The 54th National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC), due to take place on 16-20 December 2017, is an important moment for the country. The South African public, businesses, local and international investors alike are watching developments carefully. A stable, peaceful and smooth Conference is in the interest of economic stability and long-term prosperity of our country.
As a matter of principle, Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) does not have a preference for any particular political party or candidate. But we do have a strong interest, as do all South Africans, in the political life of our country, and the conduct of all our political parties, which has a critical bearing on the country’s political and economic prospects.
Business Believes in South Africa; as such, BLSA has extended an invitation to all candidates for the ANC presidency to engage ahead of the Conference to discuss how we can work together for the prosperity of all South Africans. Part of this conversation will entail urging all candidates to respect the Constitution and laws of the land.
BLSA calls on the ANC:
- To ensure that the Conference is held, and held peacefully. Leaders, whomever they may be, should be elected as expected and promised.
- To remain vigilant against any interference or attempts to derail the smooth running of the Conference. A delay in the Conference would be very damaging for the economy as it would deepen uncertainty about when and how the future leadership of the ruling party would be resolved.
It is no exaggeration to say that the 54th Conference event is freighted with unusual significance. It takes place against a backdrop of reports of widespread corruption and wholesale looting of state resources, the capture of the state and an economy severely weakened by political and policy uncertainty. Levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment are at completely unacceptable levels. Without wholesale reform, life for most South Africans will get worse.
BLSA remains committed to making a positive contribution to South Africa’s economic recovery. There is no solution to South Africa’s economic challenges where business is not a core part of any recovery plan. But, for this to happen, we need strong and ethical leadership in government to work with us.
BLSA calls on the ANC leadership:
- To prioritise inclusive economic growth and job creation above all else and commit to working with business and other sectors of society to develop an urgent economic recovery plan.
- To eradicate state capture. In this regard, we repeat our call for the establishment of an independent judicial enquiry as recommended by the public protector in the report “State of Capture”.
- To restore the credibility of our state institutions particularly those in the criminal justice system, and to protect Chapter 9 institutions, Treasury and the Reserve Bank.
- To address the leadership, governance and balance sheets of critical state-owned enterprises.
Bonang Mohale, Chief Executive Officer of BLSA said: “If a credible election is not held in December, or if the new leadership that emerges does not move swiftly to prioritise economic recovery, eradicate state capture and restore the faith of the country in our institutions, the future for our economy and our country is bleak indeed.”