Phosa: SA’s negative defining moments. Political spin won’t avoid ‘junk’ cliff.

It’ fascinating how staring down the barrel of a gun unionises those involved. The barrel in this scenario is South Africa’s ‘imminent’ step towards junk status. The implications of this have been discussed at length but what it has done is focus the majority of those involved onto one single object. One just wonders why it took so long. Matthews Phosa is former premier of Mpumalanga and member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee. His plea is for leadership in government to stand up, which was preceded by a meeting between Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and 60-odd business leaders last week. Phosa says Government must listen to the nation and admit to its mistakes. “The lack of policy leadership and cohesion will send international investment elsewhere.” One can argue the time for talk is over, the only way for South Africa to avoid the economic cliff is to start implementing changes that’ll serve the country’s interests and not those of individuals. – Stuart Lowman

By Jenni Evans, News24

Cape Town – Leaders in South Africa should shape up or the International Monetary Fund would be knocking at their door, ANC politician Mathews Phosa said on Tuesday.

“And you don’t want that. It’s misery,” said Phosa. “You are not allowed to take a loan without them saying yes or no.”

Phosa said South Africa had been headed for great things after the first democratic elections of 1994 and deserved to congratulate itself, but things had changed.

Negative defining moments for the country were the shootings at Marikana, President Jacob Zuma’s home in Nkandla, the case of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, and Eskom’s load shedding.

File photo. South Africa's President and leader of the ruling ANC party Jacob Zuma (C) greets his supporters as he arrives for the launch of his party's election manifesto at Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit. REUTERS/Ihsaan Haffejee
File photo. South Africa’s President and leader of the ruling ANC party Jacob Zuma (C) greets his supporters as he arrives for the launch of his party’s election manifesto at Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit. REUTERS/Ihsaan Haffejee

These, and the expansion of the executive to a “bloated” 70 members and the removal of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, all happened in close succession.

Any criticism is interpreted as coming from the enemy, or from racists, he continued.

He said the governing party and government should listen to the nation, admit its mistakes and correct them.

Read also: Pravin’s Pledge: I’ll defend SA credit rating – we cannot afford to lose it

“Fearless questions need to be raised about our leadership when such actions lead to the global impoverishment of our political and economic currency.”

For starters, the government should tell the truth about why Nene was pulled and Des van Rooyen temporarily put in his place until Pravin Gordhan was brought back to his old position as Finance Minister. “We need the facts about these decisions and we need them soonest. Unsubstantiated political spin will not keep us from approaching the economic cliff.”

With a drought and other global economic events, the country needed to be prepared for what may happen. The government should also refrain from turning university councils into Parent Teacher Associations because meddling in their affairs would influence their international ranking and students would suffer.

Read also: Tito Mboweni: Why SA needs to fight ‘junk’ status with all we’ve got

To bring investor confidence back, government would have to implement sound fiscal and monetary policies. He said a lack of policy leadership and policy cohesion would send investors elsewhere.

But, in spite of this criticism, Phosa said he would still vote for the ANC.

“Where individual leaders make a mistake, we should say we are making mistakes. “So relax, I will vote ANC. It is individuals who are corrupt, not the ANC.”

Phosa, a lawyer, was secretary general of the ANC and premier of Mpumalanga. – News24


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