South Africa: Deputy President Mashatile concludes dialogue between Government and leadership of the European companies

South Africa: Deputy President Mashatile concludes dialogue between Government and leadership of the European companies

South Africa: Deputy President Mashatile concludes dialogue between Government and leadership of the European companies

South Africa: Deputy President Mashatile concludes dialogue between Government and leadership of the European companies

Deputy President Paul Mashatile has today, 20 July 2023, held a fruitful dialogue with business leaders, organised by the French South Africa Chamber of Commerce and The African Storyteller, a public affairs consultancy with representatives of large European companies in Johannesburg, Gauteng Province.

The meeting was attended by almost forty Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and senior leadership from companies such as AB Inbev, Alstom, B Braun SA, BMW, Bureau Veritas, Engie, Grupo Pereira, Gran Solar, Heineken, Ibercham Group, Interwaste, Mazars, South African Breweries, Siemens, Swissport South Africa, TOTAL Energies Unilever, and Volkswagen, amongst others.

The aim of this session was to engage in robust and progressive discussions between business leaders and the Deputy President as facilitator of dialogue among key sectors of South African society. This was a platform for a meeting of minds and for harnessing available expertise to advance the efforts of Government in growing the economy to prosperity and producing the much-needed jobs.

The CEOs raised issues of concern and sought Government’s intervention particularly on the energy crisis, logistics challenges especially on the rail network, skills development to fast track the absorption of young people into jobs and business, and long periods attached to getting business visas. 

Commenting on the need for Government and business to engage continuously and constructively, the Managing Director of the African Storyteller, Ms Thuli Phiri said it was important for a Government and Business relationship to be nurtured for the broader benefit of the economy and the people of South Africa.

On behalf of CEOs, Dr Yves Guenon, Chairperson of the French South Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry said: “For our businesses to grow and further contribute to growing the economy we need to have regular touch points with Government as everything that Government does has a direct or indirect impact on our ability to succeed”. 

Addressing the gathering, Deputy President Mashatile recognised that “investor confidence is essential for driving economic growth and development, creating jobs, and ensuring our nation’s prosperity”. 

Additionally, he commended big business for their resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic period and through the slow economic growth cycle. He noted that this demonstrated the value that business leaders attach to South Africa as an investment destination of choice.

In this regard, the Deputy President highlighted to the meeting that Government was streamlining the regulatory procedures through the Red Tape Task Team, established by President Cyril Ramaphosa to reduce excessively complex rules, regulations, procedures, and processes that impede economic growth and job creation in key economic sectors.

The dialogue concluded with the following resolutions:

•    Government commits to building a stronger and intentional working relationship with businesses in order to improve the country’s competitiveness and rebuild the economy.
•    Notes that the economy is driven in the main by private sector investments, which provide jobs and revenues to the state through tax collection and through enabling broader economic participation such as the inclusion of SMEs into the economic value chain.
•    Acknowledges that investors from the European Union are key stakeholders, accounting for 25% of South Africa’s GDP and 75% of Foreign Direct Investment or FDI’s. The main European investors represent more than 300,000 direct jobs, and in total more than 1,5 million jobs including indirect jobs.
•    The European Union business leaders commit to growing South Africa’s economy amidst challenges, which must be addressed and discussed openly, to collectively seek their resolution.

In welcoming the resolutions, Deputy President Mashatile said, “Let us remember that creating a conducive environment for business to thrive is not a single-side responsibility, it requires collaboration, partnership, and a shared vision. Together, we can build a South Africa where opportunities abound, businesses thrive, and everyone shares in the prosperity.”

To this end, a follow-up meeting with the European investors will be scheduled in the near future.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Presidency: Republic of South Africa.