Ramaphosa allays fears over deepening economic hardships

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says in midst of challenges there is development and there is hope.

Cyril Ramaphosa is addressing the country's economic recovery plan at a gathering of the Black Business Council on 19 April 2017. Picture: Clement Manyathela/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has moved to allay fears of deepening economic hardships faced by the country, saying work is underway to restore growth and “the wheels have not come off yet.”

Ramaphosa is addressing the country's economic recovery plan at a gathering of the Black Business Council on Wednesday evening.

The event is attended by black chief executives and captains of the industry.

The deputy president's talk comes as Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba embarks on a trip to the US where he will discuss South Africa's economic structural reforms with Moody’s and says he will assure the ratings agency that the country's economic path remains unchanged.

Moody’s is the only ratings agency that has not yet downgraded South Africa to junk status.

The deputy president said: "There is no need to hide our heads in the sand. We must be honest and admit social and political challenges that the country faces."

He says the country is going through a difficult time.

“Our economy is currently under great strain and this is affected by global events as well as by our own local events, and our political life at the moment if fractious.”

And he added that in the midst of challenges, there is development and there is hope.

Ramaphosa also says inclusive growth requires the speedy redistribution of agricultural land.

The deputy president says there is land hunger in South Africa and the matter needs to be approached with clear heads.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)