June 7, 2023
In a promising move towards inclusive economic expansion and job creation, the South African government has formed a robust partnership with key representatives of the business community. This initiative aims to collaboratively identify and navigate the challenges presently confronting the South African economy.
Building Bridges, Overcoming Obstacles
On Tuesday, top executives of major South African corporations sat down with government officials, declaring their commitment to mobilize their considerable expertise and resources. This partnership, characterized by mutually beneficial oversight and engagement, is a unified front against the hurdles impeding economic growth.
Turning the Tide: Energy, Logistics, and Anti-corruption Initiatives
The collective mandate of this partnership targets three immediate priorities: energy, transport and logistics, and crime and corruption. The initiative will be governed by multiple committees, including the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM), National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC), and Joint Initiative to Fight Crime and Corruption (JICC), under the supervision of a Joint Strategic Operations Committee.
In a joint statement issued on Wednesday by the Presidency, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), and Business for South Africa (B4SA), they expressed a shared resolve to engage various government departments, state-owned enterprises, and other suitable entities to tackle these priorities.
Inspired by Success: Drawing on Past Collaborations
The partnership intends to emulate and build upon the successes of previous cooperative initiatives, such as the nation’s COVID-19 response which effectively implemented a nationwide vaccine rollout.
President Ramaphosa affirmed the government’s commitment to this collaborative project, stating, “This initiative will make a real and marked difference in rebuilding our economy and setting it on a path of sustained inclusive growth.”
Realizing South Africa’s Potential: A Shared Vision
Acknowledging South Africa’s unrealized potential, Adrian Gore, Vice President of BUSA, stressed that the partnership signifies business’s faith in the country and its dedication to fostering sustainable and inclusive economic development.
The government has also echoed this vision, with Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, stating that the collaboration represents a concerted effort to confront and overcome the nation’s challenges.
Strategic Steps Towards Recovery
B4SA, under the chairmanship of Martin Kingston, has made substantial headway in setting up three priority workstreams to work closely with the government. These streams aim to guide the nation to recovery by implementing necessary actions, enhancing confidence, and supporting government interventions.
Some of the key areas where joint action is being advanced include:
- Energy: Through the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM), the partnership aims to end load shedding and achieve energy security. Business has agreed to support NECOM in developing a national communication plan to build confidence and transparency.
- Transport and logistics: The collaboration intends to stabilize and improve operational performance along key trade corridors, integrate business efforts into Government’s Freight Logistics Roadmap, and enhance the operational capability of the National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC).
- Crime and corruption: Government, assisted by business resources, is strengthening the Investigating Directorate (ID) and implementing reforms based on the recommendations of various commissions and panels. The Joint Initiative to Fight Crime and Corruption (JICC) will serve as a platform for implementing related interventions.
The Road Ahead
As the joint efforts progress, the workstream priorities will be reassessed, and additional focus areas may be considered. Success in these priority interventions will create an environment conducive to economic growth and job creation.
Simultaneously, business and government will seek opportunities to advance the jobs agenda, aiming to significantly scale existing programs in the short term. BUSA’s CEO, Cas Coovadia, emphasized that the partnership agreement with the government is crucial for ensuring a brighter future and creating a substantial impact on GDP growth and job creation.
This latest initiative signals a profound shift towards collaboration and unity, essential components for South Africa’s sustainable economic growth and progress.