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Fundamental economic reforms gathering pace, Ramaphosa says


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Fundamental economic reforms gathering pace, Ramaphosa says

12th June 2023

By: Tasneem Bulbulia
Senior Contributing Editor Online


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The latest report from Operation Vulindlela, a joint project of the Presidency, the National Treasury and other key government departments, outlines progress in implementing far-reaching, long-lasting reforms, President Cyril Ramaphosa posits in his letter to the nation on June 12.

“Many of these reforms are being brought about by legislative and regulatory changes, which may not inspire many people, but which have a substantial impact on people’s lives and the performance of the economy,” he avers.


In terms of energy, Ramaphosa outlines milestones as including the licensing requirement for generation projects of any size having been removed, resulting in more than 100 projects now being in development, representing over 10 000 MW of new generation capacity and R200-billion of private sector investment.

Also, he says a new Ministerial determination has been issued for the procurement of over 14 000 MW of new generation capacity from wind, solar and battery storage.


Tax incentives for rooftop solar are being implemented for businesses and households, which will drive a significant increase in rooftop solar installations, Ramaphosa adds.

He notes that State-owned utility Eskom is being unbundled into separate entities for generation, transmission and distribution; and the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill is being finalised for tabling in Parliament.

These developments are part of establishing, for the first time in South Africa, a competitive market for electricity generation, Ramaphosa says.

He also notes that Eskom’s debt burden is being addressed through R254-billion in debt relief, subject to strict conditions. This will enable the company to make necessary investments in its infrastructure, Ramaphosa avers.

“The poor performance of South Africa’s freight logistics system is the biggest immediate constraint on growth after the electricity shortfall. Progress has been made to address the challenges in ports and rail,” Ramaphosa writes.

He says this includes that Transnet Freight Rail is establishing an independent infrastructure manager to enable transparent and accurate pricing of slots on the freight rail network and create a level playing field between public and private rail operators; partnerships with private terminal operators at the Durban and Ngqura container terminals to be finalised soon; and a National Logistics Crisis Committee has been established to improve the performance of ports and rail in the immediate term and drive the implementation of a Freight Logistics Roadmap into the future.

Ramaphosa adds that, importantly, key industry players and other stakeholders are involved in this work.

Regarding reforms in telecommunications, Ramaphosa posits that the completion of the spectrum auction in April 2022 has unlocked significant new investment and will enable expanded network access and reduced data costs.

He adds that the gazetting of a Rapid Deployment Policy and Policy Direction, as well as a standard draft by-law for wayleave approvals, will help to accelerate the rollout of telecommunications infrastructure such as fibre and towers.

Also, a final date for the switch-off of analogue transmission will soon be gazetted to complete the digital migration process across the country.

Five provinces, namely, the Free State, Northern Cape, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, have already undergone the migration and are receiving television broadcast on the digital platform.

Reforms in the water sector, meanwhile, include that the proportion of water-use licence applications processed within 90 days has increased to 70% from 35%. Government is targeting a further improvement to 80% of all applications, Ramaphosa informs.

He posits that this is assisting in accelerating investment in sectors like mining, agriculture, forestry and infrastructure.

Ramaphosa indicates that the Blue Drop, Green Drop and No Drop water quality monitoring system has been reinstated. This enables intervention where municipalities are failing to meet minimum norms and standards for water service delivery, he explains.

Also, a Water Partnerships Office has been established to support private sector involvement in areas such as water re-use, improving wastewater treatment, desalination projects and improving rural water services.

On immigration reform, the Department of Home Affairs is implementing far-reaching reforms that will make the work visa system more agile and responsive to the realities of the new world of work and attract higher numbers of tourists, Ramaphosa outlines.

“The reforms being implemented now will have a real effect. For example, when we concluded the successful spectrum auction last year, the country’s biggest telecom operators noted that this would ‘supercharge’ efforts to expand coverage to the population and grow the economy.

The GSM Association, an international telecoms industry body, estimates for instance that by 2030, over 90% of South Africans will have fourth- or fifth-generation access,” Ramaphosa highlights. 


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