Cape Town – The wheels in South Africa have not come off and it will just be a matter of time before the country once again emerges as a jewel, said Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday.
He was responding to oral questions in the National Assembly about South Africa’s recent slide in the World Economic Forum Competitiveness Index, dropping 14 positions to number 61.
Ramaphosa initially said the economic downturn has seen a contraction in investment flows into South Africa. “There’s a global trend from investors to rather invest locally and in traditionally developed markets. South Africa is not immune to that.”
He did however acknowledge that corruption, crime and governance instability have also caused South Africa’s slide on the index. “We therefore need to tackle corruption and address governance challenges urgently and strengthen efforts to promote investment.”
Cabinet reshuffle ‘sends message of instability’
Responding to follow-up questions about President Jacob Zuma’s latest Cabinet reshuffle, Ramaphosa conceded that ratings agencies downgraded South Africa as a result of instability. “When they look at us, they see corruption, crime and instability.
“And truth be told, we must admit that the Cabinet reshuffle has added to the narrative of instability as the latest changes have been effected only a few months after the last one (in March).”
On Tuesday Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet for the second time in seven months, moving key ministers such as Ayanda Dlodlo (Communications) to Home Affairs, and Mmamoloko Kubayi (Energy) to Communications. The most controversial appointment was former intelligence minister David Mahlobo to the position of energy minister, in what many believe is a ploy to get South Africa’s nuclear build programme back on track.
Ramaphosa however believes the pillars of democracy and what has made South Africa are still in place. “All we need to do is to realise we’re hitting rock bottom and now we need to move up again. If we can do that, this country will start rising again in world rankings. We can only go one way – up.”
Fin24 earlier reported that corruption was cited as one of the biggest obstacles in creating a competitive business environment in South Africa. The country’s overall ranking at 61st out of 137 countries is its worst since 2007.
It is now only the third highest ranked sub-Saharan African country, with Mauritius taking top spot at 45th and Rwanda coming in second at 58th.
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