It is business that creates value, Mr President, not government

Once again, President Cyril Ramaphosa has failed to acknowledge a key truth that would unlock so much benefit: it is business that creates value, not government.

Rag trade revival: Noting that the suit he had chosen to wear for his State of the Nation address in Parliament was made 'down the road in Salt River', President Cyril Ramaphosa called on South Africans to Buy local.

In his State of the Nation speech (Sona) in Parliament on Thursday June 20 the President outlined a grand vision of growth and progress that included very little detail of how it would be achieved. We have been here before many times, so why are we all surprised? 

Look at two behemoths of our local landscape: Naspers and Eskom. These two might even be balanced in terms of input to the economy: one creates, the other destroys. Government should govern and business should do business. In the main, business creates commercially viable jobs, not government.   

The ‘Buy Local’ campaign is, in principle, a great idea. Let's buy local, let's support local producers and stop importing all that overpriced rubbish from elsewhere. But the government must do its part too by making it easier to 'Make Local' by providing infrastructure, creating policy certainty and a generally safe and stable environment, and then stepping aside. 

We must be globally competitive otherwise we risk a communist-type economy where people long for Levi jeans.

Government can make doing business easier, which is another broad ideal that President Ramaphosa referred to in his Sona speech. We await detail. We need sanity metrics rather than vanity metrics, like business committing to invest R840billion over five years. 

We need to prioritise our key problems with Smart (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based) objectives to address them, rather than list every problem South Africa (and most other countries) face. 

We see how bad things are, we have agreed on where we want to be, what we need now is some information on how we will get there. It is your move, President Ramaphosa.

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