JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa today told local and international investors that South Africa’s economy would be in ‘top gear’ as he assured them that the turn around at state-owned power utility Eskom would bear fruit.
Ramaphosa said the government was working to ensure the economy created jobs, a day after Statistics South Africa yesterday painted a bleak picture of increasing unemployment in the first quarter of 2019.
“We want to not only change gears but get into top gear,” Ramaphosa told fund managers during the Goldman Sachs conference held in Johannesburg.
Statistics South Africa said first-quarter unemployment rose to 27.6 per cent from 27.1 per cent in the previous quarter as the construction sector buckled under pressure.
Ramaphosa also said problems of governance, management and corruption were being addressed at state-owned entities including Eskom and state-owned logistics company Transnet.
“We have had financial challenges. Eskom is the only company in the history of South Africa that has a debt of R400 billion. It is a problem we have to address. Eskom is too big to fail,” Ramaposa said.
Ramaphosa has been leading efforts to revive the economy including a target to raise R100 billion in investment over the five years. Ramaphosa also hosted a jobs summit and announced a stimulus package in which government will reprioritise about R50-billion of its existing budget to reignite economic growth and create jobs.