ARMED with the political mandate it got from the electorate last week, the African National Congress (ANC) on Sunday said it would move quickly to restore investor confidence in South Africa.
With key ally the South African Communist Party (SACP) toeing the line and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) seemingly in disarray, it looks like there is no stopping the ANC.
On Sunday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the election was vital to reviving investor confidence, which had taken a knock as a result of frequent and prolonged strikes and allegations of corruption.
The ANC is now primed to push forward with its implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP), which President Jacob Zuma affirmed on Saturday. Mr Zuma said the majority vote given to the ANC gave it the “green light” to proceed with the plan.
ANC head of elections and Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba told the media briefing on Sunday that investors “know that the victory of the ANC means the continuity of the NDP, the R1 -trillion infrastructure roll-out, as well as the continuation of industrialisation”.
Speaking at the same briefing in Johannesburg, Mr Mantashe said there was a basket of issues that investors looked at before making a decision about the economic climate in a country. Investor confidence was not “like opening and closing a tap of water”.
Mr Mantashe gave a hint of what to expect from Mr Zuma’s Cabinet appointments, saying they would add another layer of certainty to the country’s economic trajectory over the next five years. “We are creating certainty,” he said.
Opposition to e-tolls in Gauteng was “misplaced and the debate emotional”, Mr Mantashe said. Arguments against e-tolling did not take cognisance of the world-class infra-structure needed in Gauteng, the country’s economic hub.
“The black middle class must appreciate that it is at the hub of the economy of the country,” Mr Mantashe said. “It must appreciate that it should do things differently.”
His comments come as Cosatu continued to call for the scrapping of the e-toll system.
Mr Gigaba said the push for companies to procure at least 75% of goods locally would continue to be the focus of the new government. The intervention was geared towards developing small business and strengthening industry.
The ANC’s organisational muscle on the ground during the elections communicated a clear message to the investors on South Africa’s direction, Mr Gigaba said. “All political parties in Parliament have committed to the NDP.”
New entrant the Economic Freedom Fighters, which has 25 seats in the National Assembly, has rejected the NDP.
But Mr Gigaba said the ANC had a duty to lead the whole nation and the “framework for its vision will be the NDP”.
Nedbank economist Isaac Matshego agreed the ANC’s electoral victory boosted investor confidence because its policies were known. “Its manifesto was also aligned to the NDP .”
Investor confidence would be influenced more by policy and its implementation and investors would “be watching closely as to how determined the party was to implement the NDP”, Mr Matshego said.
The ANC emerged victorious from the polls. But it was battered in Gauteng, humiliated in Nelson Mandela Bay metro in Eastern Cape, shoved aside in Marikana in the troubled Rustenburg platinum belt, and snubbed in Bloemhof in the North West as thousands stayed away from the elections.
The party went into elections on the back foot. It was largely not in control of its key election message: that it had a “good story to tell” for its 20 years in government.
Instead, it had to ward off criticism of corruption. The Nkandla controversy, in which R249m of state funds were spent on “security upgrades” at the private home of the party’s face of the elections, Mr Zuma, did not help the party. Nkandla became the public symbol of how corruption had become entrenched in the ANC and the party spent the entire campaign period putting out fires.
Mr Gigaba said the election results showed that voters had no appetite for the opposition’s negative campaigning. The media had acted as part of the opposition. “The ANC beat the media as well,” Mr Gigaba said. “If the people of South Africa love the ANC and trust it, that is our only concern.”