11.07.2018

2018 Agbiz Congress - Not a time to sit back and relax

“Don’t be too excited that the Zuma error has been terminated. Change, however, could be intoxicating. Agribusinesses must invest in building confidence. Now is not the time to sit back and relax under Ramaphoria. The president is crying for help.” This was the opinion of Mpumelelo Mkhabela, political analyst and a fellow at the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation at the University of Pretoria, at the 2018 Agbiz Congress. 

“Don’t be too excited that the Zuma error has been terminated. Change, however, could be intoxicating. Agribusinesses must invest in building confidence. Now is not the time to sit back and relax under Ramaphoria. The president is crying for help.” This was the opinion of Mpumelelo Mkhabela, political analyst and a fellow at the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation at the University of Pretoria, at the 2018 Agbiz Congress.

Although President Ramaphosa brings much to the table such as his knowledge of the business environment, his support of the National Development Plan, his experience as trade unionist, the right priorities, the fact that he is receptive to good ideas and has investment diplomacy, he is “flying against headwinds of corruption and incompetence,” Mkhabela said.

According to Mkhabela South Africa needs a national competitive strategy that rests on the pillar of a competitive ethos. “Everyone, from Bafana Bafana to all business sectors must ascribe to this ethos. Our companies must be measured against the best in the world. We must be able to compete in respect of education, health and research and development.”

He pointed out that competitive strategies were successfully implemented in countries such as Japan and China.

He urged agribusinesses to not outsource their economic leadership. “Political power without economic wisdom will lead to a Zimbabwe scenario. Economic power without political wisdom will lead to Trump’s America.”

Mkhabela said that South Africa needs greater cooperation between business and government. Cooperation among partners domestically paves the way for cooperation at an external level with regard to trade and investment agreements, as well as tariffs. “Business must accept the imperative to transform as part of a national competitive strategy, not only because the law says so. Government, on the other hand, must appreciate the importance of the business sector by using corporate taxes responsibly and not by casting doubt on the bona fides of business people because they are mainly white.

“Private companies and SOEs with unused land must make it available to black people who need the land for productive purposes. And the beneficiaries must be given title to land. Black people must be moved from a status of mere subjects to full citizenship when it comes to land,” Mkhabela said.

 

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