Public, private sector collaboration bearing fruit across various sectors

24th January 2020 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Creamer Media Online Writer

The private sector and government have made progress in several areas of South African industry since launching the Public Private Growth Initiative (PPGI).

In particular, progress has been made in terms of water use licences and the recapitalisation of State forestry assets.

A PPGI meeting between private sector leaders and government was held earlier this week.

At the meeting, economic sectors such as manufacturing, forestry, tourism, agriculture and chemical manufacturing reported a closer working relationship with the South African government, which, in turn, has led to shared projects and the resolution of several bottlenecks to doing better business.

“Water use licences are finally being sorted out, we have made progress with Transnet on freight and, for the first time in six years, we are seeing movement on the recapitalisation of State forestry,” commented Forestry South Africa executive director Michael Peter.

The business process services sector reported that, as a result of an agreement between the sector, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and the Harambee Youth Accelerator, more than 20 000 net new jobs had been created since January 2018.

The sector had attracted investment and grown revenue and employment year-on-year, with ambitious plans to grow the sector by 100 000 net new jobs by 2023.

The automotive sector reported on the establishment of the Automotive Industry Transformation Fund, which had already received R6-billion in investment commitments towards the development of an inclusive supply chain.

In the same vein, the representatives from the agricultural sector said they would launch the Agricultural Development Agency next month. This agency would manage a development fund of R12-billion for the development and support of emerging black farmers.

“I am very pleased to hear from so many different sectors that they are making positive connections with various people in government. These new connections will help unblock constraints and support economic growth,” said PPGI founding member Dr Johan van Zyl.

Further, a number of sectors reported that they had been organising themselves in response to the PPGI’s approach.

For example, the water supply sector was in the process of establishing the Water Chamber South Africa, while the creative industries sector and the information communication technologies sector indicated that they would be working closely together to create a strategy for South Africa in the digital age.

The meeting also revealed a number of ongoing inhibitors, such as policy incoherence, congestion at ports, rising crime levels and skills constraints.

In a specific example, Simphiwe Hamilton from the defence sector had spoken about the potential growth in export revenue and employment if government improved its process for product certifications and contract approval.

Additionally, representatives from the construction sector appealed for fit-for-purpose procurement frameworks within government.

“We will address ongoing challenges identified in certain sectors and assist where possible through our key points of contact with Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel and his team, as well as with the Presidency,” said businessperson Roelf Meyer.

He indicated that the PPGI would report on sector progress and new catalytic projects to the Presidency.