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As BUSA sees the forthcoming ANC Elective Conference in Mangaung as a crucial one for South Africa from the point of view of political leadership and policy certainty, it hopes that the overall message from the Conference will be positive and confidence building for the country in general – and business in particular. A combination of global and domestic factors have combined to produce a situation which have had a strong negative effect on South Africa’s economic performance, growth and job creation and which need to be also addressed at a political level. In order to help meet SA’s pressing socio-economic challenges, the Mangaung Conference needs to take in key decisions that will boost investor confidence needed to underpin higher growth and employment.
While the global crisis remains unresolved, South Africa has seen significant domestic developments that have impacted on the economic outlook and confidence. These domestic developments - if not taken into account in a comprehensive and constructive manner at the ANC Conference - have the potential to undermine the progress made to date whereby South Africa has been able to withstand the worst contagion effects of the global crisis. It is essential that a much greater sense of purpose and direction emerges from the ANC Elective Conference to help improve the economic outlook.
Business remains strongly committed to cooperation with government to address the critical issues of jobs, education and corruption and to leverage the government’s commitment to the National Development Plan (NDP) to the fullest extent in the post-Mangaung period to meet urgent socio-economic challenges. The NDP needs practical traction if existing policies are to be progressively aligned with it and early outcomes achieved.
BUSA therefore believes that a collaborative effort to implement the NDP and related policies is now imperative if South Africa is to avoid a low growth trap in the years ahead. What is needed from the post-Mangaung gathering are powerful signals from the political leadership that there will be more certainty and predictability in policy and that collaboration with the private sector will be based on effective consultation, strong implementation and wide participation.
BUSA believes that South Africa’s perceived economic decline can only be arrested if a firm policy basis is forged at Mangaung to find real solutions to the structural socio-economic challenges facing South Africa. A clear affirmation of policy direction from the Conference could do much to help build a SA economy which is bigger, stronger and better in the years ahead.