7 February 2019

Business Unity South Africa statement on State of the Nation Address

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) agrees with the emphasis on economic growth, the pressing need to create jobs and prioritising skills and education, as outlined in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

 

“We also appreciate the President’s establishment of a commission on the 4th Industrial Revolution,” said BUSA President Sipho M Pityana.

 

BUSA particularly commends the President’s commitment to deal with corruption, as well as the revelations coming out of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry. In this regard, the new law enforcement unit will, in time, go a long way in combatting corruption and put an end to looting.

 

BUSA concurs on the urgent need to implement an effective turnaround strategy at Eskom.  The organisation also welcomes the general thrust of policies mapped out both in terms of social and macro-economic initiatives, which come in tandem with programmes of work designed to give effect to the SONA. The speech is unequivocal in sketching South Africa’s national priorities and unambiguous about its policy direction, as well as setting the country on the course to become a dynamic future-oriented economy.

 

It is BUSA’s considered view that the economy is the foundation stone of creating a just and equitable society. Creating a conducive investment environment by lowering the regulatory burden and ensuring policy certainty is key to increasing South Africa’s chances of reaching its investment goals and making sure that business plays its part as a social partner.

 

Furthermore, a fit-for-purpose education and skills system, ensuring that South Africa is ready for the realities of the Future of Work, addressing poverty and inequality, dealing decisively with state capture and corruption, and ensuring that the state has adequate capacity are all fundamental pillars that will help support an optimal operating environment.

 

Although Eskom is the most pressing case among state-owned entities (SOEs), this is also the opportune moment to take decisive action on parastatals to ease pressure on state finances. At its recently concluded Business Economic Indaba, BUSA expressed a willingness to work with Government to play a constructive role in addressing the challenges faced by the country’s SOEs. Business remains ready to play its part and to be at the fore of initiatives aimed at getting the South African economy growing again.

 

BUSA emphasises that meaningful and aligned action, as well as implementation, are now needed to give tangible expression to and reinforce the national vision articulated in the SONA. It will also be crucial to hold Cabinet to account on ineffectual delivery.

 

“The announcements pertaining to the signing of the Competition Act Amendment Bill, the National Health Insurance, changes to the National Prosecuting Authority Act and land policy are noted. Of significance is accelerating the release of high-speed spectrum, which will aid efforts to ready South Africa for the 4th Industrial Revolution, as well as the President’s emphasis on creating a conducive environment in which business, inclusive of small business, can participate in the economy,” said Pityana.

 

The organisation also notes plans to develop the oceans economy and to further liberalise the visa system to attract more tourists. BUSA welcomes the emphasis on collaboration and the call for business to work with other social partners – Government, Labour and Community – to give effect to the vision outlined in the SONA.