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SACCI comments on the State of the Nation Address

Welcomes the focus on job creation as a theme throughout the speech.

On attending the Opening of Parliament, the President of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI), Mr Chose Choeu made the following comments on President Zuma’s 2011 State of the Nation Address:

We welcome

  • The theme of an Activist Parliament responsive to the needs of the people and the progress on 5 priority areas.  However it is doubtful whether we can be considered to have done well in all areas
  • The focus on job creation as a theme throughout the speech
  • Progress on the delivery of basic services.  The complaints about service delivery cited are pervasive in many towns in which our chambers operate. Faster delivery is important to prevent the pace of accumulation of challenges superseding the pace of improvements
  • Improvements in education, although these are not yet translating into improvements in the level of skills in the workforce. The focus on improving education by addressing resources and the Triple-T undertaking along with the contribution of the parastatals to the development of technical skills as opposed to just throwing more money at the problem will make a dent in the skills challenge
  • Further exchange control reforms and we await details in the Budget speech
  • The recognition that government needs to work with business and other social partners to achieve its objectives and that job creation is a prime function of the private sector but that government will play its role. However government cannot call on business to play a stronger role in employment when there is restrictive legislation in the offing.
  • The attention paid to the six priority areas/industries identified for job creation but there needs to be greater awareness of what each can contribute.  Agriculture for example is a seasonal employer which constrains its ability to create permanent jobs.
  • Allocations to job creation initiatives and the R10 billion allocated by the IDC for economic activities with high employment potential.
  • The R20 billion allocation for tax breaks for manufacturing, new investors and expansion. Implementation is eagerly anticipated and should contribute to large private sector employment creation
  • The focus on SME support finance and reduction of red tape but these have been regular policy themes which have not been supported by implementation or delivery
  • Merging the enterprise development agencies which could have a positive impact provided that it is done on the basis of improved efficiency and effectiveness and greater reach and accessibility
  • Improved access to water for communities
  • The commitment to procuring power from independent renewable energy power producers
  • The focus not just on successes in combating crime but also the paying of greater attention to combating corruption through the establishment of the special Investigating and Special Anti-corruption units
  • The introduction of flexible visa requirements but a commitment to extending the concept of a SADC visa that was issued to visitors to the 2010 FIFA World Cup and negotiations with SADC member states in this regard was lacking
  • The repair and maintenance of the road system as part of the expanded public works programme that will create 4,5 million jobs
  • The revival of land reform projects and irrigation schemes

We would like to have seen greater focus and/or detail on:

  • What role government will play in creating and maintaining a nurturing environment for business so that employers can contribute to job creation
  • The crisis framework which constituted a success for the tripartite compact but implementation was incomplete
  • Legislative reforms that are contemplated to make it easier to register business, to cut administrative costs and to avoid duplication.
  • Detail on the implementation of government’s official beneficiation strategy
  • The establishment of an independent system operator in the electricity industry that was mentioned last year.
  • A commitment to introduce public private partnerships to assist private power producers to enter the market.
  • An indication when the green paper on land reform will be published as promised last year.
  • Initiatives to encourage the employment of young and/or inexperienced persons mentioned last year where progress is still insufficient and what is now to be done differently to address youth unemployment
  • Greater progress on the implementation of the Local Government Turnaround Strategy and feedback on whether the Ministerial Delivery Agreements are working
  • What is being done on water security and the sustainability of supply
  • Information on areas identified for support other than tourism where details were spelled out  
  • The green economy strategy and our role as host of COP 17
  • The NHI as other than mentioning it no direction was given


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