed more than R170m in direct support and has mobilised more than 350 technical experts.

More than 130 CEOs of leading companies have pledged their support.

“This collaboration builds on several successful partnerships between government and other social partners in recent years. Drawing on the collective capabilities of business, labour and civil society, we were able to mount an effective response to the Covid-19 pandemic and develop an economic recovery plan.”

Ramaphosa said the partnership has extended to other areas, such as combating gender-based violence, putting in place a national minimum wage and turning the tide against HIV and Aids.

He recalled last week’s regular meeting held between ministers and business leaders to assess progress made and chart a way forward, saying strides have been made across all areas of work.

“Since November 2023, load-shedding is 61% lower than the same period a year ago. Among other things, this has been made possible by the return of units at Kusile power station and the impact of new generation capacity from rooftop solar and private sector investment.”

Under the leadership of its new group CEO, Ramaphosa announced Eskom is finalising an agreement with business to deploy additional independent skilled experts to support the power utility.

“Business is supporting a number of the workstreams of the National Logistics Crisis Committee, providing technical, security and operational expertise to Transnet’s efforts to improve the performance of ports and freight rail.

“Working together with all stakeholders, Transnet has, for example, achieved a 45% reduction in vessels anchored outside the port of Durban and a 36% reduction in the waiting time to anchor for container vessels.”

According to Ramaphosa, a major success has been the provision of security by business on the rail network, which has resulted in a 65% reduction in criminal incidents on the northern corridor, reducing the number of trains cancelled.

“Work is under way to ramp up the deployment of police resources to secure network infrastructure in the longer term. Steady progress has been made in the crime and corruption focal area. The private sector is providing business information and resources to assist with the fight against infrastructure crime.”

On the crime-fighting front, the president detailed how support has been provided to modernise the 10111 helpline, with a pilot project initiated at the main call centre in Midrand, and the establishment with the Hawks of a forensics analysis centre.

“An important part of the work to tackle crime and corruption will be the passage of the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill, which will strengthen the independence and investigating capacity of the authority.

“It will also enable the establishment of additional infrastructure to support the Investigating Directorate as a permanent entity, including a dedicated forensics laboratory.”

Ramaphosa said government and business are now focused on actions that will make a considerable and lasting difference in the next few months.

Progress made in the embattled state owned entities includes:

  • Electricity generation capacity from different sources by up to 10,600MW, which will enable a significant reduction in the severity of load-shedding by the end of this year.
  • Improved Eskom plant performance, additional private investment in rooftop solar and large-scale power projects and connecting projects from previous renewable energy bid windows to the grid.
  • After the recent appointment of permanent executive leadership, Transnet is focused on rebuilding internal capacity and drawing on private sector technical resources to restore the operational performance of strategic rail corridors.

One major target of this partnership is to improve the country’s financial standing and take steps to reverse its removal from the financial action task force grey list by at least June 2025.

While the partnership between government and business has been focused on specific immediate actions, the president said the broader work to grow the economy and create jobs draws on the contributions and capabilities of all social partners and stakeholders.

“By broadening the involvement of all social partners in this work, we will continue to build durable social compacts that make a real difference in people’s lives. We have long believed it is only by working together that we can make progress. The partnership between government and business has shown what is possible when we are focused and committed towards the achievement of a common goal.”


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