Chinese laud Ramaphosa, but expect more

Staff Writer | Aug 01, 2019
The most senior Chinese diplomat in South Africa has expressed his admiration for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, but called for more focused action to attract Chinese capital.

China’s ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian has referred to Ramaphosa as ‘the last hope of this country’, but said South Africa was lagging behind its African peers in getting his country’s government and its firms interested in projects.

He said that the projects proposed did not come with satisfactory feasibility studies that would reassure investors of their viability.

He remarked: ‘To date, there are no major infrastructure projects from China here. Why? Because we don’t only need the concept of a project.’

Ambassador Lin said that Chinese investors would not react solely to incentives provided by the government, but would like to see investment conditions codified in legislation.

He was also sharply critical of the state of Eskom, which had received Chinese loans in the past, and which he described as a ‘debt trap’. He added that ‘Eskom is not an issue of money. It’s the issue of operation mechanisms, management, capacity’.

Prudently handled, Eskom, as well as upgrading other infrastructure – such as the country’s railways and ports – could be attractive options for Chinese investors.


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