Pretoria – Radical economic transformation should not “scare” off investors from South Africa, according to Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu.
Zulu was speaking at a business forum between South Africa and Qatar at the Department of International Relations in Pretoria on Wednesday. Businessmen from South Africa and Qatar were in attendance, as well as Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Bin Mohammed Al Thani, a member of the royal family.
This forum is part of the two-day state visit of the emir of Qatar. The state visit aims to “deepen and strengthen” political, social and economic relations between the two countries, the Presidency previously said in a statement.
President Jacob Zuma visited Qatar in May 2016.
The state visit also coincides with National Day of Action protests happening in the Pretoria central business district.
READ: Zuma angers Qatari delegation over change in plans due to protest embarrassment – sources
The protests follow the Cabinet reshuffle, which saw Zuma replace former finance minister Pravin Gordhan with former Home affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. The decision led to rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch downgrading South Africa’s credit rating to junk status over policy uncertainty. Moody’s has placed the country on review for a downgrade, although its current rating is two notches above junk status.
In the light of the downgrade, Zulu said South Africans would "weather the storm", adding "one thing I can assure you, we are ready to deal with the challenge, it is not the first time we are dealing with this challenge".
Zulu explained that even though a difficult period lies ahead, government has called South Africans to work together. “We weathered the storm prior to 1994 and we will continue even now,” she said.
Zulu also highlighted that although the country is on a path towards radical economic transformation, investors should know that their investments are still “safe” in the country: “the bottom line is, there is no compromise, the majority of the people have had their land taken away and now 87% of land belongs to the minority".
Zulu explained that radical economic transformation would address stability in the country. “It must not scare (off) investors, or (make them) think their investment is not safe. Their investment in South Africa is always safe.”
Zulu added that the country has strong institutions, which include Parliament, the judiciary and financial institutions. “Anyone who comes to South Africa, their investment is protected… The Constitution protects the rights of all, including those investing in South Africa,” she said.
The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, also delivered an address at the forum. He encouraged investment into Qatar and pointed out the economy’s robust growth of 4%, compared to South Africa’s 0.3% achieved in 2016. Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter: