South Africa Risks Becoming a Failed State, Warn Business Leaders

South African flag (file image).

Big business supported Cyril Ramaphosa when he threw his hat in the ring for the ANC presidency in 2017. But the goodwill around him is fading fast.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's management of the economy over the past five years has come under intense criticism, with prominent business leaders warning that he is fast running out of time to turn South Africa's economic fortunes around.

In recent weeks, more business executives from several industries, including Ralph Mupita of MTN, Gareth Ackerman of Pick n Pay, Sim Tshabalala of Standard Bank, Chris Schutte of Astral Foods and Hendrik du Toit of Ninety One, have sounded the alarm, even suggesting that SA risks becoming a failed state.

The reason business leaders are exasperated with Ramaphosa's presidency is that it has failed to stem the tide of rolling blackouts and also failed to move with speed in implementing pro-growth and investment reforms in sectors such as rail, water and electricity.

Schutte, who runs SA's biggest poultry producer, was withering in his assessment of Ramaphosa's administration and its inability to ease electricity blackouts, which are pushing businesses to prepare for a total collapse of the grid. Schutte used the word gatvol (fed up) to describe how frustrated he was with the government's inability to provide electricity and water, which "Astral Foods and many businesses in South Africa pay for through taxes".


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