Workers at Phoenix Metals Ltd push bags of minerals after weighing them at the plant yesterday. (John Mbanda)
(John Mbanda)

The Minerals Council of South Africa has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce measures to address the under-performing economy when presenting the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament on Thursday.

The Minerals Council said the country’s economy is in an “unprecedented economic crisis” and in the “longest economic downswing since 1945”.

“We would plead that he (Ramaphosa) use his powers of persuasion to impress upon all citizens the seriousness of the situation and, where appropriate, the need for radical measures to repair the damage done to South Africa since 2009 and to create a new foundation for growth and development,” said the council’s CEO Roger Baxter.

He said the government’s debt has ballooned from 26 percent in 2008 to 56 percent of GDP in 2019 and threatens to rise further while the unemployment rate hovers at 29.1 percent.

“The Minerals Council is hoping for and looking forward to a new era of decisively addressing the country’s myriad challenges. South Africa cannot afford otherwise. It has to be Action, Action and Action,” Baxter said.

The Minerals Council urged the president to address big public service wages and wasteful expenditure. They also expect those who stole from the state to be prosecuted.

Baxter called on the government to announce how the private sector could take part in self-generation to alleviate power outages.

The country has been experiencing load shedding due to aging infrastructure, corruption and mismanagement, according to the power utility Eskom.

The World Bank cut its growth forecast for South Africa to below 1 percent for 2020 due to Eskom’s load shedding. Enditem

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