Roger Baxter Minerals Council South Africa

Ahead of South Africa’s State of the Nation Address and the annual National Budget speech, the Minerals Council is urging President Ramaphosa to set the required direction on the way forward in decisively addressing the country’s myriad challenges.

“South Africa cannot afford otherwise. It has to be Action, Action and Action,” says Minerals Council CEO Baxter, adding that these Parliamentary events are going to provide powerful signals on whether South Africa is serious about addressing the economic and governance crises facing the country.

The South African economy is in an unprecedented economic crisis, and in the longest economic downswing since 1945. In this, the most significant State of the Nation Address (SONA) since the dawn of democracy, the Minerals Council calls on President Ramaphosa to signal clear direction and action on critical issues.

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South Africa cannot afford otherwise. It has to be Action, Action and Action,” says Minerals Council CEO Baxter, adding that these Parliamentary events are going to provide powerful signals on whether South Africa is serious about addressing the economic and governance crises facing the country.

The South African economy is in an unprecedented economic crisis, and in the longest economic downswing since 1945. In this, the most significant State of the Nation Address (SONA) since the dawn of democracy, the Minerals Council calls on President Ramaphosa to signal clear direction and action on critical issues.

While the Minerals Council understands that the President is being buffeted by a variety of perspectives from a range of constituencies, it is urging that the President use his powers of persuasion to impress upon all citizens the seriousness of the situation and, where appropriate, the need for radical measures to repair the damage done to South Africa since 2009 and to create a new foundation for growth and development.”

The Minerals Council is looking for signals in the SONA from President Ramaphosa around critical action and decisions to turn State-owned enterprises (SOEs) around, or dispose of them where there is no strategic reason for their continued state ownership.

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The Council would also like to hear the President open the way to a conservative 2020 National Budget, including the reigning in of public service wages and wasteful expenditure.

“There should be no more bailouts of any SOEs unless strict conditions are set that would remedy governance and efficiency shortcomings,” says Baxter.

Baxter further said that while it would be improper for the President to interfere in the work of the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA), it is critical that he signal that government, like most citizens, is anxious to see the prosecutions being brought against not only all those involved in state capture, but also the private sector leaders involved in high profile instances of alleged fraud.

“It is unnecessary to wait for the Zondo Commission to complete its work. To empower the NPA to move rapidly, the President should direct the Finance Minister to allocate an extra R1 billion to the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute these cases,” he says.

Moreover, as part of a growth strategy and re-establishing confidence, the President needs to indicate that government is to allow private concessions in key areas of economic infrastructure, such as electricity, rail and ports – including, of course, self-power generation – and materially reducing red-tape on business is required.

In light of the unprecedented deterioration in the security situation facing the mining sector, the Minerals Council also looks forward to hearing about specific measures to establish a specialised mining police task force to tackle the serious crime affecting the mining sector.

While the Minerals Council understands that the President is being buffeted by a variety of perspectives from a range of constituencies, it is urging that the President use his powers of persuasion to impress upon all citizens the seriousness of the situation and, where appropriate, the need for radical measures to repair the damage done to South Africa since 2009 and to create a new foundation for growth and development.”

The Minerals Council is looking for signals in the SONA from President Ramaphosa around critical action and decisions to turn State-owned enterprises (SOEs) around, or dispose of them where there is no strategic reason for their continued state ownership.

The Council would also like to hear the President open the way to a conservative 2020 National Budget, including the reigning in of public service wages and wasteful expenditure.

“There should be no more bailouts of any SOEs unless strict conditions are set that would remedy governance and efficiency shortcomings,” says Baxter.

Baxter further said that while it would be improper for the President to interfere in the work of the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA), it is critical that he signal that government, like most citizens, is anxious to see the prosecutions being brought against not only all those involved in state capture, but also the private sector leaders involved in high profile instances of alleged fraud.

“It is unnecessary to wait for the Zondo Commission to complete its work. To empower the NPA to move rapidly, the President should direct the Finance Minister to allocate an extra R1 billion to the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute these cases,” he says.

Moreover, as part of a growth strategy and re-establishing confidence, the President needs to indicate that government is to allow private concessions in key areas of economic infrastructure, such as electricity, rail and ports – including, of course, self-power generation – and materially reducing red-tape on business is required.

In light of the unprecedented deterioration in the security situation facing the mining sector, the Minerals Council also looks forward to hearing about specific measures to establish a specialised mining police task force to tackle the serious crime affecting the mining sector.