3 February 2013

South Africa: Statement At the Conclusion of the Consultative Meeting Between Government and the Business Community Ahead of the State of the Nation Address, Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House, Pretoria

press release

Government and business will meet within two months to iron out obstacles to economic growth, it was decided at a government-business meeting in Pretoria today, hosted by President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and economic cabinet committee Ministers.

The meeting was convened by the President to share ideas on the country's priorities ahead of the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

It arose from a request by the South African business community attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, that business be afforded an opportunity to engage with government on priorities ahead of the SONA. The meeting focused on the importance of achieving employment-creating economic growth and on deeper cooperation between government and business.

Said President Zuma; "As government and business we share the goal of building a prosperous society, free of poverty, inequality and unemployment. We share the goal of promoting a strong and positive South African brand. We therefore need to work very closely together, especially at this critical period when our economy is affected by the harsh European economic meltdown that refuses to go away. We have to find a way to cushion the economy, improve our growth prospects and create much-needed jobs. Whenever we pull together, we manage to achieve a lot for our country and its people".

Busa president, Mr Mabuza pointed out that the country's economy needs to grow three-fold by 2030 to have the capability to deal with the socio-economic challenges facing the country, in terms of the National Development Plan.

"Seventy five percent of the jobs must come from the private sector. We are engaging our members to point out three to five constraints that make it difficult for business to triple economic growth by 2030", said Mr Mabuza. It was agreed to meet within two months to deal with these impediments to growth.

The BBC raised the importance of improving implementation mechanisms for government programmes.

The government delegation raised critical issues including how to get business to absorb 11 000 Further Education and Training college graduates currently sitting at home.

The meeting agreed to work on mechanisms to implement the social accords signed by business, labour, government and the community sector in 2011.

Business appreciated the recognition of the partnership between business and government, and the two sides resolved to meet every quarter to discuss issues of common interest and deepen cooperation.

The business delegations were led by Business Unity SA President Mr Jabu Mabuza and Black Business Council President Mr Ndaba Ntsele.

Issued by: The Presidency

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