South African organisations are universal in their calling for President Cyril Ramaphosa to take decisive action around, particularly, South Africa’s constrained power supply, high employment and the state of State-owned enterprises (SOEs).
This comes ahead of Ramaphosa delivering his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) on Thursday evening, which trade union UASA says has often sounded promising in the past but failed to translate into reality.
The union hopes the President will deliver clear and decisive approaches to the issues plaguing the economy, through an increased focus on collaboration between government, business and labour.
UASA recommends that government equip the unemployed youth with skills aligned to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, reduce administration costs, fund more small businesses and tackle crime against children, women and students.
The Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), meanwhile, is calling on the President to deal with the slow pace in addressing policy and political uncertainty in the country.
“Further delays in the implementation of infrastructure projects serves only to decimate our already struggling construction sector,” states CESA CEO Chris Campbell.
He adds that government can use the capacity that exists within the private sector to capacitate the State and to mentor some of the young engineers that are currently employed in the State.
“The Owner’s Engineer concept needs to be embraced as a short-term intervention, as well as secondments from the private sector, to boost public sector capacity. CESA’s members are also willing to volunteer some of their services, within a structured framework, to unlock project opportunities,” says Campbell.
Additionally, CESA has long been calling for an Engineer General to oversee major infrastructure development in the country and the organisation believes the establishment of the Infrastructure and Investment Office will become the de-facto Engineer General in South Africa.
Banking and asset management group Investec notes that with regard to the security of electricity supply, it is expected that the President will say something positive about the renewable energy build programme.
“Markets will also keenly watch for recently voiced African National Congress comments that the courts could be bypassed in the expropriation [of land] without compensation process, and deviation from the President’s previous assurances that only State land, unused land, land on which labour tenants reside and land held for speculative purposes will be considered for expropriation.
“Overall though, this year’s SoNA is not expected to deviate significantly from previous years and could prove market neutral to negative, if none of the key issues for markets highlighted above are decisively addressed.
“Indeed, a lack of a reduction of uncertainty on the key issues would further hamper confidence,” the asset management group states.
Minerals Council South Africa also calls on the President to make announcements around reduced government expenditure and a smaller public wage bill.