Johannesburg, 20 September 2018 – The prioritization of economic growth, global competitiveness and policy certainty and predictability are key to improving South Africa’s Sovereign credit rating, so said Massmart Holdings Chairman Kuseni Dlamini.
Speaking at the fourth Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba currently taking place at the IDC Conference Centre, Mr Dlamini said South Africa needed to be fully aligned on the growth imperative if other socio-economic goals such as employment creation, investment attraction and retention are to be achieved.
He said the country also needed to embrace global competitiveness as part of a national culture.
“The success of the country’s automotive manufacturing industry, the renewable energy independent power producer programme and the country’s world class financial services sectors are concrete examples of global competitiveness at work which must be replicated in other sectors,” he said.
In addition, Mr Dlamini said South Africa should attract and retain foreign direct investment. This, in turn, required a concerted and sustained collective effort by SA Inc. through the alignment of messaging on the country’s attractiveness as an investment location of choice.
“South Africa is guilty of sending confusing and incoherent messages at best or negative and unhelpful messages at worst to the foreign investor community. Most of the negative news about South Africa emanates from South Africans either at home or abroad. This is an area of opportunity to turn around and costs nothing but a paradigm shift,” he said.
In conclusion, Mr Dlamini said the private sector must show confidence by investing in the local economy for the medium to long term.
“South African companies have over R1 trillion of lazy capital that should be invested to grow and expand the local economy but they are not investing. If we don’t show confidence by investing in our own economy why should foreign investors do? We need to lead by example.”
Speaking on the same plenary session, Business Unity South Africa CEO Tanya Cohen said through Nedlac much had already been done to improve South Africa’s sovereign credit rating. This included forming a Task Team, which had succeeded in getting Governance right at ESKOM and contributed towards labour relations stability, among others.
“But more needs to be done to improve South Africa’s credit rating including ensuring that there is policy certainty and that there is certainty as far as the land issue, the Mining Charter and the National Health Insurance are concerned,” Ms Cohen said.
Meanwhile, Solidarity Deputy General Secretary Marius Croukamp said in order to improve its credit rating, South African Government needed to significantly reduce its expenditure by reducing its currently bloated cabinet; refrain from bailing out state-owned entities; drop the national health insurance and not expropriate land without compensation but protect property rights.
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