EDITORIAL: Cyril’s investment dream team has work cut out
What investors need most, if they are to put money into ventures for five or 30 years, is certainty
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s new investment drive, aimed at raising US$100bn over the next five years, has the ring of getting down to business. It makes sense to catch the wave of positive sentiment triggered by his election. Few will argue with his obvious view that "new investment in the productive sectors of the economy is vital".
But the reason investment hasn’t flowed is not just the misrule under his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.
It has more to do with the lack of policy certainty. As ANC factions feud, policy — from land and agriculture to mining and energy — is up in the air. What investors need most, if they are to put money into ventures for five or 30 years, is certainty. In this sense, perhaps, Ramaphosa has put the cart before the horse.
The "three lions and a lioness" — Trevor Manuel, Mcebisi Jonas, Jacko Maree and Phumzile Langeni — he has appointed to "trawl the world to hunt down investments" make an impressive team. And while it would be unrealistic for investors to expect all the boxes to be ticked, they will want to know that the economy is investor friendly. This means clarity on property rights, Eskom’s reliability and the mining charter. They know Ramaphosa is politically constrained and trying to root out corruption. But they will want more than fine words to invest in this country.