In an extraordinary meeting held this week, South African government officials and key business sector representatives convened to construct a comprehensive plan. The agenda? Tackling head-on the challenges besieging the nation. Under the rally cry of “removing obstacles to inclusive economic growth and job creation,” the meeting marked a historic collaboration between sectors.
Top Priorities in Focus
Three immediate areas of action emerged from this pivotal discussion: energy, transport and logistics, and crime and corruption. C-level executives from South Africa’s industry giants pledged significant resources and expertise, vowing to contribute through relevant partnership structures to address these national priorities.
The presidency announced the involvement of three governmental entities, namely the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM), National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC), and Joint Initiative to Fight Crime and Corruption (JICC), to steer the initiative. Their mandate will be overseen by a Joint Strategic Operations Committee.
A Collaborative Commitment
The strategy brings together key government departments, state-owned enterprises, and other appropriate structures. Business for South Africa (B4SA), an implementation platform for Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), will represent organized business with numerous CEOs. The endeavor will build on previous successful partnerships between the state and business, including the collaboration for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
President Cyril Ramaphosa hailed the initiative, stating, “This initiative will make a real and marked difference in rebuilding our economy and setting it on a path of sustained inclusive growth.”
BUSA Vice President and Discovery CEO, Adrian Gore, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that the partnership agreement epitomizes the business sector’s faith in South Africa and their commitment to driving sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
Areas of Action
Through NECOM, the partners will collaborate to end load shedding and achieve energy security. They’ll support initiatives to close the current energy capacity gap and restore confidence in the nation’s energy security. Business leaders also agreed to assist NECOM in crafting a national communication plan that inspires confidence, transparency, and action.
2. Transport and Logistics
Both government and business have pledged to stabilize and enhance operational performance along key trade corridors. They aim to mobilize private sector resources and accelerate the implementation of the National Rail Policy. The goal is to integrate business efforts into the government’s Freight Logistics Roadmap swiftly, culminating in the creation of work plans, deliverables, and timelines within the recently formed NLCC.
3. Crime and Corruption
The government plans to bolster the rule of law, fortify the Investigating Directorate (ID) within the NPA, and act upon the recommendations of several inquiries. Business will offer support and expert resources to enhance the capacity of the NPA and the ID. This collaboration will culminate in the establishment of the Joint Initiative to Fight Crime and Corruption (JICC).
The priority areas may be reevaluated and reprioritized in the future, with additional focus areas such as water and infrastructure potentially coming into scope.
The presidency said, “Success in these priority interventions will create an environment that is more conducive to economic growth and job creation.”
In parallel, business and government will explore avenues to further the jobs agenda and scale existing programs significantly in the short term. The overarching goal is to ensure a better future for all, re-instill confidence among stakeholders, and ultimately impact GDP growth and job creation.