/Friday Briefing: The grinding battle against state failure

Friday Briefing: The grinding battle against state failure

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Friday Briefing: The grinding battle against state failure
Contractor in Silhouette working on a Roof Top wit

The grind against state failure

As far as news weeks go, and compared to his American and British counterparts, President Cyril Ramaphosa has had a fairly easy week. There was no new corruption scandal, no leaked emails or factional fights in the ANC spilling into the public domain, and no mass protests. For the president, it was a relatively drama-free week.

Ramaphosa has had a rollercoaster of a year thus far, leaving one to wonder how he finds time to get down to the real business of rebuilding the state. Yet, the optimists would say, slowly but surely sanity is returning to government.

Last week, Ramaphosa launched a new service delivery model called Khawuleza (it means “hurry up” in isiXhosa) which promises to end the state’s unproductive tendency to operate in silos. As Mpumelelo Mkhabela writes in the week’s briefing, this for the first time gives South Africans a measurable indicator to assess the president’s performance. 

Ferial Haffajee writes that in a speech at the congress of the SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union last week Ramaphosa also punted the idea of worker ownership in companies, which would give workers a fair share of the economic pie.

Both Khawuleza and a change in labour policy could give the economy a considerable boost and go a long way to restore the faith in government. But as Thembinkosi Gcoyi explains, meaningful change takes time. We wait with bated breath. 

Alet Janse van Rensburg

News24 opinions editor

Contractor in Silhouette working on a Roof Top wit

Can Ramaphosa’s new service delivery plan get local government going again?

Mpumelelo Mkhabela

A 2009 assessment on “the state of Local Government in South Africa” made some worrying conclusions. It raised concerns about poor coordination between different spheres of government, lack of adequate skills in municipalities, poor political oversight by provinces and national governments, corruption, patronage and so on. President Cyril Ramaphosa has just launched an initiative to fix all of this.


Contractor in Silhouette working on a Roof Top wit

The pressure of now: Meaningful change takes time

Thembinkosi Gcoyi

President Ramaphosa’s task is much more difficult than managing a tough political relationship with his secretary-general and some members of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC). He must also contend with a labour union base that appears to have lost its ability to engage critically with policy discourse, preferring narrow ideological, self-interested positions rather than meaningful engagement in policy dialogue. The same can be said of the business sector, whose gaze hardly ever goes beyond the bottom-line.


Contractor in Silhouette working on a Roof Top wit

Ramaphosa puts worker ownership of companies on the table

Ferial Haffajee

While employee share ownership schemes are touted in black empowerment laws as a more legitimate form of black economic empowerment than the crony deals that characterised the first era of BEE, they have not been successful. But the worker ownership now on the table is different – Ramaphosa has suggested a more German model of ownership where workers co-determine corporate strategy.  


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