Business Unity South Africa (Busa) has lamented the absence of “real implementation plans” from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s June State of the Nation Address (SoNA) and has urged him to work with business to table a clear implementation plan, with timeframes and milestones, to address South Africa’s prevailing economic “crisis”.
Busa president Sipho Pityana said in a statement that the “time for talking is over, we must enter the realm of implementation, and we must do it quickly”.
“As business, we stand ready and willing to play a meaningful and constructive role, as we believe that the government cannot go it alone. But we need detail, and we need it soon, if we are to strengthen confidence at home and abroad,” Pityana added.
Busa welcomed Ramaphosa’s commitment to a social compact and said it was prepared to work with him in building such a consensus in the national interest.
However, such a compact could not avoid hard decisions and should send unequivocal messages in support of building investor confidence.
Busa did welcome, however, the President’s focus on the economy, as well as his unequivocal endorsement of the South African Reserve Bank’s Constitutionally enshrined mandate.
It also expressed appreciation for his commitment to start the process, this month, of allocating much-needed broadband spectrum and easing the country’s onerous visa regulations.
The CEO Initiative also stressed the importance of moving on “from talking” to “firm and practical action” to address the country’s weak fiscal position and its “dangerously low” economic growth rates.
“We reiterate that, while this speech demonstrates the government's will to provide a much-needed path for higher levels of growth, the only way to maintain and grow investor confidence as a foundation for higher levels of inclusive growth is by showing tangible execution of strategies and urgent action on the country’s most pressing challenges,” co-convenor Jabu Mabuza said.
In its reaction to the SoNA, Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) welcomed the announcement of a R100-billion infrastructure seed fund, while emphasising the importance of developing both social and economic infrastructure to improve living conditions and to provide a platform for further investment.
“Infrastructure is a critical area of investment that supports structural transformation, growth and job creation,” Cesa CEO Chris Campbell said in a statement.
“We are hopeful that between the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the new Department of Public Works and Infrastructure they will ensure that ‘value for money’, fair, transparent and cost-effective decisions will be made to maximize the outcomes being pursued through this seed funding,” Campbell said.