- The Minerals Council hailed the appointment of its former president to a Presidency team to cut red tape.
- The council said South Africa must do things completely differently to get growth back to 5% per annum.
- The council said its members had R30 billion in approved capital projects that could proceed.
The Minerals Council of South Africa heaped praise on President Cyril Ramaphosa for his appointment of one of their own to a Presidency team seeking to address the negative impact of red tape on businesses in the country.
Ramaphosa tabled his sixth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Cape Town City Hall on Thursday evening. In a decisively pro-business address, he announced that Sasol chairperson, Sipho Nkosi, would be appointed to lead a team in the Presidency tasked with identifying and removing red tape.
Nkosi also has direct history with the Minerals Council as its former president when it was still known as the Chamber of Mines of SA.The ANC-led government has been widely criticised for failing to turn South Africa's economic fortunes around with an economy that has been underperforming for over a decade, lacklustre growth, and the highest unemployment figures on record.
During his address, Ramaphosa said government would focus on alleviating impediments to business, including "unreliable electricity supply, inefficient network industries and the high cost of doing business".
"We have been taking extraordinary measures to enable businesses to grow and create jobs alongside expanded public employment and social protection. We all know that government does not create jobs. Business creates jobs," said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa announced that Nkosi would lead a team in his office to cut red tape across government, noting his experience as the CEO of Exxaro Resources and chair of the Small Business Institute.
"The red tape team will identify priority reforms for the year ahead, including mechanisms to ensure government departments pay suppliers within the required 30 days," Ramaphosa said.
The Minerals Council said in a statement on Friday that Nkosi's appointment was critical for "removing unnecessarily complicated hurdles that have held up billions of rands worth of investments".
"There are more than 4 000 mining and prospecting rights within the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy awaiting approval. Minerals Council members have R30 billion in approved capital projects that could proceed quickly if these outstanding prospecting, mining, and related licenses are resolved quickly," the council said.
Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter also welcomed plans to bring private participation into power generation, rail infrastructure, refurbishment and development of world-class ports and other interventions to position South Africa for growth.
"We cannot have a business-as-usual approach. We must have a structural break and do things completely differently to get growth back to 5% per annum. We need the government to completely change its view of how investments work. It must move as quickly as possible on the critical issues President Ramaphosa has identified," said Baxter.
Baxter said to make the most of plans to bring private investors into the Durban and Ngqura container terminals, mining, railways, and ports required urgent attention and that the participation of the private sector was critical to improve efficiency and productivity.
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