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Appointing minister of electricity is a bad idea, Business Unity SA

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Business Unity South Africa (Busa) says the appointment of a minister for electricity in the office of the president is a bad idea.

Busa was reacting to the state of the nation address (Sona) delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday evening.

“It must be seen as a low point in the life of our society that mismanagement and lack of governance has created circumstances in which a state of disaster has to be declared. We believe the appointment of a minister for electricity in the office of the president is a bad idea that will add to confusion and turf wars rather than solve the problem.

“It is yet another example of failure to take bold decisions and opting instead for the soft but expensive option of adding another ministry rather than holding those ministers responsible for the crisis accountable,” Busa CEO Cas Coovadia said.

Business is concerned about the potential for a repeat of the corruption seen under the Covid-19 state of disaster, though “we welcome the announcement that the auditor-general will oversee the use of resources”.

“We also welcome the president referring to economic opportunities in an effective just transition pathway. One of the positive ideas from the president is the indication that he will establish a structure for social partners to engage in the crises.

“These include the energy crisis, the logistics crisis, the law-and-order crisis, the water crisis and the governance crisis. We welcome the president’s acknowledgment of these crises and for outlining measures to address them.

“The speech provided no detail of how the government plans to work with stakeholders such as business and we expect that the details will be provided in his response to the Sona debate next week,” Coovadia said.

However, this is where the “better late than never” issue is problematic.

“All these positive developments should have been announced four years ago and implemented then, something business has consistently been calling for. If the embedded energy ceiling had been lifted four years ago, when business called for it, the energy environment would be looking very different today.

“The Sona, in our opinion, does not instil confidence that the structure of government is operating efficiently, and lack of performance and delivery will be held to account. We will follow progress on the announcements made but emphasise the critical focus must be on an enabling environment for investment and growth creation. Everything must be measured against that.

“We also await the restructuring of government to see if the president appoints a capable and lean cabinet that is fully aligned behind his vision and ministers are held accountable if they are not aligned.

“The priority areas remain energy, law and order, logistics and water. Business continues to urge government to work with us to implement quick solutions to these crises,” he said.

Source: TimesLIVE

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