President Cyril Ramaphosa says that he has given the economic cluster ministers two weeks to come up with a plan to deal with the rising cost of living for ordinary South Africans, particularly the staggering cost of petrol.
While he raised concerns about the high oil price and its effect on the cost of fuel with oil-rich Saudi Arabia, Ramaphosa stopped short of making any promises.
Ramaphosa’s headache since taking office has been the increasing cost of living for ordinary South Africans exacerbated by an increase in VAT and the price of fuel.
He says he has asked the economic cluster ministers, who make up of two-thirds of Cabinet, to come up with ideas.
Ramaphosa has ruled out the possibility of decreasing any taxes because of its impact on the budget.
“With time we’ll be able to see how best our currency’s strength is.”
While Ramaphosa raised concerns with Saudi Arabia on Thursday over the high cost of oil, he says that the kingdom is an oil driven economy and the only hope is for them to produce more oil in an effort to stabilise prices.
Fresh from securing a commitment of US$20 billion from the Gulf, Ramaphosa said that he is not “playing around” in his efforts to secure more investment.
In an interview in Abu Dhabi following a three country visit, Ramaphosa said he was serious about driving economic growth.
Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates committed to investing US$10 billion each in South Africa following Ramaphosa’s high level talks in both countries.
Ramaphosa said that economic growth through investment in the private sector is what will grow South Africa’s economy.
He said he is serious about turning around the country’s economic woes.
“We are in this not to play around… this is serious, this is about the growth of our economy.”
In the past, investment promises were not achieved but Ramaphosa says that he will work hard in ensuring these commitments are honoured.
“We are going to drive it from our office, to make sure that this does become a relaity and is not just words.”
Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have expressed optimism to invest in South Africa, with both countries saying South Africa is yet to achieve its true potential.