President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Jerome Delay/Pool via REUTERS
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Jerome Delay/Pool via REUTERS

If President Cyril Ramaphosa intends to keep the faltering flicker of co-operation between business, labour and government alive, his administration had better wake up.

It’s no good telling SA that you’re very sorry, but there’s no money to support businesses — or their staff — that have been cut off at the knees by the blanket alcohol ban, a strict curfew, and the nonsensical decision to keep beaches closed.

That Ramaphosa could glibly say this, while maintaining a bloated cabinet of 28 ministers, as well as deputy ministers, directors-general and deputy DGs, along with a VIP protection service racket, is to court anguish and wrath among SA’s increasingly desperate citizens. Yet these are the same businesses expected to "bite the bullet", as the National Treasury put it so bluntly this week, and stump up more tax to fund a mass vaccine rollout.

The contract between taxpayer and government should be a straightforward and respectful quid pro quo: the state is paid money which it is obliged to use to render services for its population.

But the government has broken its part of the deal by curbing the conditions under which companies can operate, then telling them they’re on their own. To call for companies to then pay more to mitigate the government’s nondelivery is a sign of contempt for business. Respect, Mr President, is a two-way street.

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