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Africa|Business|Efficiency|Environment|generation|Logistics|Ports|Power|rail|Resources|System|Systems|Water
africa|business|efficiency|environment|generation|logistics|ports|power|rail|resources|system|systems|water

Mavuso reflects on government progress, says private-sector partnership key

BLSA CEO Busisiwe Mavuso

BLSA CEO Busisiwe Mavuso

27th May 2024

By: Sabrina Jardim

Creamer Media Online Writer

     

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Ahead of the national elections on May 29, Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Busisiwe Mavuso says that, despite the challenges facing South Africa, voting is a foundation for democratic governance that “binds us together.”

In her latest weekly newsletter, she calls on South Africans to respect the Constitution and conduct elections in a way that is “free and fair and accepts the outcomes”.

“Doing anything different is to disrespect our democracy and our shared participation in governance,” she says.

With this in mind, Mavuso reflects on the progress of government in driving economic reforms in South Africa.

“The sixth administration of our democracy has made solid progress in stabilising institutions and driving reforms necessary to get our economy out of the low-growth, low-employment trap we have been stuck in for over a decade,” Mavuso says.

She points to the signing of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Amendment Bill by President Cyril Ramaphosa on May 24, describing the event as a “milestone in the journey to get the NPA back into fighting shape”.

She says the amendments provide for the permanent establishment of an investigating directorate in the NPA that can help fight corruption, adding that corruption has undone much of the progress made since democracy, and rebuilding the NPA is critical.

“The leadership there has been working hard and the legislation will empower further progress.”

Mavuso adds that important economic reforms have also been made, explaining that the Operation Vulindlela unit that was established between the Presidency and the National Treasury to accelerate implementation of reforms has been successful.

“Operation Vulindlela has been key in restructuring the electricity system to put loadshedding behind us and create a competitive electricity generation system that could in time even reduce the costs of power. Our broken logistics system is also being slowly repaired on the roadmap that Operation Vulindlela ushered through.”

Mavuso explains that these kinds of reforms take years to shift the trajectory of the economy as they slowly work their way through into the investment decisions of firms bolstered by the improved electricity and logistics reliability.

“The challenge for any democratic government is to make the choices now that will pay off especially in the medium and long term.

“We have had to deal with the legacy of decisions not made decades ago, when we should have been liberalising and investing in the electricity, water and logistics systems. I am pleased that over the past five years government has been able to make the changes needed to deliver long-term payoffs.”

While Mavuso says Operation Vulindlela, as a delivery unit, is a good model for achieving change, more work still needs to be done. She explains that a visa reform process needs to be concluded to make it easier to bring in the skills needed to kickstart the economy.

She adds that the logistics roadmap also has ways to go, noting that reforms that will enable the private sector to bring its skills and capital to turn around the performance of our ports and railways need to be concluded.

“Huge amounts of economic output are currently being squandered because we cannot get goods from production sites to markets around the world. Our ports score near the bottom of global rankings for efficiency and our rail network simply can’t meet demand. Getting this right would immediately enable significant economic activity, bringing jobs and taxes with it.”

In this vein, she argues that the key to reform success so far has been the partnership between government and the private sector.

Through Business for South Africa (B4SA), Mavuso points out, significant private-sector resources and skills have been mobilised to support government in key interventions where expertise and outside resources are needed to implement long-lasting changes. She thus argues that the next administration must embrace partnership to continue the reforms.

“Of course, the private sector is not here to compensate for or replace government, but we have a shared objective in improving the business environment and thereby the performance of the economy. Together, we are better equipped to overcome far faster the obstacles that frustrate progress.

“I hope the next administration embraces partnership and dedicates itself to continuing reforms and accelerating implementation. Together we can realise this country’s potential to create wealth and employment for its people, an aspiration that I know we all share,” she concludes.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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