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Kgosientso Ramokgopa appointed head of investment infrastructure office

Kgosientso Ramokgopa resigned to allow Gauteng Premier David Makhura to comply with the African National Congress’ 50-50 gender parity policy and appoint a woman.

FILE: Kgosientso 'Sputla' Ramokgopa (foreground). Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Gauteng Economic MEC Kgosientso Ramokgopa has been appointed to head the president’s investment infrastructure office on Monday.

The president has also appointed former ministers Jeff Radebe and Derek Hanekom, as well as Elizabeth Thabethe as special investment envoys.

The Presidency on Monday said the office would oversee coordination between all structures dealing with infrastructure development.

Ramokgopa resigned to allow Gauteng Premier David Makhura to comply with the African National Congress’ 50-50 gender parity policy and appoint a woman.

He was replaced by Morakane Mosupyoe, the former chairperson of the Social Development portfolio committee at the Gauteng legislature.

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa is facing an uphill battle to beat last year’s investment amount achieved at his inaugural investment conference.

This year’s investment conference is set to get under way in Sandton on Tuesday night.

The president’s first investment conference was able attract R300 billion last year.

The attendance by Alibaba boss Jack Ma also set the bar high. But can South Africa maintain that standard or beat it this year?

Development economist Ndumiso Hadebe said investments that are required to turn the economy around, such as manufacturing, also required stability from essential service providers such as Eskom and this has not yet been achieved.

Hadebe said it won’t be easy.

“It will be a difficult task for the president to convince investors because these investments are not only in financial markets, but they are fixed investments, like manufacturing, where you need to buy machinery and employ more people who would need to demonstrate commitment in the long term.”

But Hadebe said not all was lost.

“The challenges he faces are within the control of government, particularly with respect to our biggest risk, sovereign fiscal standing in Eskom. We saw the impact that the lack of power had in the first quarter GDP numbers of this year when we contracted 3.1% but, of course, when electrical power was much more stable, we saw an equitable improvement in the second quarter of this year.”

Hadebe said how President Ramaphosa would deal with reforms, including the unbundling and financing of Eskom, would be key in convincing more investors to come to South Africa.