President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the opening remarks at the South African Investment Conference. Picture: WALDO SWIEGERS/GALLO IMAGES
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the opening remarks at the South African Investment Conference. Picture: WALDO SWIEGERS/GALLO IMAGES

“The tumult and the shouting have died down, the captains and the kings depart,” and the investment circus has left town. While in principle the conference is a good idea, the problem is that you have to have something to sell first.

What President Cyril Ramaphosa is trying to do is to make progress by putting his foot on the accelerator, which is fine as long as you also take your foot off the brake. At least it has been lifted by 1mm in the form of easing the visa requirement for minors, which will help the tourism industry.

However, there needs to be centimetres of lift off the brake pedal, most noticeably over the Mining Charter and expropriation without compensation. The first person brave enough to publicly raise these topics, in a very quiet way, was Piet Mouton of PSG two Sundays ago.

If you want to know whether a situation is fair, change places with the other party and see what it feels like from there. Would you invest in something if (a) you had to give up 30% of your investment, (b) you face the possibility of having it taken away from you without compensation, and (c) you then find it is very difficult to find people with the required skills?

But first have something that is sellable.

Eric Carter
Via e-mail