President Cyril Ramaphosa says government is addressing governance as well as liquidity challenges facing State Owned Companies such as Denel and South African Airways.

Ramaphosa was replying to the debate on his State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Wednesday.

Credit ratings agencies have expressed serious concern about government’s exposure to highly indebted State Owned Enterprises.

Eskom is considered the biggest challenge with debts topping R400 billion and consumers being forced to pay substantial tariff increases every year.

Ramaphosa says his administration is addressing a number of issues. “That is not easy because what we have inherited are a number of broken platforms in relation to SOEs, but we are repairing them. As we address challenges of specific SOEs, we are also working towards a new SOE landscape in which SOEs have expertise leadership and appropriate financial model to fulfil their respective mandates.”

The President tells Parliament that the government is working toward a more efficient local government where people receive the services they deserve.

He says government is supporting local government in improving its work and service delivery. He adds that local government leaders will be held to account.

Growing SA economy

Ramaphosa says his administration will not be diverted from its focus on growing the South African economy through large scale investment.

He mentions that investment is key to growing South Africa out of its current crisis, emphasising  that policy certainty is among the measures his administration is implementing to attract even more foreign and local investment.

Chief Economist, Pan African Investments and Research Services, Iraj Abedian reflects on   President Ramaphosa’s approach to the economy.

More reactions to President SONA debate:

Violent crime

President Ramaphosa has reiterated his administration’s determination to counter the social ills plaguing the country, saying a focus on gangsterism is part of his campaign to halve violent crime.

He says police need greater support in combating violent crime, adding that the government supports police efforts to counter gun crime.

Ramaphosa told MPs that South Africa’s leaders need to set the right example.

Sho Madjozi and Bafana Bafana 

Ramaphosa has also congratulated artist Sho Madjozi on her BET award. He also paid tribute to both the cricket and football teams.

“The women’s football World Cup, we applaud them. We also applaud Bafana Bafana who are currently engaged in Cup of Nations, but we must also pass credit to our Cricket team even though they have not done well and Sho Madjozi for winning BET award.”