Johannesburg - The South African Chamber of Commerce
and Industry (Sacci) on Thursday welcomed the commitment to a year of action in
President Jacob Zuma's state of the nation address, but expressed concern about the
lack of detail in commitments, other than in the five priority areas.
"We anticipate that the delivery and implementation of the strategies outlined
would be as sound as the promises and commitments made in the address," a
Sacci welcomed the establishment of an independent system operator, the
establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Energy and the participation of
Independent Power Producers in electricity generation, all of which align with the
Sacci positions recently presented to Nersa.
It also welcomed initiatives to encourage the employment of the young and
inexperienced persons. "We look forward to engaging with government on these
proposals," Sacci said.
The body also welcomed the priority on education and skills development placed
in government's policies along with the infrastructure spending increase to R846bn will create a sound base for stronger economic development.
"Undertakings to address serious issues related to crime and security are long
overdue. Sacci seeks measurable improvements in the reduction of crime at all
levels and to improved efficiencies in the judicial system, particularly as it
impacts reputational risks relating to the hosting of the Soccer World Cup."
The body also welcomed the vigorous implementation of the local government
turnaround strategy and the improved integration of land reform and agricultural
support programmes with attention to small scale farmers.
Sacci also hailed the commitment to emission reduction targets but noted
business must be consulted on how this is to be achieved viably.
Sacci said however it would liked to have seen more of the creation of
jobs in the mainstream economy and that they comply with notion of decent
work, although it applauded the creation of 480 000 new non-mainstream jobs.
They also would have liked to have seen stronger support for the business
environment if the country is to realize greater job prospects.
"We are also optimistic future economic activity but our models show that
right now economic activity is still at low levels."
Moreover, Sacci noted, education and skills programmes will increase
productivity but there has been little success so far and no firm direction
as to how this is to be achieved.
The body would also have liked to have seen ministerial delivery
agreements extended to include remediation for non-performance and stronger
strategies to eradicate corruption and fraud, as 90% of our members surveyed
consider this a priority for attention.
"We acknowledge the difficulties experienced in mobilising the new
administration in 2009. The tone of the President's address supported by
the promise of improved economic activity and growth is encouraging to
business and should promote business confidence at a time when business
confidence is constrained," Sacci concluded.