President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

The problem with Trudi Makhaya’s column is that it fails to deal with ordinary South Africans’ lived experiences (“Flawed narratives about SA’s economy have real effects”, February 7).

The ordinary experience is one of disintegration and decay. Irrespective of wealth, our experience of Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidency has been of little being done and nothing improving — in fact, only deteriorating — since he came to power.

Our lives are beset by an economy that was tanking before Covid-19 struck. The education system is poor; the ability to start a business is fraught with legal strictures; the obligations on big business are such that local investment is diminishing; and foreigners won’t invest because of a range of limiting factors, top of which is broad-based BEE.

On Sunday, Lisa Steyn reported on an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence that shows mining exploration spending in SA has hit its lowest level in almost two decades (“SA mining exploration at its lowest level since 2002”, February 7).

SAs share of global budgeted exploration spend dropped 20% from $97.4m (R1.4bn) in 2019 to $77.4m in 2020 — its lowest level since 2002.

Coincidently, 2002 was when the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act was passed. Exploration spending that year was $68m. 

It is now abundantly clear that investors in minerals exploration have not responded positively to minister Gwede Mantashes rushed 2018 Mining Charter III, nor President Cyril Ramaphosas entreaties to invest in SA,” said Paul Miller, director of AmaranthCX, which conducted the analysis. This suggests a more fundamental reform of SAs mining investment policy is required.”

The president’s plans are worth nothing if the results don’t benefit society. And they can’t because free markets are an anathema to Ramaphosa and his party. Perhaps Makhaya should get out of the Union Buildings more.

Sara Gon
Institute of Race Relations

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