#SONA2019: Ramaphosa ‘should be in crisis mode’

As Cyril Ramaphosa prepares to make his State of the Nation speech in Parliament on Thursday June 20, Steven Nathan, the founder of the disruptive asset manager 10X Investments, said what he would like to see from the president was a crisis plan.

“He should be in crisis mode,” Nathan said. “The country is in crisis.”

“Things are getting worse, fast,” said Nathan. Our finances are getting worse, look at the tax receipts. The liabilities of Eskom are in the hundreds of billions of rand. We need a crisis response.”

“We all hoped for radical action after the election, but it feels like there is still a lot of electioneering and not much action at all yet.”

“I hope Thursday’s speech will begin to remedy that.”

Nathan said he wanted to see less rhetoric and more decisive action, “rather than talking, some concrete action”.

He suggested Ramaphosa started with State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs): “Dealing decisively with SOEs, such as South African Airways, would be a good start.”

Nathan added: “It should be easier to address the problems at SOEs as they have commercial motives, unlike governmental departments, and should be run along commercially sensible and measurable benchmarks.”

He added: “If we could get some commercial benchmarks for SAA, for example, and get some tangible actions towards implementing those that would be a very positive step. It would signal government’s intent to actually correct things, to address these issues, rather than more political rhetoric that doesn’t translate into actions and doesn’t translate into results and a better country for all South Africans.”

As for those who say that Ramaphosa’s hands are tied, that he was being held back by others around him, Nathan said: “The role of a leader is to surround himself with the right people for the right reasons, not the wrong people for the wrong reasons.”

He also brushed aside calls for patience and arguments that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.

He concluded that the time had come for Ramaphosa to stamp his authority on the government and focus on kick-starting the inclusive growth that South Africa so desperately needed.

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