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SA’s business leaders open letter courageous – DBSA CEO

The bank plans to double its loan book to R91bn by 2017.

JOHANNESBURG  – Development Bank of Southern Africa’s (DBSA’s) recently appointed CEO Patrick Dlamini praised the open letter written by a number of business leaders.

He told Moneyweb at a media briefing announcing the bank’s new strategy that the “business of business can never be business”. He was referring to the advertisement put out by business CEOs and chairs over the weekend concerning the current state of South Africa and the need for government and the private sector to work together. Dlamini was positive about this step taken by business saying that it was finally putting its hand up to be counted as part of the transformation of the country.

He also saw it as a courageous sign of leadership saying it is important for business to be cognisant of the context it finds itself in and to acknowledge that it is unsustainable for it to function in an environment that is not conducive. DBSA’s new turnaround strategy hopes make the environment more conducive by:

  • Increasing the bank’s spending on public private partnerships (PPP) to R3.5bn by 2017. Dlamini made comparisons with countries like China citing their meaningful and effective private partnership investments. The bank, Dlamini said, would be looking to partner specifically with businesses that operate in energy, education, transport, water and the ICT sector.
  • Partnering with the private sector on infrastructure projects, using both debt and equities.
  • Partnering with key national departments to build a centre of excellence in infrastructure delivery.
  • Partnering with Treasury in the implementation of the Cities Support Programmes aimed at accelerating key infrastructure projects in public transport, human settlements and green infrastructure, initially focusing on the eight metros.
  • Providing project management support and setting up a project preparation and innovation fund to incentivise municipalities to effectively use intergovernmental grants to drive delivery and development.
  • Leading the National Integrated Municipal Infrastructure Programme targeted at accelerating infrastructure delivery within 23 districts.
  • Having better functioning PPP projects.
  • Working with the private sector in opportunities such as student housing.

To achieve this and several other new growth opportunities the DBSA plans to double its loan book by 2017 to R91bn.

Asked how the bank would prevent corruption with such vast amounts of money Dlamini could not provide a concise plan. He placed emphasis on the role that top management and leadership had to play in dealing with corruption.

Corruption need not cost taxpayers any more than what it already has, says Dlamini. He acknowledged that it stemmed from the tender processes but only said that it could be eradicated by looking at the systems and processes that are put in place when the procurement process begins.

Apart from highlighting the larger role that PPP projects would play in the future of the bank, Dlamini also says that the bank wants to have an expanded role in Africa and take on greater responsibility in developing infrastructure projects.

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