Guest writer: South Africa: Is Ramaphosa Changing the Game? (update) – ETM Macro Advisors

Piet le Roux, CEO of Sakeliga, writes:

Dear Sakeliga member

An economist whose analyses I follow closely is Russell Lamberti of ETM Macro Advisors. His latest article, South Africa: Is Ramaphosa Changing the Game? (update), is a review of his expectations from 2018 and an overview of economic problems and opportunities in South Africa. With his kind permission we are making the complete document available here to members of Sakeliga.

Some excerpts:

  1. On SAA as a litmus test for President Ramaphosa

“SAA doesn’t mean much economically, but symbolically it is a meaningful crossroads. If Ramaphosa can’t face off against the unions in a mid-sized, non-essential SOE, then he certainly won’t do it at Eskom. But if he can, and SAA is partly or fully privatised and bailouts end, it will be a narrative win for Ramaphosa and may provide a spark of confidence.” 

  1. On marginal reforms

“In short, Ramaphosa has managed to change the style and even rhetoric of the government, but he’s not managed to start implementing his more conservative socialist reforms meaningfully – the reforms at SARS, for example, don’t strike at the heart of SA’s dysfunction.”

  1. On the monetary and fiscal situation

“The tough talk from National Treasury and the SARB is indeed there. The ethos is ‘hands off the SARB’, and there’s far less pervasive and divisive talk of radical economic transformation conjured up under the Zuma administration. Brazen looting has less ‘official’ licence than it once did, though hard evidence of less actual corruption and crony profiteering is yet to emerge. Even the land expropriation issue has been moved into the shadows, probably deliberately by Ramaphosa. The rand has – all things considered – remained resilient in the face of considerable global recession and stock market fears in 2019, as well as domestic investment weakness. There’s a belief that the finance minister understands the gravity of the fiscal problem and is agitating for real fiscal reform (though his actual budgeted forecasts betray a rather limpwristed command of state finances).”

Read the whole analysis here. Do you agree with it? Have something to add? We would love to hear from you, at diens@sakeliga.co.za.

Regards,

Piet le Roux

CEO, Sakeliga

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