Business leaders from industries affected by the recent violence have, in a virtual meeting convened by President Cyril Ramaphosa, reaffirmed their commitment to work with government in rebuilding South Africa’s economy.
The meeting followings last week’s civil unrest, which affected businesses and livelihoods in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
More than 90 business leaders from various sectors including retail, agriculture, automotive, telecommunications, banking and transport met with the president, ministers and the premiers of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The meeting reflected on the challenges faced by key industries and discussed priorities and measures that need to be taken to rebuild and reposition the country.
Business made practical suggestions for immediate recovery steps, support to small businesses and longer term inclusive economic growth.
The president outlined government’s priorities, including the restoration and maintenance of stability with the increased deployment of security personnel; securing essential supplies by opening critical supply routes; provision of relief and support for rebuilding; and accelerating inclusive economic recovery.
The meeting emphasised the importance of focusing on rural and township economies and increased investment in infrastructure development. The meeting also discussed steps to assist companies, particularly small businesses, to claim insurance and access other support.
The meeting agreed on the need to work with greater urgency to tackle poverty and unemployment and improve the living conditions of all South Africans. Among other things, this required a common effort to mobilise investment, develop appropriate skills and create opportunities for young people in particular.
Ramaphosa welcomes the proposals raised by business leaders and their commitment to work with government, labour and communities not only to rebuild their businesses, but also to transform the economy.
“We must build a social contract among us to respond to the crisis, and to rebuild an economy that is far more resilient, sustainable, dynamic and inclusive,” he says