This is according to Brand SA CEO Dr Kingsley Makhubela, who is in Davos, Switzerland, as part of the South African delegation to the World Economic Forum (WEF) which serves as a platform to showcase the country’s attractiveness as an investment destination and trade partner.

“There is a huge demand for a meeting with the Deputy President, and this demand comes from leaders of business and political leaders who are here in Davos,” said Makhubela.

Ramaphosa was in Davos in 2017 and is again at the head of the SA delegation this year, and Makhubela said there is a marked upturn in the levels of engagement with South Africa’s Deputy President.

“There is a greater deal of interest this time around on the Deputy President, mainly because he is here, also seen as the leader of the ruling party, and, of course, on that capacity people want to find out a lot from him,” Makhubela said.

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“People understand he is not the head of state, but as a leader of the ruling party, they want to find out areas that have to do with policy certainty and areas that have to do with, essentially that are coming out of previous downgrades we have had, the issue of state-owned enterprises and fiscal consolidation and the creation of jobs.

“What are we going to be doing about creating new jobs? This because there is an uneasiness around the high level of unemployment at home. This is not sustainable in the long run, to have such a big group of people that are unemployed,” added the head of Brand SA, which is the country’s primary marketing agency.

“So those are things that people are really wanting to listen to him and see how government is going to come up with policies.

“They are essentially looking at some level of reassurance in terms of policies. They have all looked at policies of the ruling party coming out of the conference, but what they are looking for is urgency and implementation of policies.”

Makhubela added that the recent changes at power utility Eskom which has seen a new board Chairman, board members and interim CEO, was a step in the right direction as serious governance failures at state-owned enterprises, particularly Eskom, had contributed a great deal to recent economic downgrades.

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“By what we have seen these last few days, the big changes at Eskom, government took decisive action and the expectation is that there will be much more decisive action and precision with respect to other state-owned companies, because remember that SOEs were part of what the downgrades were speaking to.

“We fix that, we reinstill business confidence in the country.”

On Tuesday, Ramaphosa held bilateral meetings with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President João Lourenco of Angola, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre of Somalia, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam of Singapore, and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani of Qatar, as well as with WEF Founder and Executive Director Professor Klaus Schwab.

On Wednesday, he is due to hold discussions with Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen of Denmark, before attending a business dinner hosted by Brand South Africa.

– African News Agency