President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday appointed a team of experts with valuable experience in the world of business, investment and finance to travel the globe in search of R100-billion in investment to boost the ailing economy, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
Ramaphosa described the team as "hunting lions" and said it will report directly to him – to be coordinated by his new economic advisor, Trudy Makhaya.
According to the report, Ramaphosa appointed them because of their extensive networks across a number of major markets.
The team will represent South Africa at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in London.
Here's why they were chosen:
No question, Trevor Manuel is a vital part of this team. He has extensive experience serving in government as Minister of Finance from 1996 to 2009, during the presidencies of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe. He has also Minister in the Presidency for the National Planning Commission from 2009 to 2014, under Jacob Zuma.
Jonas is the former deputy minister of finance who served from 2014 to 2016. He has also been a member of the provincial executive council for economic development and environmental affairs in Eastern Cape.
Maree is highly respected in the financial world, having served as the CEO at one of Africa's largest lenders, Standard Bank, for 13 years before retiring in 2013. According to African Leadership Academy, he was appointed managing director of SMB in 1991, and then managing director of the newly formed Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank in 1995. Maree is a director of Liberty Group Ltd. and served formerly as a director of the International Monetary Conference. He is chairperson of Banking Association South Africa.
Langeni is the executive chairperson of Afropulse Group Proprietary Limited, a women-led investment, investor relations and corporate advisory house. She is a stockbroker by training, and was previously the economic adviser to the Minister of Minerals and Energy.
President Ramaphosa said the tour would culminate in an investment conference to be held in August or September 2018 – a forum to discuss potential investment. Some of the things the appointed "lions" will have to convince investors of include property rights, especially with the land debate a huge topic in SA. They will also have to convince investors that the new government is working on cleaning up corruption.
Following the ANC's 2017 elective conference, the party resolved to take action against corruption – and this included demanding that every cadre accused of, or reported to be involved in, corrupt practices accounts to the integrity committee immediately, or faces disciplinary committee processes.
Positive engagements have transpired since Ramaphosa's presidency began, with recent good news including Moody's keeping the country at investment grade and changing the outlook to stable from negative.