Business lobby groups call for more investment to unlock SA’s growth potential

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Ayanda Mdluli

JOHANNESBURG- SA’s business lobby groups, the Black Business Council and Business Unity South Africa have both come out in support of president Cyril Ramaphosa’s drive to raise R1.2 billion worth of foreign direct investment while using the BRICS Business Council as a vehicle to achieve this feat.

Busisiwe Mabuza, representing BUSA told delegates at the 6th BRICS Business Council said it was important for BRICS to owed on board in assisting SA to advance its economic goals.

“We have realised that investment is the key to achieving our goals and we have already injected 20 billion dollars into the South African economy thanks to the Saudi government which invested in renewable energy while the United Arab Emirates invested in the mining economy,” she said.

She highlighted that the recent developments were a vote of confidence into the new administration’s drive to ensure that the economy is reconstructed in a way that attracts investment into key sectors.

In the first quarter, president Cyril Ramaphosa’s new dawn took a knock after the South African economy contracted by 2.2%. This was followed by a sharp increase in the cost of living as fuel and food prices skyrocket as a result of the VAT increase of 1% that was inflicted on consumers at the beginning of the year.

Furthermore, experts have lambasted the government for not having a plan as consumers continue to face a bleak future in an economy that is continuously ravaged by poverty, unemployment, and inequality.

According to Mabuza, the signing of the 27 IPPs by energy minister Jeff Radebe had sent a signal to investors that SA’s was open for business on the backdrop of prolonged investment. However, the signing of the IPPs and subsequent investment from the Saudi government into the renewable energy sector has drawn staunch criticism from certain sections of the South African economy, especially since Jeff Radebe Cyril Ramaphosa’s brother in law, Patrice Motsepe was part of the delegation and owns African Rainbow Energy and Power which has specific interests in the renewable energy sector.

However, in some quarters, this has no bearing as long as the parties involved are able to attract more investments into the economy.

According to Mabuza: “Our economy is down and has been dragged by mining and manufacturing and is also characterised by a skills shortage which is why we need economic certainty. In the absence of certainty, there is a paralysis.”

“We have seen how the tariffs in the steel industry led to massive job losses. There can be no job creation without investment and we need to mutually reinforce the need to create a climate that is friendly for investors and one that is inclusive of local players,” she added.

Gilbert Masina, from the Black Business Council, said SA has untapped potential in a various sector that would propel its economic growth to unprecedented levels of all economic opportunities are used effectively. He said it was important for any form of investment attracted to toe ensure that it benefitted the majority of South Africans.

“We need to fulfill our dream of a better South Africa. We need to stand behind our president and we all have an impactful role to play. The private and public sector must refrain from promoting corruption because this discourages investment in the continent. We can’t have a situation where leaders use the investment to mortgage the economy and sell our natural resources without benefiting the poor,” he said.

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