Dec 28, 2012 - Business Permit    No Comments

Busa optimistic about Manaung decisions

Dec 21 2012 15:00 Sapa

 

 

Johannesburg – Business Unity South Africa on Friday welcomed policy decisions taken at the ANC’s Mangaung conference as positive for the economy and the country as a whole.

“Busa… found the overall message from the conference as positive and confidence-building for the country in general,” it said in a statement.

“Additionally, key economic decisions which were adopted will now hopefully boost investor confidence and spur economic growth.”

The business umbrella body singled out the ruling party’s decisions to reject nationalisation and its endorsement of the National Development Plan.

However, it said, for the plan to have a significant impact, true collaboration between government, business and labour was necessary.

It said business remained committed to working with government to address the challenges of unemployment, education and corruption.

 

 

Dec 28, 2012 - Business Permit    No Comments

We must unite to get South Africa working

Cyril Ramaphosa, Sunday Times, Johannesburg, 23 December 2012

The ANC’s 53rd national conference has finally provided certainty on a number of wide-ranging economic policy debates.

The conference could not have been more timely, given the challenges facing South Africa.

The gathering of the 4500 delegates representing ANC membership from the villages, townships, cities and suburbs of our country, took place to, among other things, reviews the progress made in implementing the resolutions of the 52nd conference in Polokwane in 2007, and adopt resolutions that will guide our movement for the next five years.

True to our culture in the ANC, the conference did not disappoint with the robustness of the debates.

There is no doubt about the significant progress that has been made in implementing the resolutions of Polokwane.

From a policy point of view, a New Growth Path and the Industrial Policy Plan Three, at the centre of which is the creation of jobs, have been put in place and are being implemented.

The government will be spending hundreds of billions of rands in the next five years developing key economic infrastructure, including railway lines, ports and roads. The foundations have been laid, but few of the results of this work have yet been realised. However, there have also been challenges that need urgent attention.

Polokwane did not anticipate the extent of the volatility emanating largely from the deteriorating global economic environment. The decline in the demand for our products from our trading partners exposes our dependence on the export of commodities.

Our domestic situation has also offered opportunities and presented threats which we must consider seriously.

Unlike many developing countries, we have a strong private sector, and our economy has largely been resilient in the face of the global financial crisis.

Our debt-to-GDP ratio is among the lowest in the world, and we have the biggest endowment of mineral resources in the world.

But our economy is not growing fast enough to enable us to create sufficient jobs. At the same time, our labour-relations system is not holding up in the context of the increasing inequalities and social gap in our country, now recognised as among the greatest in the world.

Some of these problems have started to concern some in the investor community and local businesses. While the concerns are legitimate, what triggered them are issues the ANC has been seized with for some time. We have always been aware that the historical socioeconomic marginalisation of the majority of our people needs to be addressed as soon as practically possible because our social stability will not be sustainable if they persist.

We accept that these matters require clarity, consistent communication and the implementation of policy. The national conference has now adopted the National Development Plan (NDP) as a vision for the country that is consistent with ANC policies, and has mandated the leadership to lead the whole of society in having the vision realised. Fortunately, most sectors of society – including the cabinet – have accepted and endorsed the plan. Now we need to start making the hard policy choices and effectively implement them.

In this regard, the conference has reaffirmed the centrality of the developmental state in driving economic development, and the NDP calls for the strengthening of state capacity.

The plan is to get South Africa working, and the NDP contains a set of interventions that will lead us to growth and development – and we need both.

The national conference has called for social dialogue between the government, labour and business to coordinate the implementation of economic policy.

Concretely, a partnership is required to grow our labour-absorbing industries, like manufacturing and infrastructure-build programmes. We also need to exploit the advantage of our natural resources in mining and agriculture.

The recent volatility in the global financial markets as well as the downgrading of the country by rating agencies should also strengthen our resolve to increase domestic savings for investments.

These interventions require a proper identification of South Africa’s core competencies in those areas, and then to build strategies around them.

These are as much decisions about what we will do as about what will not do, based on our competitiveness and developmental aspirations.

Our guiding light in such a social dialogue should be the reduction of poverty and inequality, and the creation of jobs. Social partners need to understand that what is at stake is the future of our country, and an entire generation of youth that will be lost if we concern ourselves only with narrow sectoral interests.

The development plan echoes this call when it asserts that trust and cooperation are require for our development and growth.

In the new year the ANC will rapidly develop a programme of action to realise the NDP’s objectives – and all our deployees have been instructed to ensure that all these objectives are integrated in all economic activities and other social interventions to speed up the socioeconomic emancipation of our people.

This can only be achieved if we all pull together and embrace a common vision.


Dec 28, 2012 - Business Permit    No Comments

Wanted: A prosperous South Africa

Dec 21 2012 16:17 Reuters

 

 

 

Bloemfontein – The ANC put its new No. 2 Cyril Ramaphosa at the head of a charm offensive on Friday as it sought to reassure both investors and a restless public it would tackle economic inequality without recourse to wholesale nationalisation.

Days after his appointment as party deputy to President Jacob Zuma, who was re-elected ANC chief, the anti-apartheid hero and businessman laid out the party’s strategic priorities.

Appearing at a business breakfast with Zuma and other ANC leaders elected at Mangaung, Ramaphosa stressed the ruling party backed a mixed economy model. But he added the state would intervene to ensure the country’s wealth was better shared.

“Within a mixed economy, the state has a role to play. It intervenes and the private sector also has a role,” Ramaphosa said, wearing like Zuma a red tie with his dark business suit.

The return of Ramaphosa to the ANC leadership will allow the party to capitalise on his experience and reputation for integrity. His popularity rests on both his history as an anti-apartheid mineworkers’ champion in the 1980s and his current pro-business credentials as SA’s second wealthiest black entrepreneur.

The ANC had its 100th anniversary this year. But the liberation movement has been split by feuding and has faced a groundswell of popular anger against graft, cronyism and widespread poverty and unemployment.

Deadly strikes swept the mines this year in the worst labour violence since the end of apartheid in 1994. It led to damaging credit downgrades and questions whether 70-year-old Zuma, who has faced a slew of corruption and personal scandals, can effectively lead the party and country.

Ramaphosa warmed to his new role on Friday as he finessed the ANC’s main economic policy takeaway from Bloemfontein. This was a decision to shun “classic, wholesale nationalisation” but for the state to intervene selectively in the economy where necessary in key areas such as mining and infrastructure.

Rejecting charges the ANC was “confused” on nationalisation, whose defenders at the conference were soundly defeated, Ramaphosa invoked the party’s 1955 Freedom Charter that declares “the people shall share in the wealth of the country”.

“Now the ANC’s duty is to make sure that is fulfilled, and fulfilling that would mean that in certain areas the state intervenes,” he said, giving the examples of a state mining company set up by the government and intervention to ensure that prices of drugs for HIV/AIDS sufferers remain affordably low.

Ramaphosa’s elevation was welcomed in business circles.

Moody’s, which with another credit rating agency has punished SA for its mining and leadership woes, said the ANC platform looked “more investor- and business-friendly than had generally been anticipated prior to the conference”.

Business Day newspaper said in an editorial: “Mr. Ramaphosa’s re-entry into party politics represents a victory for those dealing and negotiating in the real world, rather than in the world of ideological illusion.”

Wanted: A prosperous SA

But the Chamber of Mines and Moody’s said questions remained about how the government would intervene in the mining sector, and what additional taxes it might levy there. The ANC has also raised the idea of export curbs on minerals.

It also remained to be seen whether Ramaphosa, who has maintained a wealthy lifestyle in recent years far from his origins in the anti-apartheid workers’ struggle, can connect with the mass of voters who are poor and unemployed.

His comeback puts him in line for a possible future bid for the South African presidency currently held by Zuma who, if he remains the party candidate, is virtually assured of re-election as head of state in the next national vote in 2014.

At Mangaung, Zuma crushed a half-hearted leadership bid from deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, whose challenge grouped a loose alliance of opponents of the Zuma presidency. This included advocates of more radical policies such as nationalisation and seizure of white-owned farm land.

Asked about the ANC’s future ideological direction, Zuma replied: “Ideologically, we want a prosperous South Africa.”

He also made clear he would not immediately replace deputy president Motlanthe with Ramaphosa in the cabinet.

Zuma, who took the party leadership from former president Thabo Mbeki at a 2007 ANC conference, acknowledged one of the party’s biggest tasks was to address the popular clamour for better services, improved livelihoods and more jobs.

“There’s a huge backlog there we have to deal with,” he said.

Although Zuma denied any internal purge of top figures who had opposed him, some of these, such as Human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale and sports minister Fikile Mbalula, were dropped from the new ANC National Executive Committee (NEC).

Re-elected ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe made clear the party took a dim view of attempts to divide it, for example from expelled former Youth League leader Julius Malema. “If you mess up the ANC, the ANC messes you up,” he sai

 

Dec 12, 2012 - Business Permit    No Comments

South African film industry booming

 

Monday, 26 November 2012

South Africa‘s fast-growing film industry has hit a milestone with its largest commercial production to date, starring homegrown Hollywood actress Charlize Theron, the trade minister said on Friday.

South African-born, Oscar-winning actress Theron is currently shooting a fourth “Mad Max” film, “Fury Road”, in Cape Town, which has also hosted the likes of fellow Academy Award winners Hilary Swank and Denzel Washington.

“This film is significant because it is the largest commercial film that has been produced in South Africa,” said Minister Rob Davies at the Cape Town Film Studios. 

“It’s a major Hollywood production. Its presence here is going to be creating 800 jobs in South Africa for the duration of that particular film. So I think this marks a milestone in an evolving programme of support for the film industry.”

South Africa’s film industry has more than trebled its contribution to the economy to R8 billion between 2008 and 2012, up from R2.4 over the previous four years.

The country offers incentives to draw films and hosted 49 productions between 2004 and 2008, of which 52% were foreign. Since 2008, it has approved 271 productions.

The incentives include rebates on local spending, such as 20% for investments by foreign films, which Davies said had made the country a competitive destination. He said more than 30,000 jobs had been created.

“South Africa is now very, very well-positioned, and that is beginning to have an impact in terms of the films that are produced here and the jobs that those films create in South Africa. So this is a significant growth sector,” said Davies.

Dec 12, 2012 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home affairs gets OK to use soldiers

2012-11-29 22:14

Johannesburg – Using soldiers to work at ports of entry has received the nod from the Johannesburg Labour Court, a home affairs official said on Thursday.

Immigration director general Jackie McKay said the court ruled in favour of the department on Tuesday.

At issue was a project by the department to use SA National Defence Force members to man ports of entry for security reasons.

The Public Servants’ Association (PSA) objected, saying this would lead to job losses for current staff at ports.

McKay said the court ruled that the employment of soldiers would not have an adverse effect on PSA members or result in job losses.

“The judge found that the objectives of the project were geared towards ensuring state security and the security of the citizens and therefore it was in the public interest that the project be implemented.”

The PSA took home affairs to court after it deployed 350 soldiers at OR Tambo International Airport as part of the pilot project. Those people previously at the airport were retrained and sent elsewhere in the department, McKay said.

The PSA brought an urgent application in the labour court for an interdict to stop the department from employing SANDF members.

– SAPA

Dec 12, 2012 - Business Permit    No Comments

Dalai Lama court ruling welcomed

 

2012-11-29 14:29

Cape Town – Thursday’s Supreme Court of Appeal ruling vindicates the view that the government broke the laws of the country in delaying a decision on a visa application by the Dalai Lama, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said.

Speaking from Ulundi in KwaZulu-Natal via telephone to a media conference at Parliament, Buthelezi said he was delighted at the judgment.

“All this begs the question as to why the government, in twice preventing the entry of the Dalai Lama to South Africa, would do something so opposite to the will of the people of this country, the values of our Constitution, and all that which is good, noble, and decent in public affairs,” said the Inkatha Freedom Party leader.

Buthelezi and Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota brought the appeal after the Western Cape High Court in February dismissed their application challenging the delay in government granting a visa to the Tibetan spiritual leader.

The court found the case moot, as the Dalai Lama had already cancelled his trip.

Freedom of association

Lekota said he was “thrilled that, once again, the rule of law had been upheld”.

He said the Constitution provided Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and any other citizen, the right to freedom of association.

“If therefore, Archbishop Tutu or any other citizen of our country were to invite a friend to visit them, whether the majority party or the communist person does not like that person is irrelevant… the right given to us under our Constitution is to associate with whoever we choose to associate,” said Lekota.

The Tibetan spiritual leader eventually cancelled his trip to South Africa to attend Tutu’s 80th birthday on October 4, last year.

Tutu was outraged and accused the current government of being worse than the apartheid-era one.

– SAPA

Dec 12, 2012 - Business Permit    No Comments

Dept warns on immigrant workers

 

Nov 22 2012 17:00

Johannesburg – The department of home affairs on Thursday warned employers against taking on illegal immigrants.

“It is illegal and against the spirit of our Immigration Act to employ immigrants who are illegal in the country and are without the necessary permits to be in South Africa,” home affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni said in a statement.

The department was reacting to a request by Cosatu and Passop on Tuesday for Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor to give immigrant farmworkers in the Western Cape amnesty for the next three months.

“The two parties have reportedly called on minister Pandor to consider extending amnesty for three months to, particularly, workers from Lesotho,” Apleni said.

Pandor had not received an official request from the two organisations.

People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (Passop) and the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said the amnesty would avoid serious bloodshed and tensions between different immigrants and South African workers.

Protests about wages and living conditions started in De Doorns at the beginning of November and spread to 15 other towns in the Western Cape.

The protests started with table grape harvesters, who were calling for wages of R150 a day. Most earned between R69 and R75 a day.

“Now is too volatile a time to be implementing the immigration act, and farm owners who have previously employed undocumented workers for years are now dividing workers, using documentation as an excuse,” the two organisations said.

Apleni urged employers to ensure their workers were properly registered with the department of labour.

Workers should have the necessary documentation and work permits in line with the country’s immigration act.

“We wish to express our concern at reported remarks that may have the consequence of creating a climate conducive for the rise of xenophobic attacks against foreign migrants in the country,” Apleni said.

He said the department would continue to address issues of regularisation of illegal migrants in South Africa.

“Following the regularisation of illegal Zimbabwean nationals, the department would consider extending similar services to immigrants from other neighbouring countries,” Apleni said.

The department and ministry would decide on the issue once the Zimbabwean documentation project had been completed and finalised.