Congratulations Mr President: Business

Friday, February 16, 2018

Business has welcomed the appointment of the country’s new President Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“We welcome the appointment of Cyril Ramaphosa as President of South Africa. This is a pivotal moment for the country,” said the Banking Association of South Africa.

President Ramaphosa will deliver the SONA during a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) at 7pm tonight.

President Ramaphosa was sworn in as President at a packed Media Centre in the Presidency precinct at Tuynhuys on Thursday evening.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng officiated the swearing in of the President following his election in the National Assembly earlier in the day.

President Ramaphosa was elected as the fifth President of democratic South Africa following unprecedented political events in the country, which culminated in the resignation of Jacob Zuma as President on Wednesday night.

“Since Mr Ramaphosa assumed office as President of the ANC, there have been encouraging signs that the government is willing and able to tackle corruption and bad governance, in the state and private sector.

“While he will have our full support in any effort to improve the lives of all South Africans, we will continue to be vigilant and to work with other business organisations and broader civil society to protect the rule of law and advance good governance in the country,” said the association.

It said it looks forward to the tabling of the 2018 Budget on Wednesday, which it said will be an important marker for the new administration.

“We accept that there are no easy choices to be made and that more demands will be placed on all South Africans to repair the damage done to the economy in the past ten years. As the banking sector, we are ready to play our part.”

The banking association stressed the importance of avoiding a further credit rating downgrade after the presentation of the Budget, adding that the budget will have to consider how government can increase tax receipts and broaden the tax base.

“Downgrades would mean the state would have to pay more interest on its loans, and less funds would be available for social development and other essential programmes. We agree that the Budget must focus on job creation and economic growth, but our fiscal boundaries and expenditure ceiling must be respected. Two percent growth or more is achievable if South Africa can provide policy certainty and overcome its implementation deficit.”

The association wished the President and the Finance Minister well in the coming months.

“We will work with them in good faith to make the best of this opportunity to revive the economy and renew our country, with the goal of establishing a virtuous circle of good governance, growth, investment and employment.”

Economic prospects

Meanwhile, the South African Chamber of Commerce (SACCI) congratulated the National Assembly and its officials for once again displaying maturity in their leadership in seeing the country through a difficult period.

“South Africa continues to shine as a beacon of hope in the management of constitutional democratic processes.”

SACCI said the appointment of a new President comes at a time when the country is faced with high unemployment levels especially of the youth.

“The dire situation of unemployment affecting youth is a serious problem that requires urgent attention,” it said, adding that international investors and rating agencies are watching developments within the country closely.

“The international investors and ratings agencies are watching South Africa and we dare not take this golden opportunity for granted, to restore the much needed confidence,” said SACCI.

The chamber urged all stakeholders to put the interests of the country first. “We all need to put the interests of the country first,” said the chamber on Friday.

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