Ramaphosa calls on SA’s ambassadors to sell country abroad

The South African president addressed the annual heads of mission conference in Pretoria on Tuesday.

A screengrab of President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing South African diplomats on 23 October 2018.

PRETORIA – President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the country’s ambassadors to tell the world that South Africa is open for business.

Ramaphosa addressed the annual heads of mission conference in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The gathering brings together heads of the country’s diplomatic missions abroad to implement a strategy that’s in line with the country’s foreign policy vision.

The president says the message that South African is open for investment is important.

“In the end, you’re out there to campaign for investments in your own home country and I give you great applause because many of you, if all of you, in fact, are preoccupied with precisely that, winning every little dollar to bring it back to South Africa.”

Ramaphosa says if government is serious about attracting investment, it needs to restore good governance and attend to the failures in local government.

That sphere of government has come under the spotlight recently after several municipalities invested millions in VBS Mutual Bank which has lost close on R2 billion through looting.

Local government Minister Zweli Mkhize also warned earlier this year that most municipalities are in disarray with only 7% of them classified as well-functioning.

The president says the current state of municipalities is not good for a country that’s desperate for investment.

"The Auditor-General has said there had been failures of governance and financial management that we need to address, and he has come up with a report that tells us the majority of our local government entities are dysfunctional."

Ramaphosa says good governance needs to be restored.

"Will an investor easily go and invest in a dysfunctional municipality?"

The president says investments happen at a local level and as a result, good governance in municipalities in paramount.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)