South Africa Opposition Leader Says He’s Ready to Work With Ramaphosa
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa knows what needs to be done to rescue the beleaguered economy but has to deal decisively with the people in his own party who are obstructing progress, according to the leader of the biggest opposition party.
Ramaphosa has announced plans to restructure the indebted state power utility, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., and has spoken of the need to cut government costs and improve efficiency at state-owned companies. He has hit a wall of opposition from his labor union allies and has been regularly contradicted by senior members of the ruling African National Congress.
“The enemies of growth don’t sit across from him, they sit behind him in Parliament,” John Steenhuisen, the newly elected leader of the Democratic Alliance, told reporters Tuesday at Bloomberg’s office in Johannesburg. “Our party stands ready to reach across the aisle.”
Steenhuisen said an economic policy paper presented by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Aug. 27 was “shot down” by Ramaphosa’s allies even though it was the clearest document he’d seen from government in a decade. He bemoaned the indecision over how to run South African Airways, where workers are on strike.
“Shut it down. The state has no business running airlines,” he said. “We’ve got to stop throwing huge amounts of money into this inefficient airline.”
Monday’s surprise appointment of the chief executive officer of a packaging company as Eskom’s top executive was described as “odd” and destined for failure unless he’s allowed to reorganize the company.
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