President Jacob Zuma's administration has some notable successes to its credit after one year in office, despite big challenges still ahead, Business Unity South Africa (Busa) said on Friday.
A year ago, South Africa was experiencing a severe recession and negative growth as a result of the global crisis. Retrenchments and insolvencies dominated the economic scene, Busa said in a statement.Thanks largely to the appropriate counter-cyclical policies, South Africa was enjoying positive growth as well as lower inflation in 2010.
Business and consumer confidence were gradually recovering and this was mainly due to the appropriate economic policies followed.
National Planning Commission
The recent appointment of the National Planning Commission represented another step in developing a shared economic vision for the country's future and in building confidence.
Zuma had led a number of international state visits to strengthen South Africa's economic diplomacy and create opportunities for local business, which should enlarge the country's share of global trade and investment.
Busa said the implementation of a revised industrial policy action plan underpinned the importance of enhancing South Africa's global competitiveness and job creation in key areas of the economy in years ahead.
South Africa also now stood ready to successfully host the prestigious Soccer World Cup next month.
The government's continued commitment to accelerated transformation included the recent appointment of the long overdue Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council.
"There remain areas of uncertainty in policy that are required to be seriously addressed in the period ahead," Busa said. "There will need to be more coordination and coherence reflected in developing policy, especially in crucial areas such as energy."
Service delivery, accountability
The emphasis on better delivery and greater accountability was welcomed, but faster progress needed to be made in spheres that seriously mattered to economic performance, such as state-owned enterprises and local government efficiency.
In this context, the draft Municipal System Amendment Bill was an important step in the right direction.
Combating corruption required even greater cooperation between the government and the private sector.
"Busa believes that, given President Zuma's commitment to partnership with the private sector, this provides the platform from which to seek solutions to the outstanding challenges.
"We must build further on the constructive relationship that exists between business and government, as well as mobilising the enhanced role of social dialogue in Nedlac, which has also been emphasised by President Zuma."
The need for higher growth, lower unemployment and greater poverty alleviation all pointed to the urgent need for a focused collective effort to create a better life for all South Africans, Busa said.