President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks at a ceremony at the Nissan Motor Rosslyn plant in Pretoria, April 10 2019. Picture: WALDO SWIEGERS / BLOOMBERG
President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks at a ceremony at the Nissan Motor Rosslyn plant in Pretoria, April 10 2019. Picture: WALDO SWIEGERS / BLOOMBERG

It is disingenuous for the president to trumpet a new motor vehicle company and say “today we are proving the doubters wrong”.

The business community knows better. In particular, it is clear from the business confidence index that the business community is voting with its feet (Election Jitters Knock Activity Index, April 11).

Every day I hear of more retrenchments, and every day I get calls from individuals who are unable to find alternative employment. The business sentiment is negative, although some economists are saying it might improve after the elections.

I sincerely doubt there will be any improvement if the ANC remains the governing party. It is clear that all the parastatals are bankrupt and overstaffed. Salaries have outpaced inflation and the government is merely holding on to the staff so as not to upset them before the election on May 8.

But all hell will break loose when the government eventually “right-sizes” the parastatals. This disastrous situation, entirely caused by the ANC, is being hidden from its alliance partner, union federation Cosatu. But the business community can see it coming, and the World Bank is putting pressure on the government to make structural reforms. Investment will only occur once these reforms have been implemented.

Regardless of the percentage of voters the governing party is able to garner, it will have to either retrench or let the parastatals collapse. President Cyril Ramaphosa does not have what it takes to tackle the trade unions, and will therefore let the parastatals continue their slide to disaster.

Michael Bagraim, MP
DA labour spokesperson