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President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

Cyril Ramaphosa, as quoted in Thando Maeko’s article, states that reforms will take a while before showing any substantive growth or changes in the SA economy (“Complex reforms will have delayed effect, says Ramaphosa”, May 9).

This is due to the reforms not being nearly enough. They won’t bear fruit, neither sooner nor later, because they aren’t fundamental or substantive.

The current approach to development and economic recovery is for the state to coax the private sector into assisting through partnerships and negotiations, but the state and private sector should never be partners.

The job of the state is to ensure a healthy environment for business, and then step out of the way so the private sector can do its job. In SA, the state has failed to do either.

If Ramaphosa and his government truly want economic growth they need to abandon the notion that it must be state-led. Growth doesn’t come from the state; it comes from private enterprise. The state can only exist as a referee at best, and a parasite at worst.

To enable the private sector to grow, the state needs to introduce fundamental and far-reaching reforms. At a minimum it needs to unbundle and privatise Eskom to ensure a competitive and competent electricity industry, deregulate the labour market to enable healthy employment, and slash import tariffs and taxes across the board.

In essence, the state needs to eliminate its involvement in the economy as much as possible to allow business to fix the mess which, for the most part,  it has caused. Instead, it should focus on eliminating crime and corruption.

Nicholas Woode-Smith, Cape Town

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