Business Unity South Africa (Busa) President Sipho Pityana has called for a “more empathetic approach” with South Africa recently passing two important milestones on the road to salvaging its battered economy.
These milestones comprise the Covid-19 lockdown having been scaled down to Alert Level 1, as well as the announcement of a conclusive agreement at the the National Economic Development and Labour Council between government, labour, community representatives and organised business on a new Economic Recovery Action Plan.
However, as “normal” business activity resumes across the country, Pityana warns that South Africa is not out of the woods yet, as “there remains much unfinished business”, despite the commitment from social partners being on the table, “which will lead to progressing in significant areas of the economic recovery” once the plan has been approved by Cabinet.
Speaking at Busa's annual general meeting on September 18, he explained that critical areas encompassed in the amended action plan include focusing on aggressive infrastructure investment, employment-oriented strategic localisation, re-industrialisation and export promotion, as well as enabling conditions and a supportive policy environment.
The action plan also details critical implementable actions in each of these priority areas, and “serves as a platform for putting our country onto the first rung of the investment and growth ladder we need to climb”.
However, Pityana said “some crucial details still need to be addressed as a matter of urgency”, noting that these include, addressing the energy crisis, not delaying further the release of spectrum, as well as government needing to lead social partners in working together to mobilise the necessary resources to implement these actionable items and to address ongoing growth.
“The reform agenda must be underpinned by efforts aimed to strengthen good governance, fight corruption, ensure the guarantee of the rule of law and enable citizens to enjoy fairness, prosperity and dignity,” he stressed, urging social partners to “strive jointly to enhance regulatory flexibility to effectively respond to the inter-connected risks and opportunities of this new era”.
But Pityana emphasised the “critical imperative” for all partners to the Economic Recovery Action Plan would be to ensure implementation, and that it must begin with urgency as soon as Cabinet has signed off on the document.