Pretoria — President Jacob Zuma has called on the South African delegation attending the World Economic forum in Davos, Switzerland, to present a united voice to assure investors that the country remains in good hands.
He told businesspeople at the gathering that they needed to unite to market South Africa's many positives attributes to the world and change the pessimistic mind-set.
"This means we need a serious shift in mindset. We must turn our backs on negativity and embrace a new spirit of innovation, creativity and patriotism. We also need to stop exaggerating some of the occurrences in our country which are regarded as normal in other countries," said Zuma.
The President made an example of the worker strikes which, he said, are a common feature in democracies.
"Workers have rights and know their rights. They will exercise these rights from time to time. Strikes hardly make headlines in other countries as they are normal occurrences. In South Africa these tend to be seen to indicate that the country is somehow falling apart."
He was addressing the gathering of government ministers, business people and captains of industry on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum underway in Davos.
Dismissing pessimists who are uncertain about the direction that the country is taking, Zuma said the ruling party's 53rd conference that was held in Mangaung adopted the National Development Plan which sets a tone for the country until 2030.
But he did acknowledge that there were still some hiccups in the delivery of equal services across the country.
Quoting the Census 2011 report which indicated the high levels of inequality, Zuma said this was a cause for concern which compels South Africa to work together.
"Together as business, government, labour and the community sector, we must tackle our three fierce enemies - poverty, unemployment and inequality."
He added that these challenges would be easier to tackle now under a climate of policy certainty. They are easier to tackle if there is unity in action.
The President reiterated calls for business to invest in agriculture, tourism, mining, manufacturing the green economy and infrastructure development.
Infrastructure development, he said, was the flagship project, given its capacity to create jobs while changing the landscape of our country.
"Domestically there are roads, dams, power stations, schools, hospitals and more that are being built or refurbished. All these provide enormous opportunities for the business sector."
He told delegates that South Africa was stable, friendly, resilient and able to solve its problems.
"We are presenting a South Africa that is open for business and which is open to provide entry into the African continent, a fast growing region which is proving many Afro-pessimists wrong."