There was broadly positive reaction to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s new plan to kick-start the economy, with a realisation that with the ratings agencies breathing down our necks there is no possibility of a reckless spending spree. The headline initiative is a R50bn fund to refocus government spending, taking cash from underperforming programmes and redeploying it to more effective areas. Then there is the R400bn infrastructure programme — which will blend several forms of funding — public, private, pension funds. All good. All necessary. All welcome. However, I would argue that there should have been a clear, unambiguous, committed and ambitious focus on the manufacturing sector as well. The president was flanked by six or so ministers when he announced his stimulus package at the Union Buildings. Trade & industry minister Rob Davies was not among them.

This is worrying. The president has made it clear in his search for new investment of $100bn that SA needs a large injection...

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