President Cyril Ramaphosa says government is prepared to work with corporate South Africa to turn the country’s ailing economy around.

He says government has heeded the call by business to decentralize State Owned Enterprises (SOE) and reduce political interference.

Ramaphosa made these comments at the Business Economic Indaba (BEI) in Sandton, north of Johannesburg.

He says the restructuring process at Eskom will ensure the proposed decentralization of the business.

He says one of the resolutions at the governing party’s latest policy conference was to reduce political interference at SOEs.

Responding to proposals made by business working groups on how to address some of the country’s economic challenges, Ramaphosa conceded that greater technical support is key to fixing some of the problems at Eskom.

Chief Executive at Exxaro Resources Mxolisi Mgojo says Eskom is going to be the death-nail of the mining industry.

Mgojo says, “Without fixing Eskom, we don’t have a mining industry, so it is as dire as that… we cannot operate or invest in an environment like that.”

President of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) Sipho Pityana says business would like to see leadership certainty at Eskom.  He says energy security is key in rebuilding the country’s economy and this will take a strong leadership team to fix the challenges currently facing the power utility.

Pityana says, “There have been solutions that have been put on the table around restructuring Eskom by the technical task team which has been appointed by the President and the board. We would like to know how that is being pursued.”

“There has always been issues about the capacity of the board from a point of view of size but there are very good skills on that board, but we think that it can be enhanced. There must be leadership certainty on that board,” added Pityana.

The working groups at the business economic indaba further proposed for the urgent implementation of the Eskom Roadmap and for the development of a single long term comprehensive energy plan that is directly within the presidency.

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