South Africa is experiencing economic doldrums with low growth, budget deficits, and ratings downgrades amongst our challenges. Frustration was also aired by Herman Mashaba, our AGM keynote speaker and successful businessman, who gave a compelling talk and encouraged business and citizens to challenge government policies that pose serious, negative consequences for economic growth in South Africa.

As South Africa’s private sector generates 70% of GDP and important tax revenue for our development, business has an important role to play by collaborating with government in the delivery of higher, inclusive economic growth. Our view on the pragmatic ways in which government can more effectively facilitate growth where featured in the Business Report of major newspapers  – read more about South Africa’s facing economic headwinds and should change tack.

At the AGM, I focused on the four ‘City Vital’ of talent, connectedness, innovation and distinctiveness – elements necessary to grow the Cape Town city region. These are the focuse areas of Accelerate Cape Town which not only informs our strategy, but are seen as critical success levers for cities by the CEO’s for Cities.

You will see from this newsletter and our new website that we unveiled a new corporate identity at our AGM. This reflects our increased emphasis beyond the CBD of Cape Town, including the Cape Town city region of Saldanha, Stellenbosch and the various other towns which make up the region’s major economic zone . The new branding reflects our strategic outlook, city region footprint and relentless focus on advancing sustainable, inclusive economic growth – as wel as our emphasis on action, ‘making it happen’.

In this newsletter, we speak to Richard Rushton, the new MD of Distell, South Africa and Africa’s largest producer of spirits, wines, ciders and ready-to-drink products, and highlight the economic value of the V&A Waterfront and Zenprop’s redevelopment of the Pavilion at the Waterfront.

It is firmly up to us to actively work with us to engage with Government on policies that are impacting on business negatively. To effectively grow the Cape Town city region economy, national business and government engagement is essential. At the same time, a strong ‘voice’ of advocacy for and on behalf of corporate business is a role I relish!