- President Cyril Ramaphosa must stamp his authority and lead from the front, according to an analyst
-The ruling ANC cannot be trusted with turning the situation around, in Dawie Roodt's opinion
- Poor South Africans are likely to become even poorer as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic
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By Wisely Manzini: Analyst
As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc, causing a visible economic dent globally, repairing the damage caused by the raging pandemic would take between five to 10 years for South Africa.
This is the view of Efficient Group’s economist, Dawie Roodt, who has been following the economic dent inflicted by the pandemic with keen interest.
The pandemic has not only taken peoples’ lives but it has also led to a financial twist of fortune for many South Africans, plunging them into the abyss of poverty. Inevitably, this has impacted badly on the country’s already-struggling economy.
The downside of this is that it’s going to be a major test for the 29% unemployed South Africans to get jobs. In fact, Roodt aptly summed it up by saying:
“I’m afraid we will see a massive increase in poverty this year and that is likely to persist for much longer.”
The country’s economy contracted by 2% before the pandemic pounced earlier this year, said Roodt.
READ ALSO: Ramaphosa confronts ANC over Covid-19 corruption: 'Accused No.1'
In retaliation to the pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Cabinet placed the country on lockdown in March. Quizzed whether the ANC-led government is capable of pulling the country from the verge, Roodt responded with an emphatic ‘no’.
“There is a leadership question, we don’t know who is in charge whether it is Luthuli House (ANC party headquarters), or perhaps the cabinet. I cannot answer that because I don’t know,” explained Roodt.
In countering the spread of Covid-19, the government supplied what is known as personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks. Instead, some ANC members allegedly dipped their hands in the PPE cookie jar.
Evidence of the alleged irregular PPE procurement amounting to millions of rands was thrust into the spotlight.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko and her husband, Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko, the disputed amaBhaca king, are among those implicated.
This evidently raised the ire of many South Africans who are already grappling with the lack of decent jobs. In return, they accused the leadership of the ANC of sauntering aimlessly to oblivion.
Also the woes besetting the power utility, Eskom- largest producer of electricity in Africa - are also likely to make it difficult for the country to rise from the ruins of Covid-19 pandemic.
“The lack of electricity is likely to probably keep a cap on the economic growth to the tune of 1%. So, it’s unlikely that the economy can grow much larger than 1%,” predicted Roodt.
He argues that the infighting in the ruling ANC compounds the tragedy facing South Africans.
Roodt said this presented an opportunity for Ramaphosa to show that he is in charge.
“He must take control of the government and decide what he stands for, ideologically. There are a lot of criminals even in his cabinet,” he said.
Dr Azar Jammine, a chief economist at Econometrix, echoed similar sentiments.
“The trouble is that some corrupt parts of the ANC are not allowing the other part of the ANC to do what is needed,” he said.
Like Roodt, Jammine said Ramaphosa must stamp his authority as the president.
“For ordinary citizens this means that they would become more and more impoverished and find it more and more difficult to have a decent job. It’s not a very nice picture. Sadly, the politicians are thinking about themselves rather than the ordinary man on the street,” charged Jammine.
Juxtapose Covid-19 to the great depression during the late 1920s to the early ‘30s, which lasted for 43 months, and the global recession in 2008, it’s clear that the pandemic will leave deep financial scars.
A senior ANC member who is not authorised to speak to the media said the party has “scored unnecessary own goals”.
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa described Covid-19 corruption as an 'unforgivable betrayal' amid the crisis that is the pandemic.
Ramaphosa released a letter issued to the ANC saying that the ruling party remains deeply implicated when it comes to SA's corruption. The real victims at the moment, explained Ramaphosa, are the millions of citizens affected by the virus:
“What has caused the greatest outrage is that there are private sector companies and individuals (including civil servants) who have exploited a grave medical, social and economic crisis to wrongfully enrich themselves. This is an unforgivable betrayal for the millions of South Africans who are being negatively affected by the impact of Covid-19, experiencing hunger daily, hopelessness and joblessness.”
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