‘System is broken’: Mcebisi Jonas says a new president, ministers won’t fix SA’s problems
Government's credibility is at its lowest, according to the former Finance Deputy Minister.
Former Finance Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas. Picture: Gallo Images/Sowetan/Thulani Mbele
Former Finance Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas says new leadership will not fix the challenges South Africa is currently facing as the system is already in a poor state.
Jonas was speaking during the Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation Inclusive Growth Forum held in Drakensberg this weekend.
‘New vision for SA’
In his address, the MTN board chairperson said he was of the view that South Africa’s main problem was “fundamentally political.”
“At the core of that problem is the absence of national census in the country. There’s also a problem of national vison that binds us all so we have become so fractious to a point where nothing is left uncriticised of supported by all. To run an agenda of transformation, you do need society to act together, to be bound by particular vision where we want to get to,” the ex-Cabinet member said.
Jonas said he believed that the government’s credibility was at its lowest.
“It has been improving, but let’s face it… it has not reached a level where all of us here can say we actually have what we call a good government that we can all depend on.”
The former minister cited the country’s electricity crisis, water problems and the rising crime levels as issues that continue to test government’s reputation.
“And of course political parties as across the board because coalitions are demonstrating actually that the problem is not just an ANC problem, but a problem across the board.”
He added that a national convention, which will include all political parties, needed to be held to discuss “a new vision for the country”.
“I don’t think it’s about finding a new president or finding a minister… the system is broken and to fix the system you need credibility. You need action, you need everybody believing that you are committed to the process. No amount of PR will take us there,” Jonas said.
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SA debt crisis
Former president Kgalema Motlanthe said appointments in the leadership positions of the public sector contributed to the lack of state capacity.
“The process lacks transparency and rigor. The knack of the weaknesses in the state is that the selection procedures which are delegated to ministers… that’s where the real weakness is in terms of building a state with capacity that can be empowered with institutional memory. So how to remedy that is the idea was that the president should delegate that authority to the Public Service Commission [PSC],” Motlanthe said on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana has warned that South Africa would have no cash by the end of March next year if nothing was done about public debt, which currently amounts to about R4.5 trillion.
Godongwana said government expenditure was skyrocketing while revenue was slumping.
The minister highlighted that budget expenditure cuts and increased borrowing would be required in order to find a balance ahead of next week’s Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS).
“The problem with debt is not its size, it is the capacity of the economy to service it. In this environment, our capacity to service it is constrained. And what complicates things is that we have to redeem old debt.
“This year alone, the amount we are going to redeem is such that if we don’t do anything, we won’t have cash by the end of March. Am I scaring you too much?… We have to cut expenditure and increase borrowing.”