BLSA CEO's weekly - 3 May

BLSA’s CEO’s Weekly Newsletter – Enjoy the vote, and hope the next administration continues our progress

POSTED ON: May 26, 2024 IN by Admin
BLSA CEO's weekly - 3 May BLSA CEO's weekly - 3 May

By Busisiwe Mavuso

What do I hope for from the next administration? Chiefly, that we accelerate the momentum we’ve managed to build so far.

On Wednesday we will go to the polls to elect the parties and politicians we want to represent us. Elections are a remarkable moment to reflect on the strength of our constitutional democracy. Whatever our challenges as a country, the fact that we can peacefully come together and vote is a foundation for democratic governance that binds us together.

It is key that everyone respects our constitution and conducts the elections in a way that is free and fair and accepts the outcomes. Doing anything different is to disrespect our democracy and our shared participation in governance.

The sixth administration of our democracy has made solid progress in stabilising institutions and driving reforms necessary to get our economy out of the low growth, low employment trap we have been stuck in for over a decade. It was good to see the signing of the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday, a milestone in the journey to get the NPA back into fighting shape. The amendments provide for the permanent establishment of an investigating directorate in the NPA that can help fight corruption. Corruption has undone so much of the progress made since democracy and rebuilding the NPA is critical. The leadership there has been working hard and the legislation will empower further progress.

Important economic reforms have also been made. The Operation Vulindlela unit that was established between the Presidency and National Treasury to accelerate implementation of reforms has been remarkably successful thanks to the tenacious efforts of a dedicated team. OV has been key in restructuring the electricity system to put loadshedding behind us and create a competitive electricity generation system that could in time even reduce the costs of power. Our broken logistics system is also being slowly repaired on the roadmap that OV ushered through. These kinds of reforms take years to shift the trajectory of our economy as they slowly work their way through into the investment decisions of firms from improved electricity and logistics reliability. The challenge for any democratic government is to make the choices now that will pay off especially in the medium and long term. We have had to deal with the legacy of decisions not made decades ago, when we should have been liberalising and investing in the electricity, water and logistics systems. I am pleased that over the past five years government has been able to make the changes needed to deliver long-term payoffs.

What do I hope for from the next administration? Chiefly, that we accelerate the momentum we’ve managed to build so far. OV, as a delivery unit, has proved to be a good model for achieving change. There is much more work to do – we need to conclude the visa reform process to make it easier to bring in the skills we need to kickstart the economy. The logistics roadmap also still has a long way to go. We need to conclude reforms that will enable the private sector to bring its skills and capital to turn around the performance of our ports and railways. Huge amounts of economic output are currently being squandered because we cannot get goods from production sites to markets around the world. Our ports score near the bottom of global rankings for efficiency and our rail network simply can’t meet demand. Getting this right would immediately enable significant economic activity, bringing jobs and taxes with it.

The key to the reform successes so far has been the partnership between government and the private sector. Through Business for South Africa (B4SA) we have mobilised significant private sector resources and skills to support government in key interventions where expertise and outside resources are needed to implement long lasting changes. The next administration must embrace partnership to continue the reforms.

Of course, the private sector is not here to compensate for or replace government, but we have a shared objective in improving the business environment and thereby the performance of the economy. Together we are better equipped to overcome far faster the obstacles that frustrate progress.

I hope the next administration embraces partnership and dedicates itself to continuing reforms and accelerating implementation. Together we can realise this country’s potential to create wealth and employment for its people, an aspiration that I know we all share.


BLSA is a business organisation that believes in South Africa’s future and shares the values set out in the Constitution. BLSA is committed to playing its part in creating a South Africa of increasing prosperity for all by harnessing the resources and capabilities of business in partnership with government and civil society to deliver economic growth, transformation and inclusion.



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