Just two months after President Jacob Zuma invited the private sector to partner with the ruling party and cultivate mutually beneficial relations, the business community has briefed the President on various thorny issues on policy and implementation framework that need new memoranda.
The meeting that brought together the key implementers of the National Development Plan (NDP), pitted government personalities including the new Vice President Kgalema Motlanthe and the state’s Planning Minister, against the leaders of two major business councils in the country.
President Zuma told journalists after the meeting, at his reserved accommodation venue, that he had understood the business community’s complaints of feeling sidelined in major economic decisions but the essence of it all was that the convention had borne fruit.
“It was important to hold talks …for the government to understand and clarify certain things,” said Mr. Zuma.
Politics vis-à-vis Business
That the entrepreneurial sector in South Africa has pledged earnest support for the National Development Plan is no surprise as major state concerns are intractably placed in the hands of the private sector, given the strength of the ANC as a party that influences economic policies and affects implementation.
NDP, for example, seeks to attain an economy, by 2030, where each person has water within reach, together with basic amenities like sustainable energy, medical support, employment, security and access to learning.
One can trace ties between NDP and the current meeting to the recent World Economic Forum that occurred in the Swiss city of Davos in January, where leaders laid bare visions and economic blueprints. Apparently, that was the same place where the SA business fraternity sought audience with the government, a result of which was the Sunday meeting.
Though the industry seeks stronger ties with the state, it also pledges to reinforce the role it plays in its own private domain. Like the business leaders attested to at the meeting, they need the government for policy execution, as well as, implementation, leaving the rest of the strategies to themselves like using the NDP vision to secure more jobs for the masses.
The February 3 summit reserved some mainstream areas for delineation within business inner circles, one of the purposes being identifying major constraints to proper attainment of goals, before reporting back to the state for solutions.
The next summit will be in 60 days’ time when the two sides will hold another state-to-business forum whose objective will be to delineate barriers impacting on Africa’s largest economy.