Four things to solve South Africa’s problems

Asset managers say corruption-free state-owned enterprises (SOEs), reducing crime and lawlessness, quality education, and a permanent solution to the electricity crisis will solve most of South Africa’s problems. 

This is according to AlexForbes’ annual Manager Watch Survey that asked South Africa’s asset managers for their three wishes for the country. 

The wishes had to, hypothetically speaking, contribute to eradicating some of the difficulties that continue to engulf South Africans and impact their quality of life and the economy. 

The CEOs of some of the country’s largest asset managers, such as Coronation, Stanlib, and AlexForbes, participated.

The top four wishes of asset managers were: 

1. Corruption-free state-owned enterprises

SOEs are vital for South Africa’s economic development and their mismanagement, due to corruption, has significantly impaired the country’s economic growth. 

These companies ought to contribute to the national fiscus rather than draining it. Effective management would free up state revenue for other areas such as education, healthcare, and policing. 

According to asset managers, corruption-free SOEs would also be financially sustainable and contribute to the national economy. 

2. Reduction of crime and lawlessness

Improved safety and security of citizens and businesses would create a conducive environment for economic growth and development.

According to the CEOs, creating an environment that encourages investment and economic participation is the central role of government. 

For people to engage in commerce and for an inclusive economy to be created, people must first feel safe. 

3. Quality education and meaningful employment

South Africa desperately needs to upskill its working population to drive economic participation and form an inclusive economy. 

Improved education will reduce inequality and poverty while also reducing the population’s reliance on social grants – increasing citizens’ contribution to the national fiscus.

Coronation CEO Anton Pillay said the government should focus on technical skills education.

This would ensure more South Africans are readily employable and reduce the skills shortage many private-sector companies face.

4. A solution to the electricity crisis

Load-shedding is an inherent constraint on the economy, confining growth in South Africa to below 2% for the foreseeable future – provided other issues are taken care of. 

Economic growth requires a stable, affordable supply of electricity. Moreover, an economy cannot grow without an energy surplus. 

Implementation is key

AlexForbes CEO, Dawie de Villiers, had one particular wish – for the government to implement its stated reform policies. 

The government has already formally adopted these policies, which, if implemented, will make South Africa a more attractive investment destination and boost economic growth. 

However, the government has been sluggish in executing these stated policies. 

These policies will, if coupled with improved policing, encourage South Africans to start businesses and incentivise employers to upskill their employees. 

To this end, public-private partnerships are vital in delivering reliable energy, efficient social services, and high-quality healthcare.