Government and BUSA Target Areas of Priority

By Jessie Taylor

The South African government and local business leaders have committed to working together to remove obstacles to inclusive economic growth and job creation. To this end, three priority areas have been identified for urgent intervention: energy, transport and logistics, and crime and corruption. In an unprecedented move and under the umbrella of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), CEOs of South Africa’s largest companies from all sectors are coming together in a coordinated and committed way.

Their commitment is to work together urgently to address key challenges and ensure the country achieves its potential of inclusive growth and job creation, working with the Government-led National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM), National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC), and Joint Initiative to Fight Crime and Corruption (JICC). Various government departments, relevant state-owned enterprises and other appropriate structures will collaborate on clearly defined initiatives with organised business, represented by the implementation platform for BUSA, Business for South Africa (B4SA), said President Cyril Ramaphosa.

President Ramaphosa said: “This initiative will make a real and marked difference in rebuilding our economy and setting it on a path of sustained, inclusive growth. It is driven by a shared determination to overcome the severe challenges we currently face and to mobilise the country’s substantial capabilities towards the achievement of that goal. We welcome this commitment from business and undertake as government to work to ensure the success of this partnership.”

B4SA has made significant progress in establishing the three priority workstreams to work closely with government in implementing the urgent necessary actions, said Martin Kingston, chair of the B4SA steering committee. Mr Kingston said: “B4SA’s three priority workstreams are fully mobilised and, through joint collaboration and strategic partnerships with government, are focused on articulating and delivering a critical path to recovery, building societal and business confidence, as well as supporting the government to deliver on these interventions. We are expecting to make considerable progress in the short term to realise collective benefits and set us on a sustainable path which capitalises on the country’s significant potential.”

The Following Progress Has Been Made on The Three Workstreams:

1. Energy: Collaboration, through NECOM, is underway to end load shedding and achieve energy security. Businesses will support a drive to close the current energy capacity gap and build confidence in restoring energy security. The business sector has also agreed to further capacitate NECOM to develop a confidence-building national communication plan that is credible and transparent with visible and demonstrable actions.

2. Transport and Logistics: Efforts are underway to stabilise and improve operational performance on key trade corridors by mobilising private sector resources and accelerating the implementation of the National Rail Policy to close the capacity gap. Work is also being done to integrate the business sector’s efforts into government’s Freight Logistics Roadmap and enable the development of work plans, deliverables and timelines. The private sector will also be integrated into the recently formed NLCC.

3. Crime and Corruption: As fighting crime and corruption remain a government function, the government is leading this area by strengthening law enforcement agencies, such as the Investigating Directorate (ID) in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The government is also implementing intelligence, policing and other reforms. The business sector will provide support to these efforts by assisting with expert resources and the establishment of the JICC. The workstream priorities will be continuously reassessed and reprioritised and, in the future, additional focus areas, such as water and infrastructure, may be brought into scope, explained Mr Kingston.

Mr Kingston said: “Government and businesses have successfully demonstrated the benefits of partnership for the common good of South Africans through the Covid-19 pandemic, the vaccination programme, the recent formation of the Resource Mobilisation Fund, and many other examples. We have again agreed to work collaboratively, in this case with joint, fit-for-purpose teams through NECOM, NLCC, and JICC, to help drive the urgently needed economic recovery work programme. This will result in workable solutions, and we will communicate publicly on a regular basis as to the objectives and timelines to achieve meaningful progress”.

Uniting Business Leaders

BUSA is the first representative and unified organisation for business in South Africa. Formed in October 2003, BUSA is the largest federation of business organisations in terms of GDP and employment contribution. BUSA is the formally recognised representative of business at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), where it interacts with various government departments, organised labour and the community constituency across a variety of structures. BUSA’s work is focused mainly on influencing policy and legislative development for an enabling environment for inclusive growth and employment.

Under the umbrella of BUSA, B4SA is an alliance of South African business leaders working with the South African government and other social partners to step up, lead and help create and deliver sustainable solutions for South Africa. B4SA’s objective is to mobilise business resources and capacity to work alongside and in support of government to address bottlenecks impacting economic growth and social development in South Africa.

Source: SA Government / B4SA / BUSA

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