Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) welcomes the African National Congress (ANC) 2019 Election Manifesto which was launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 12 January 2019 in Durban. This year, being the 25th anniversary of a democratic dispensation in South Africa, the BLSA acknowledges the progress made in the development of the country but further cautions that a lot still needs to be done to ignite economic growth and social cohesion.
BLSA notes the ANC’s commitment to “stepping up the ﬁght against corruption throughout society and safeguarding the integrity of the state and ethical leadership”. CEO of BLSA, Bonang Mohale, says this would enable the government to deal with enablers of state capture and corruption. “Those responsible for the R51 billion wasteful expenditure as alluded by the Auditor General must also face legal consequences”, says Mohale.
According to the Manifesto, the ANC plans to have 24 million people employed by 2030; an ambitious target they aim to achieve by creating 275 000 jobs every year. “We are happy with their commitment to economic transformation and decent job creation, especially among the youth. However, for as long as the ANC allows an environment where there is hostility against business, that target will remain unachievable’’, adds Mohale. “Even the commitment to increase the levels of investment by R1.2 trillion over the next five years as part of the plan to grow the economy and create jobs is dependent on business not on the ANC or the government”, alludes Mohale. BLSA believes that government should create a conducive environment for business to thrive and other social partners to play their meaningful role. This partnership is significant considering that the business currently employs 13.5 million people whilst the government’s employment figure is just over 2.1 million.
In reference to the transformation of the economy, Mohale says, “BLSA cannot emphasise more the need for a broadened ownership of the economy as espoused in this manifesto because the South African economy needs to look like the majority of its citizens”. This follows the manifesto’s pledge that the ANC will be “de-concentrating and transforming the economy and opening it up to participation by small and medium enterprises, emerging co-operatives and township and village enterprises”.
Mohale further cautions the ANC to stay away from the South African Reserve Bank as this will enable political interference in a highly sensitive monetary sector and adds that the ruling party and its government should only provide a favourable environment for business to excel and create jobs. As part of BLSA’s commitment to inclusive socio-economic growth and transformation, our members contributed over 50% of the R290 billion pledged by local and international companies at the Investment summit last year.