Latest insights and research posted on the BLSA Hub

Covid cases

Onus is on business to ensure there isn’t a rapid rise in Covid cases

POSTED ON: May 26, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

There is a need for extra caution because SA is relaxing its lockdown at a time when the virus spreads more rapidly.

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BLSA CEO’s weekly – 25 May

POSTED ON: May 25, 2020

The positive message from government is that it is committed to driving a recovery and is open-minded on engaging with business on how to do it. The shift to level three next week is important and welcome.

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A changing world

A changing world, where the innovative stand a chance of survival

POSTED ON: May 21, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing businesses to rethink how they operate. Those that innovate – and quickly – will be able to firstly keep their heads above water and then prosper

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Covid-19 restrictions

Need to relax the Covid-19 restrictions is becoming more urgent by the day

POSTED ON: May 19, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

It was encouraging to see government’s commitment and eagerness to moving to level 3 in an effort to stave off the looming economic catastrophe.

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BLSA CEO's weekly

BLSA CEO’s weekly – 18 May

POSTED ON: May 18, 2020

Cyril Ramaphosa’s admission that some lockdown restrictions had been unclear, poorly explained and even contradictory was a powerful step in resetting government’s relationship with the public.

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Eskom the last question

Eskom the questions still to come …

POSTED ON: May 14, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

Eskom grasped the opportunity from lockdown to deal with maintenance issues but its debt is still the biggest sovereign risk to our economy.

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covid-19

Level four lockdown is fluid, not time-based

POSTED ON: May 13, 2020

Level four is something of a testing ground to assess Covid-19 readiness for moving to levels three and two, to learn more about the challenges and states of readiness, trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel told an online webcast with business leaders on Friday organised by Business Leadership South Africa.

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Gender-based violence

Lockdown: BLSA supports #NoExcuse initiative to tackle gender-based violence

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Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) has thrown its support behind the #NoExcuse initiative which aims to tackle gender-based violence (GBV) during the national lockdown.

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IMF loan

Seeking an IMF loan will take us from dogma to pragmatism

POSTED ON: May 12, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

ANC leadership is finally accepting the world as it is and not how it wants it to be.

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BLSA CEO's weekly

BLSA CEO’s weekly – 11 May

POSTED ON: May 11, 2020

Government must be agile in responding to changing conditions. The risk-based framework for opening the economy allows agility to some extent by giving it tools to fine-tune.

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BLSA CEO's weekly

Falling revenues and fewer options …

POSTED ON: May 7, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

If our fiscal roadmap includes plans for the start of a new state-owned airline and, given our most recent record in managing one in SAA, one wonders what sort of terms will be struck.

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Innovation needed

Innovation is needed, not a rehash of old ideas

POSTED ON: May 5, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

That the government is still toying around with bailing out companies such as SAA is a worrying trait that might keep us mired in the past.

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Illicit trade

COVID-19: Illicit trade still rearing its ugly head

POSTED ON: May 4, 2020

By Tebele Luthuli

As people, governments, businesses and civil societies across the globe grapple with the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns, criminal syndicates are taking advantage.

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BLSA CEO's weekly

BLSA CEO’s weekly

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Big businesses as well as SMMEs are facing a serious calamity with the Covid 19 crisis.

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bans on cigarettes and alcohol

Prohibitions: unintended consequences

POSTED ON: April 30, 2020

The bans on cigarette and alcohol sales have dramatically boosted the fortunes of criminal syndicates and even seen gangs expanding their activities into these markets as their regular criminal activities have been disrupted by the lockdown.

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easing of lockdown

The easing of the lockdown

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By Busi Mavuso

On Friday, the curtain finally starts to lift on what must rank as the most difficult period for a South African economy that has been through the worst over the past decade.

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Alcohol ban

Alcohol ban during lockdown

POSTED ON: April 28, 2020

By Tebele Luthuli

The closure of taverns and shebeens due to lockdown, while necessary, has unfortunately meant significant loss of income for a lot of people across South Africa, particularly in poorer areas.

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BLSA CEO's weekly

BLSA CEO’s weekly – 28 April

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By Busi Mavuso

The phased easing of the lockdown is a welcome step for government to take in managing the covid-19 crisis.

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Level 4 lockdown

Let’s have a clear road map of how businesses will operate on level 4 lockdown

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By Busi Mavuso

Business has been at the coalface of the damage caused by the lockdown and is most anxious to get back to work.

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saloon

We are in last chance saloon

POSTED ON: April 23, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

We needed decisive intervention from government in the face of an economy that is set to reel from the effects of covid-19. It was delivered.

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Reopening the economy

Extraordinary times: Patel on phased approach to reopening the economy

POSTED ON: April 22, 2020

Trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel briefs business on government’s risk-adjusted strategy in reopening the economy.

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Economic recovery

Health-friendly economic recovery plan is urgently needed

POSTED ON: April 21, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

There’s a lot riding on the solutions that the cabinet proposes to recast the economy for much-needed growth.

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SAA

BLSA CEO’s weekly – 20 April

POSTED ON: April 20, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

SAA is a symbol of government’s mismanagement of the economy. The airline is now terminal. The Covid-19 crisis has put the lid on the coffin, but there were no alternatives even before the crisis.

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ban on cigarette sales

Review ban on cigarette sales during lockdown

POSTED ON: April 17, 2020

By Tebele Luthuli

The reasons for the ban on cigarette sales, though, remain unclear and should be open for discussion and review.

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covid-19

The economic war on the covid-19 pandemic

POSTED ON: April 16, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

National Treasury and the Reserve Bank are stepping up to the plate with responses to the Covid-19 pandemic – despite having very little wiggle room given our fiscal constraints.

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Lockdown extension

BUSI MAVUSO: Lockdown extension was always on the cards, but a further one is frightening

POSTED ON: April 14, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

The two-week extension of the lockdown is like taking a punch to the gut, but we need to consider the ramifications. Economists are penciling a deeper GDP contraction this year of -9.7%.

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BLSA CEO's weekly

BLSA CEO’s weekly – 14 April

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By Busi Mavuso

There is a lot government can do from a policy point of view to increase the survival rate of small businesses.

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SA lockdown

Consequences of SA lockdown and bad policy: what options are left?

POSTED ON: April 9, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

The lockdown is unprecedented – there’s no manual on how to respond to the shutdown of commerce.

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economy

BUSI MAVUSO: Kick-starting the economy is an urgent but delicate matter

POSTED ON: April 7, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

We need to consider the ramifications of the lockdown on the world once we win the war against Covid-19.

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BLSA CEO's weekly

BLSA CEO’s weekly – 6 April

POSTED ON: April 6, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

We are in a living experiment of different policy choices in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The lock-down that we are enduring represents the best policy choice given the experiences of countries around the world that have faced the virus earlier.

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job crisis

A deepening job crisis looms

POSTED ON: April 2, 2020

By Busi Mavso

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdowns it has triggered locally and internationally, some estimates say as many as 1.1 million jobs are at risk in SA.

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SA's credit rating

BUSI MAVUSO: The guillotine falls … can we turn it around?

POSTED ON: March 31, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

We have hit the economic iceberg. The decision by Moody’s to downgrade our credit rating to junk finally cut SA’s tenuous hold on its last investment-grade rating.

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BLSA CEO's weekly

BLSA CEO’s Weekly – 30 March

POSTED ON: March 30, 2020

The Sword of Damocles has fallen. SA’s debt is now rated junk by Moody’s and raising new debt will be more expensive. The question is what government does next.

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LockdownNow

Lockdown, the only intervention …

POSTED ON: March 26, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

Tonight we head into a first in South Africa’s young history, with the entire population being placed under lockdown for our greater good.

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downgrade

Businesses collaborate with govt to mitigate Covid-19 impact

POSTED ON: March 24, 2020

Interventions by governments and monetary authorities around the world have been dramatic in response to Covid-19 – reminiscent of war times.

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BUSI MAVUSO: Moody’s downgrade or not, SA must press on with structural reform

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By Busi Mavuso

SA needs to implement structural reforms, which will imbue the state with credibility at a time when it will count the most as investors settle into a post-coronavirus world.

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BLSA CEO's weekly

BLSA CEO’s weekly – 23 March

POSTED ON: March 23, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

We have to pull together to confront Covid-19. Business is mobilising. Important objectives are to ensure we can continue getting goods and services to consumers and to increase supply of goods that are particularly needed now such as hand sanitiser, personal protection equipment for frontline staff and medicines.

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Coronavirus

Curb coronavirus spread, but economic bedlam awaits regardless

POSTED ON: March 20, 2020

The shock of coronavirus on SA’s economy will be dire, regardless of whether or not the country successfully contains the spread.

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Coronavirus

CORONAVIRUS, the response of organized business …

POSTED ON: March 19, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

SA is caught up in a perfect storm of a weak economy, loadshedding and the Coronavirus. This threatens us with another full-blown recession.

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Coronavirus

Stimulus package to best respond to coronavirus

POSTED ON: March 18, 2020

BLSA CEO Busi Mavuso recommends the required stimulus package to best respond to coronavirus, which is proving to have dire consequences on SA’s embattled economy.

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Covid-19

State of our economy during the covid-19 crisis

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By Busi Mavuso

Coronavirus gives SA an opportunity to make bold political decisions and effect the structural reforms we have been talking about

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Uncertainty in a time of coronavirus …

POSTED ON: March 17, 2020

By Busi Mavuso

Indecision is a certainty in SA that has long plagued our economy. But now we have an unprecedented new layer of uncertainty added in the form of coronavirus.

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Illicit trade

We must stamp out illicit trade to boost the fiscus

POSTED ON: March 16, 2020

It’s time to take strong against illicit trade, which is doing tremendous damage to the economy.

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SAA

BLSA CEO’s weekly – 16 March

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BLSA is a business organisation that believes in South Africa’s future and shares the values set out in the Constitution. In 2017, BLSA signed a contract with South Africa, committing business 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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BLSA CEO's weekly

B-BBEE must create jobs: BLSA CEO

POSTED ON: March 15, 2020

BLSA CEO Busisiwe Mavuso says Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) needs to create job opportunities.

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What are SA’s stimulus options, if any?

POSTED ON: March 12, 2020

Coronavirus induced market crisis is worse now than in 2007 when South Africa had a budget surplus.

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SA is losing billions due to the scourge of illicit trade

POSTED ON: March 11, 2020

Following a dialogue session on Tuesday, Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Busi Mavuso lamented that South Africa’s economy was characterised by low growth, which was further exacerbated by contributing factors such as illicit trade.

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High-flying criminals will get their comeuppance

POSTED ON: March 10, 2020

As big business we are working tirelessly to stem the rising tide of crime.

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Not the time to trade family jewels

POSTED ON: March 5, 2020

An estimated 2GW of power generation outside Eskom is just waiting for state approval – but nothing has happened despite assurances by President Ramaphosa that this is a path that his administration has chosen.

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Life support must come with reforms

POSTED ON: March 3, 2020

It is well past the time to review all of our SOEs and make the necessary reforms to get our focus back on growing this economy in an inclusive manner.

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A welcome step on public sector wages, but action is still needed on SOE vampires

POSTED ON: March 2, 2020

What we called for in last week’s Budget Speech 2020 was substance rather than the bluster of words of intent. Tito Mboweni rose to the challenge.

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Mboweni rises to the challenge

POSTED ON: February 26, 2020

Tito Mboweni has faced up to the challenges and delivered a tough budget that will rescue the state from financial disaster – if it can be implemented.

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The toughest budget since democracy

POSTED ON: February 25, 2020

South Africa’s national finances are in a perilous state and the finance minister will have the difficult task of setting out how they will be managed.

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SAA

THE BUDGET: “SUBSTANCE OVER BLUSTER”

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Much is riding in the 2020 Budget speech because a slide into full junk status by Moody’s is a very clear and present danger.

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Bold leadership is required to end SA’s jobs crisis

POSTED ON: February 20, 2020

The dual catastrophes of South Africa’s unemployment and economic growth situations can only be met by leadership with a will to make the right but perhaps politically less palatable choices.

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Urgent implementation required on positive Sona messages

POSTED ON: February 19, 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa gave a positive SONA 2020 with some real plans to deal with our economic problems. The challenge is implementation.

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Cyril Ramaphosa’s Sona is the most significant speech since 1994

POSTED ON: February 11, 2020

It is up to President Cyril Ramaphosa to reinvigorate and inspire confidence in South Africans from all walks of life in his SONA.

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Cosatu’s debt bailout proposal for Eskom amounts to nothing more than a free lunch

POSTED ON: February 10, 2020

SA can’t use public pensions as a convenient piggy bank to bail out our indebted SOEs and avoid fundamental reforms.

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The argument against appointing a ‘land tsar’

POSTED ON: February 6, 2020

Placing land reform in the hands of a government official – a ‘land tsar’ – will only add another layer of policy uncertainty to South Africa’s economic story.

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Prescribed assets as bail out is a step in the wrong direction

POSTED ON: January 30, 2020

Prescribed assets, on the surface, may seem to be a quick-fix to Eskom’s problems but that would serve only to guarantee poor returns for pensioners. BLSA argues for some hard decisions to be taken now to ensure long-term sustainability of Eskom and other SOEs.

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WEF report card for team South Africa

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The South African story and its main architects should always hold centre of place at forums such as the WEF in Davos and not cower away into corners under irresponsible economic paths because of our own policy inertia.

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The SAA meltdown: a hard lesson on the costs of indecision

POSTED ON: January 27, 2020

SAA, through the actions of our political players, is now effectively a privatised, inefficient enterprise, a situation caused by a legacy of bad direction by its shareholder.

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Illicit trade and South Africa’s vehicle sector

POSTED ON: January 22, 2020

Cheap as they may be to a South African consumer that has been struggling under the weight of an under-performing economy for the better part of five years, the illegal import of vehicles from places as far as Japan, China and Singapore will prove more expensive in the end to the country through the loss of millions in revenue.

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It’s about generation …

POSTED ON: January 20, 2020

With a new leadership team in Eskom now in place, it’s important that the focus remains firmly on what the crux of our electricity challenges is: the inability to meet power demand. Regardless of the changes that may come to the almost 97-year old parastatal, this is its inescapable truth.

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Business Leadership South Africa mourns the passing of Dr Richard Maponya

POSTED ON: January 7, 2020

Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) is saddened by the passing of the business icon, Dr Richard Maponya, who passed away on the morning of the 6th January 2020 after a short illness.

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Capability outside Eskom for power generation is the light at the end of the tunnel

POSTED ON: December 17, 2019

Here are short-term measures that can be be acted upon immediately to help the energy crisis. They will contribute additional capacity and, importantly, boost sentiment.

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Labour, the missing player in South Africa’s turnaround

POSTED ON: December 10, 2019

As difficult a path that business rescue is, and as wary as we are of the unintended consequences, the shareholder’s stance in the SAA matter has put to paid one thing: companies are not too big to fail. Eskom, of course is a special case. This should however not incentivise unions to prolong their rigid approach; rather, they should try and be part of the solution.

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Government needs to pull out all the stops to escape low-growth trap

POSTED ON: December 5, 2019

As much as the government under President Cyril Ramaphosa focuses on drawing investment into the country, it is in matters such as freeing up the private sector, and in particular SMMEs, where we’ll find shorter, quicker pathways to a better growth outlook for the economy.

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Ethics Barometer will enable private sector to serve society by putting ethics first

POSTED ON: December 2, 2019

There’s much introspection that we as business need to do, particularly to gauge just where we need to improve our relations with all our stakeholders. This is a conversation that isn’t reserved just for South Africa because of any uniqueness in our history, but one that can increasingly take shape across the globe. While the Ethics Barometer has been acclimatised to our local conditions, the Harvard-developed tool is relevant internationally.

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Decisiveness called for with our day of economic reckoning just around the corner

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Call them friendly to the South African story, or more considerate of the structural fault-lines in our economy, for whatever their reasoning, they’ve resisted following the path of their peers. But come next February, it seems we may have run out of rope if promises of the new political dispensation at the helm of the governing party, ANC, aren’t translated into hard decisions.

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An open letter to Eskom’s new CEO

POSTED ON: November 18, 2019

Congratulations on your appointment as CEO of Eskom, which is undoubtedly one of the most challenging and important jobs in the country, as we are sure you are well aware.
As organised business, we see your appointment as a vital step towards stabilising the outlook for energy availability in Africa’s largest electricity company after more than a decade of instability in the institution

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Innovation needed

SAA shareholder needs to support board’s turnaround plan

POSTED ON: November 15, 2019

SAA and its stakeholders are striking this weekend and the airline will lose about R50m a day, but what we would ask of its shareholder representative that it now back its board and executive in managing its dispute. To intervene now would only strengthen the belief among unions that it is indeed “too big, too fail”, serving to harden positions and in effect hasten SAA’s demise.

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Selling SA in a challenging global investment climate

POSTED ON: November 13, 2019

Broader macro constraints need to be tackled, such as the implementation of measures that will ensure energy security, stabilising the debt pile and consolidating the fiscus. Unless these are addressed, many participants may continue viewing events like the investment conference simply as mere talk shops.

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Wage bill is perhaps the greatest challenge facing Ramaphosa’s administration

POSTED ON: November 7, 2019

THE sixth administration is going to have to face up to some hard truths over the next few months if it is going to show some real commitment to drawing a line in the continued deterioration of its finances. There’s no harder truth than its bloated wage bill.

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BLSA CEO's weekly

Much work ahead

POSTED ON: November 1, 2019

Recovery should kick off with allowing state-owned enterprises to be run like businesses

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The challenges are clear; working together we can turn things around

POSTED ON: October 30, 2019

The MTBPS has brought home how serious our financial predicament is. All social partners, including business, labour and civil society will have to work together to turn around what has become an entrenched low growth trend. BLSA is ready to play its part in developing the solutions needed to put South Africa back onto a growth path that will deliver our people a better future, free of poverty.

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Gordhan’s Eskom plan a positive step towards sustainability

POSTED ON: October 29, 2019

All South Africans stand to benefit from a reliable, low-cost electricity supply industry that can support the development of the economy. We look forward to further development of the future scenario for Eskom, including details on the financial plan to stabilise the utility’s balance sheet and the appointment of a permanent CEO to deliver on that the roadmap.

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“Mini Budget” preview – mini in name only

POSTED ON: October 28, 2019

In years past, this week’s speech – that doesn’t carry as much weight as the February budget – was primarily seen as a marker in calendars of just when the state would be unofficially going on its summer holidays. It couldn’t be more different now as it will serve as a statement of intent of Ramaphosa’s first administration, and perhaps the constant date changes bear testimony to its importance – we hope.

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Integrated Resource Plan: we welcome the certainty, but worry about coal and nuclear hold on ANC politics

POSTED ON: October 20, 2019

Despite our reservations about the planned coal and nuclear future and further expansions because of cost, environmental and perhaps unavoidable political considerations, we welcome the clear path being set in the IRP for the industry – and for the clear role for investors to play in shaping our energy future. This week’s load-shedding serves no better reminder of the urgency of the matter.

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Reserve Bank nationalisation: a political debate that won’t die

POSTED ON: October 18, 2019

The loss of unambiguous independence of the bank in its oversight of financial stability would potentially put South Africa at odds with international obligations and risk its continued access to the global financial system. SA is highly dependent on foreign capital inflows to finance its budget and current account deficits.

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BLSA CEO's weekly

Prescribed assets? There are more productive options to spur growth

POSTED ON: October 16, 2019

Prescribed assets primarily will divert savings from the private sector to the public sector, reducing private sector investment. It is also a challenge to the principle of property rights, effectively expropriating the savings of a certain segment of the public.

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Business can’t ignore pleas of women who fear to walk down the street or office corridors

POSTED ON: September 22, 2019

Social cohesion improves economic growth by stopping physical and human capital destruction and creating social capital, cooperation and trust in society.

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The slow pace of change within SOEs is enough to cause panic

POSTED ON: September 19, 2019

Over the past two years, the idea mooted has been one of prescribed assets as being a panacea for ailing state-owned enterprises and in the main it’s all about Eskom. While we appreciate the desperation of the Eskom question, we urge caution on something that looks like a knee-jerk response and on the surface at least, an easy fix for what’s seemingly exasperated policymakers.

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Gender-based violence

BLSA condemns gender-based violence

POSTED ON: September 18, 2019

Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO, Busi Mavuso condemns gender-based violence against women and children. Mavuso was interviewed by eNCA following #SandtonShutdown campaign by civil society at the doorsteps of Johannesburg Stocks Exchange demanding that big business fund projects to fight the scourge. Watch the interview

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South Africa Lacks Discipline, says BLSA CEO

POSTED ON: September 11, 2019

BLSA CEO, Busi Mavuso joined anchor, Bongani Bingwa on SABC News’s Democracy Gauge programme to discuss Effective Leadership in South Africa. Mavuso says South Africa lacks discipline and the political leadership is not helping the country to move forward. Watch as she engages Bongani Bingwa

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Cabinet must forget squabbles and back the Mboweni plan

POSTED ON: September 4, 2019

When Cabinet meets tomorrow they will in all likelihood do so against a background of news of a positive second-quarter of economic growth and thereby escaping the technical definition of a recession – two consecutive quarters of contraction. For some in that meeting, that may just provide some space to discuss other pressing matters in their departments, unrelated to all things economy and growth.

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FNB initiates a dialogue with SA’s township entrepreneurs

POSTED ON: November 14, 2017

In line with Global Entrepreneurship Week last month, FNB Business conducted a series of engagements with township entrepreneurs across South Africa’s biggest townships. The engagements started in Tembisa and Soweto townships in Gauteng and were followed by uMlazi Township in KwaZulu- Natal and Khayelitsha in the Western Cape. Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO of FNB Business said…

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