Land reform, NHI a source of uncertainty for investors - PwC CEO

Policy uncertainty remains a concern for CEOs of businesses operating in South Africa, said PwC Southern Africa Shirley Machaba.

The CEO was speaking at a WEF Africa briefing about PwC's survey about CEOs views on doing business in Africa. PwC Africa CEO Dion Shango also shared more insights on the survey, the report is yet to be released. A total of 171 Africa-based CEOs were surveyed.

This week business leaders from 28 African countries are congregating in Cape Town for the forum where issues relating to African economies will be discussed.

Machaba who was appointed PwC Southern Africa CEO in May and took on the role officially in July, spoke specifically on findings related to South African CEOs.  

"South African CEOs are still confident even though they are concerned with certain threats, like policy uncertainty," Machaba said.

Currently government has embarked on a process of rebuilding state-owned companies by reconstituting their boards, Machaba pointed out. Another area of uncertainty is policies on land reform and National Health Insurance, she added.

In August Health Minister Zweli Mkhize tabled the NHI Bill which would see universal access to primary health care for all.

As for land reform the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform an Agriculture released its report in which it endorsed land expropriation without compensation.

Both policies still need to go through an extensive parliamentary process before becoming legislation.

Other areas of concern for CEOs is social instability and the impact of technology advancements which may improve efficiencies for businesses, but which will also come at the expense of jobs, Machaba said.

There is hope in that government has plans in place to address concerns, she explained. For example there is overregulation impacting the ease of doing business Machaba said. Earlier on Wednesday, briefing the business community at an event hosted by Brand SA, President Cyril Ramaphosa said steps are being taken to improve the ease of doing business.

Machaba said the president's remarks are encouraging and that business should collaborate with government to ensure effective implementation of improvement plans.

"We (business) needs to sit at the table and make sure it happens," Machaba added.

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