7 government policies that are likely to have the worst impact on South Africa’s economy

 ·16 Sep 2019

Research and analysis firm Intellidex has highlighted seven government policies that are currently in different stages of implementation that are likely to have the biggest detrimental impact on the South African economy.

The group’s analysts have returned from meeting with the country’s policymakers, getting an update on the progress being made on various promises and policy positions taken by the Cyril Ramaphosa presidency.

According to Intellidex analyst, Peter Attard Montalto, while it appears as if the penny has dropped with those in charge on how poorly positioned the South African economy is, it does not necessarily mean government won’t be hamstrung in trying to turn things around.

This is both in terms of political capital and actual capacity.

Looking at the various policies, seven stand out as being big red negatives for South Africa – this includes:

  • Consumer debt relief – low negative impact; already signed and completed
  • National Health Insurance bill – high negative impact; tabled and process started
  • Land reform – moderate negative impact, with a more positive impact in the long-term; currently being processed, with a target of March 2020
  • Mining charter – high negative impact; expected in September/October
  • Nationalisation of the Reserve Bank – high negative impact – an ongoing discussion; moves expected in the first half of 2020
  • National Health Insurance implementation – high negative impact; completion expected in 2026
  • Prescribed assets, broad definition – very high negative impact; discussions ongoing

Of the negative moves, Attard Montalto noted that land reform has flown under the public debate radar in recent month, with most talk around prescribed assets, but the land reform committee will be consulting with experts in the coming weeks before heading public consultations.

With the NHI, Intellidex views the bill as problematic, and likely to see amendments and updates. The real questions linger around the role of private healthcare, which is not explicitly laid out in the wording of the bill.

On the positive side of government policy, things like visa access for tourists have had a positive impact – but the vast majority of positive reforms (Eskom’s debt reforms, early childhood development programme, spectrum auctions, etc) remain outstanding, and months, if not years away from starting.

Overall, there have been no significant moves towards positive or negative on the general picture – but delays appear to be mounting.

Read: Your new life under South Africa’s NHI

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