Ramaphosa Woos Investors With Vow to Tackle South African Graft
(Bloomberg) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his administration is committed to fighting corruption and fixing troubled state companies, but progress will take time.
Since succeeding Jacob Zuma as president two months ago, Ramaphosa has been on a drive to convince investors of his commitment to reverse years of economic stagnation, policy uncertainty and the plunder of state funds. He’s fired some of Zuma’s ministers and replaced the boards of the state power utility, passenger rail agency and state weapons company.
“We are putting in place measures to clean up,” Ramaphosa said in a speech at Bloomberg’s offices in London where he is attending a Commonwealth summit. “It’s going to take some time but we are at it.”
Ramaphosa is seeking $100 billion in new investment and this week named four “envoys,” namely former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, former Standard Bank Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Jacko Maree and Astrapak Ltd. Ltd. Chairwoman Phumzile Langeni, to travel the world seeking commitments.
Total fixed investment in South Africa declined to about 19 percent of gross domestic product last year, from 24 percent in 2008, with foreign direct investment dropping to 17.6 billion rand ($1.5 billion) from 76 billion rand over the period, government data shows.
Ramaphosa said his government will tackle the thorny issue of land ownership without disrupting the economy. His ruling African National Congress agreed in December to back land seizures.
“We won’t damage the economy,” he said. “The land drive should not lead to a reduction in agricultural production or endanger food production.”
After 24 years of democratic rule, it’s time to address land hunger among black South Africans, he said.
“We have not moved quickly enough in addressing the question of land,” Ramaphosa said.
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