Improving the Business Government Relationship

With 20 years of democracy, South Africa has achieved much to create a more inclusive society and economy. However, high levels of poverty and inequality still remain and our current economic growth is somewhat lack lustred to overcome this.

With GDP growth rates of only 1.9% in 2013, we need a shift. National government needs to review its role in creating an enabling structure for growth. SA needs foreign direct investment and a favourable investment climate brought about by political and economic certainty, quality infrastructure, and a flexible labour environment.

Business has a role to play, not only through employment, and social upliftment programmes (CSI and Enterprise Development) but in providing massive public sector revenues through tax revenue. In 2012, business contributed 55% of SA’s tax derived by way of profits and taxes. With this important role, business’ concerns need to be heard and to this end, Accelerate Cape Town facilitated discussions between various representative and supporting bodies, our corporate members and government.

What was clear is that Cape Town needs a more unified business brand focusing on ‘city vitals’ and the elements of what makes us distinct, including innovation, knowledge dense & service-rich.  Other outcomes included:

Requirements from Government

  • Government needs to create a regulatory environment that includes long-term investment security and certainty.
  • Without certainty foreign direct investment will not be forthcoming. For example, the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment (MPRDA) Bill is not investor-friendly. It is further complicated by the removal of  ‘fair market value’, with the costs being determined by the Minister, as well as the withdrawal of international arbitration.
  • Businesses need strong advocacy from the City of Cape Town and WC Government at National level to advocate for policies which support long-term economic growth.
  • Embed our foresight capability by boosting Wesgro IQ and sharing statistics across government and business.

Regular engagement with Government

  • WC Government is keen for business input into legislation before it is published/gazetted. To this aim, Accelerate Cape Town will obtain policy documents to discuss with business leaders, and provide comment to WC Government.

 Practical execution is critical

  • The roll out of broadband in Cape Town has not happened quickly enough and this is an enabler for economic growth.
  • Infrastructure and systems need to be developed to keep Cape Town growing, innovating and connecting globally.
  • Challenge visa policy at a national level as it is not helpful to attracting talent specifically in industries such as pharmaceuticals, O&G.  The most recent visa changes are, in fact, harmful to business growth.

Corporate Cape Town plays a fundamental role in establishing the greater Cape Town region as a leading city in Africa. We will continue developing relationships with Government to raising issues and address challenges. To this aim, please send any of your comments to Chris.

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