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PRESS RELEASE: South Africa, in trying times: Honesty and Direction from the Top

2 October 2019

The 1 September 2019 message ‘From the desk of the President’ received a positive response from the Chief Executive of the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA).

“I admire the President’s openness and honesty. His recognition of the prevailing mood in the country and his acknowledgement of what is required to bring about positive change, is a good start. We will support him, in any way we can, to strengthen his hands in executing this crucial responsibility.” Gerhard Papenfus said.

In his response, Papenfus emphasised the most important points taken from the President’s message, stating that he finds the message “encouraging, especially within the context of current overwhelming uncertainty and discontent.”

In his message, the President, among others, acknowledged the overall deep concern about the state of the economy. He highlighted the stubbornly high rate of unemployment and admitted that government’s finances are stretched “about as far as they can go.”

He further admitted that the concerns of South Africans are real and justified as they are looking for signs of progress in tackling the many challenges facing the country. The President acknowledged that the confidence South Africans had 20 months ago, born out of the hope that the damage that was done over several years would have been dealt with speedily, has dissipated as the reality of the problems we face became clearer.

In his message the President pointed out that the implementation of change takes time, but he stressed the importance that “we” should move in a determined way to effect change, while remaining irrevocably committed to rooting out state capture, corruption and unlawful conduct, especially by public officials.

He emphasised that South Africans have a common task: to rebuild the confidence of our people; this time based not merely on hope and expectation of change, but on concrete actions that will bring about a difference in the economy – real action that will “move the needle.”

“Implementing the National Treasury’s Economic Strategy, a document containing a wealth of wise proposals in order to take South Africa forward, will indicate that there are indeed the intention in government at large, not only the President and a few others, to lift South Africa out of its current predicament”, Papenfus said.

Papenfus added that those who put South Africa first can expect severe opposition from a variety of vested interests – ANC Alliance partners, trade unions in general, nationalists, all kinds of commercial monopolies and, crucially, unenthusiastic politicians and government officials.

“I wish to plead with the proponents of sound economic change, not to retreat in the face of opposition. Taking the right course can no longer be delayed”, Papenfus said.

This is a press release by Gerhard Papenfus, Chief Executive of the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA).

For more information:
NEASA Media Department
Marietha Thirion
marietha@neasa.co.za

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