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Business lauds Zuma speech

Feb 10 2012 08:09

Johannesburg - The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) was very pleased with the state-of-the-nation address, although disappointed that small business was ignored, CEO Neren Rau said on Thursday.

"We were very pleased with the speech given the current economic circumstances. We commend (President Jacob Zuma) for his choice of themes and level of detail provided, which exceeded the level of detail provided in the past."

However, Sacci was concerned about the blatant omission of small, medium and micro enterprises. The lack of a clear direction on policy was concerning.

"We would have liked to have seen some sort of long-term direction for the nation, some policy direction for foreign and domestic investors, especially on nationalisation, which was avoided.

"That sort of policy clarity was essential," he said, adding that it was also lacking in Zuma's ANC centenary address last month.

Sacci was looking for feedback on the local government turnaround strategy, but this was not mentioned.

The reduction in port charges was a good news.

"That has been a thorn in the side of my members for a while."

Rau also welcomed the planned improvements to infrastructure.

"Especially as it's all in projects that facilitate getting minerals to the coast and to international markets."

Rau said the creation of 365 000 jobs in 2011 was fantastic, despite the target having been 500 000, as it was a very difficult year.

In relation to the statutory commission to monitor non-compliance with black economic empowerment and the criminalisation of fronting, Rau said it might be time to review the process.

"We do think it may be an opportune time to review the entire process of BEE and transformation.

"We've tried it in its current form, we've identified a number of failings... maybe it is time to review the whole process... perhaps before we get too far along on the wrong path to take stock."

Rau said fronting was a consequence of an inadequate education system.

"We have these transformation targets, but if you don't have the education system turning out the skills required, then business's hands are tied... as a consequence you have distortions like fronting coming about."

As such, Sacci would have liked to have seen plans to improve the education system, he said.

sa economy  |  state of the nation 2012



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