President Cyril Ramaphosa Photo: (ANA) Africa News Agency file

Ramaphosa not afraid of new ideas to help South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has told academics that national government needs their help in order to turn the South African economy around.


President Cyril Ramaphosa Photo: (ANA) Africa News Agency file

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on research and academic institutions to provide data, planning models, and ideas to help address structural faults in the country’s economy.

Ramaphosa was speaking at a conference convened by the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection and the University of Johannesburg to mark 25 years of democracy.

He said that while tremendous strides had been taken by South Africa in certain areas since democracy was achieved in 1994, overall progress was being stunted by stagnant growth, declining investment, maladministration, and corruption.

“As I said in the state of the nation address a few weeks ago, this is a government that is not afraid of new ideas, and of new ways of thinking,” he said.

“We want to work with you, and for you to challenge us, to bring added rigour to the work of government.”

Economic crisis

According to the President, when the African National Congress took over in 1994 it was immediately faced by an economic crisis caused by an enormous fiscal debt built up by the apartheid government.

“Through sound macroeconomic management and, to some extent, the benefits of a democratic dividend, we succeeded in turning around public finances and setting the country on an improved growth path,” he said.

“Over the course of the last 25 years, however, we have been less successful in addressing the structural faults in our economy.

“As a 2018 report published by the South African Institute of Race Relations notes, we are sometimes too modest about our achievements.”

Ramaphosa calls for unity

However, Ramaphosa is not blind to the problems the country still faces.

“Our economy is in a crisis. Corruption has steadily eroded the state’s capacity to meet people’s needs and is worsening a trust deficit between government and the citizenry,” he said.

“We need to work together to improve the current state of affairs, to aid in nation building and the forging of a common national identity.”