Investors will wait for SA election outcomes, says Netherlands ambassador to SA

Netherlands Ambassador to SA, Han Peters.
Netherlands Ambassador to SA, Han Peters.

The outcomes of SA's national elections in May will give investors a clearer idea of the direction the country will take in the next few years, says Netherlands Ambassador to SA Han Peters.

Peters spoke to Fin24 by phone on Monday. He shared his views on various issues affecting potential foreign direct investment to SA. Peters was previously ambassador to Brazil, before being appointed to his current position in 2018.

Investors want stability

"I think investors all over the world want stability. I think now, quite a few investors have adopted a wait-and-see approach in light of the coming elections.

"After elections there will likely be more clarity in terms of the policy framework," Peters said.

One of the hurdles to overcome is to improve the ease of doing business in SA, Peters emphasised.

"We were happy to hear in the president's SONA (State of the Nation Address) that he wants SA to be in the top 50 performers when it comes to the ease of doing business, within the next three years," Peters said.

If it is easier to do business in SA, then it will make it easier for foreign investors to invest, he added.

"I think after the elections, we will have a clearer idea of what will happen in the next couple of years and will hopefully lead to a more stable environment."

'Not worried about land'

Peters also shared views on land reform and said it is important for the injustices of the past to be addressed.

"Personally, I am not worried about the land issue," he said.

The fact that President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that land reform will happen within a rule of law and in line with the Constitution will provide reassurance to investors, he explained.

Commenting on Ramaphosa's $100bn investment drive, Peters said that investment would help create much-needed jobs in SA. "Anything furthering local and foreign investment is good," he said.

It is important for companies to conduct business in a socially responsible and sustainable way. This means investment won't just create jobs, but decent jobs, Peters said.

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