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Immediate, bold action needed

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What South Africa demands of Ramaphosa is bold action to reverse the country’s decline

President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to solve Africas problems, but is unable to solve those in his own country. Picture: Elmond Jiyane / GCIS

TOMORROW evening, barring any drama, inside the National Assembly President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his third State of the Nation address.

The heady enthusiasm that greeted him in February 2018, after the forced resignation of president Jacob Zuma, has all but evaporated.

Two years since he came to power, promising a New Dawn, Ramaphosa seems to be still finding his way while trying to navigate the treacherous internal politics of the ANC and the Tripartite Alliance.

South Africans are demanding he fulfil the promises he made two years ago. Instead, we have seen decline across all areas, from the economy to service delivery and employment prospects.

Unlike his predecessor who had no interest in leading the country, if not for the patronage he could dispense, Ramaphosa has to be South Africa’s biggest cheerleader while at the same time being unflinching when it comes to administering the bitter medicine the country so badly needs.

But last week when the business rescue practitioners, in charge of embattled national carrier SAA, announced that they would rationalise the airline’s routes to save much-needed cash and ensure the airline’s survival, Ramaphosa’s government baulked.

The resistance to the business rescue practitioners’ plans for SAA might have just been part of an elaborate political theatre for audiences inside the Tripartite Alliance, but it sends a bad message to private international investors who are considering equity stakes in some of the troubled state-owned entities.

Listening to the evidence at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture shows how deeply entrenched and part of the organisational culture corruption had become at state-owned entities.

South Africans are demanding action from those who looted the VBS Mutual Bank, to the former bosses at the SOEs who benefited through the criminal maladministration.

Instead of donning the orange overalls of Correctional Services, some of those implicated in malfeasance have become emboldened because of the inaction of law enforcement authorities.

What South Africa demands of Ramaphosa is bold action to reverse the country’s decline.

Failure to act now will have devastating consequences.