Forum discusses socioeconomics

2016-03-02 06:00

DURBAN South Business Forum recently discussed and evaluated various recent events in the country and the reaction of organised business.

A presentation was made by Christo Botes, executive director of Business Partners and President of the AHi. After the recent “shake-up” in Parliament when President Zuma replaced finance minister Nhlanhla Nene with David van Rooyen, organised business, under the leadership of Botes and AHi were the first to react, until the president, within a few days, reappointed Pravin Gordhan as finance minister.

It is believed that had the president not done his about-turn by replacing Van Rooyen, the country would have seen a major exodus of major prominent business from South Africa, aggravating not only the already weakening rand and the threat of being downgraded to “junk status”, but would severely impact the entire socioeconomic circumstances in South Africa.

As it is, KwaZulu-Natal would have been most severely affected. It is estimated that only 23% of the KZN economically active population enjoy full-time employment. The official unemployment rate in SA is estimated at 35%. In KZN this figure is 39,9%. In addition, it is notable that SMEs, excluding the informal sector, produce 45% of GDP. In addition, small businesses employ 50% of all working people. Therefore, small business is a significant factor of the South African, and specifically KZN economy.

He emphasised that if the status of the country is downgraded, all businesses in the country would automatically assume the same status or lower, in other words all businesses, large or small, good or bad will automatically have the same junk status or lower. This should therefore be avoided at all cost.

The meeting concluded with a braai at the clubhouse, sponsored by RBI Technical Solutions International (Pty) Ltd. - Jaco Wijnmaalen.

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