Business and government need to work together to address some of the urgent challenges facing South Africa to spur the country towards a sustainable growth path, says Busisiwe Mavuso, the CEO of Business Leadership South Africa.
Mavuso delivered her keynote address at the Chamber’s Annual Ladies Breakfast event today where she highlighted that she was encouraged by the current partnership pledge between business and the government, which is driven by over 100 CEOs from some of the country’s top companies.
“We are now seeing businesses stepping up to play a more meaningful societal leadership role to build a more positive national narrative. This initiative, whose commitment, stature and ability to marshal resources, would increase the country’s probability of success. As such, we have set up multiple operational and governance layers to ensure that the implementation of this is done in a structured way,” she says.
“Government may not have the fiscal muscle to lean against the energy crisis, it however does have the policy tools to deal with it. The recent delays that came to light regarding the processing of the Electricity Regulation Act Amendment Bill, were rather disappointing. The bill is an urgent piece of legislation that is central to the joint efforts of business and government to solve the electricity crisis. It will allow for the creation of a Transmission System Operator to manage the national grid and procure electricity from a competitive market. For businesses to continue investing their resources and energy into partnering with the government to resolve this crisis, the government needs to focus on getting the policy environment right.
She further emphasised the need to improve the local operating environment for investors and businesses as it has deteriorated to its weakest level in years.
Delivering her welcome address, Chamber chief executive Denise van Huyssteen also highlighted that over the past two years, local businesses have been actively embracing the opportunity to collaborate with the government to get the city working again. Our primary focus has been on finding and implementing innovative solutions in order to save much-needed investment and jobs in Nelson Mandela Bay.
These out-of-the-box solutions have ranged from the adoption of sub-stations, schools and leaks to the roll-out of a 24-hour stage 5+ schedule to mitigate against the risks of load-shedding through to the establishment of seven geographic clusters around the Bay and the roll-out of a renewable energy cluster.
“As we refine these solutions, we now need to move to the next phase which must be to ensure the sustainability of what we are all doing as a collective. I have particularly been encouraged by how many business volunteers have stepped up to offer their time and resources for the greater good of our local economy,” Van Huyssteen says.
“An important foundation for the collaboration between business and the Municipality has been Council’s approval of the Adopt A Sub-Station and Broader Master MOU, which has enabled vital action to take place.
“While we still have a long way to go – there is a way forward and I believe it is still possible to get our city working again, especially when you consider that Nelson Mandela Bay is more contained and therefore a more manageable city than most others in the country. As a business community and network of stakeholders, we are all connected to one another and must use this as leverage to drive positive action.”
She further encouraged all the women who attended this year’s event, and also the biggest one to date with 460 attendees, to utilise their strengths to lead the way forward by getting involved, wherever they can make a difference in the Metro.
“Every action helps, no matter how big or small.”