While President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the start of his State of the National Address on Thursday that now is the time for implementation, no real implementation plans followed in the rest of the speech, in the view of Sipho Pityana, president of Business Unity SA.
“Instead, the SONA is a restatement of the myriad challenges SA faces and a broad sweep of what we need to do. We now urge the president to engage with business to put on the table hard plans with clear implementation timeframes and milestones,” Pityana commented on Friday.
“BUSA welcomes the president’s commitment to a social compact in the national interest and we stand ready to work with him, but within a context of taking hard decisions and unequivocal messages that build investor confidence.”
Jabu Mabuza, co-convenor of the CEO Initiative, agreed that it is vital for government to take firm and practical action to address SA’s most pressing issues.
These issues include the national fiscal position and low economic growth rates.
Like BUSA, the CEO Initiative said it remains committed to working with government and labour “to urgently address the hurdles that stand in the way of SA achieving sustainable and inclusive growth that benefits all who live in this country”.
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI), commented that, whilst Ramaphosa’s June SONA indicated good objectives, especially on how to ignite the economy, the chamber wants an understanding of the actual execution plans.
“At this time, we wish to encourage the president to communicate his clear plans in the area of how these objectives are to be delivered,” said SACCI.
Palesa Phili, CEO of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also urged the government to clearly outline in the near future how South Africa will achieve the priorities set out in SONA “in a manner that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely”.
She said this will create policy certainty, allow for organised business as a whole, to understand its role in achieving the inclusive and sustainable economic growth and developmental goals, assist business to plan accordingly, and allow for more significant public-private partnership and cooperation.