Cyril must make like the Boks and show some spine to fix SA

Ideas

Cyril must make like the Boks and show some spine to fix SA

FREE TO READ | His team wasted the chance to effect change after Zuma. Now they have 18 months or we’re junk again

Columnist

The nicest thing about President Cyril Ramaphosa and most of his team is that you don’t have to waste time explaining basic concepts. In the Jacob Zuma years most people who had solid ideas about creating jobs and growing investments were stuck in meetings explaining basic concepts to the Nkandla man and his retinue of yes-men and women: don’t get into debt (it went from 28% debt to GDP under Trevor Manuel to over 50% in nine years); don’t appoint cronies to state-owned enterprises (remember Eskom under Dr Ben Ngubane and SAA under Dudu Myeni); don’t steal; and so forth and so on.

If you discount the sheer madness of the Ramaphosa crowd’s National Health Insurance talk, most people in the Ramaphosa team know what’s right. The problem with the Ramaphosa crowd is not their brains. It’s their spines. They have abundant supplies of brains but their spines  turn to jelly at the first sighting of a trade unionist or a Politics 101 student in a red onesie. They don’t know how to stand their ground and implement.

That is why, on Friday evening just before the inspirational Springbok triumph over England, ratings agency Moody’s lowered its outlook on SA’s credit rating from stable to negative. The red light has been flashing for ages for SA’s spineless leaders, but this latest Moody’s move means that the country has a mere 18 months to fix its problems before being dumped to junk status. In fact, Moody’s has been more than generous with us. The two other ratings agencies, S&P Global and Fitch, lowered the country to junk status in 2017...

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