Pretoria: The South African business sector says it fully supports the National Development Plan (NDP), a policy blueprint for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality in South Africa by 2030.
Addressing reporters after the Business Working Group Meeting with President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria on Tuesday, Black Business Council (BBC) general secretary Sandile Zungu said during their discussions, there were many areas of commonality and agreement between business and government.
“We in business support the NDP fully. We are impressed in particular by [the NDP’s] targets of creating 11 million jobs by 2030 … it is very impressive.
“We subscribe to … the envisaged six percent growth and beyond that the NDP talks about, but we believe that [economic] growth must lead to job creation. More people must be in the formal employ. There must be reduction of inequality in our society, which means that many people who feel that they are in the margins of the economy must become part of the mainstream economy.”
Zungu said on the issue of fighting poverty, business must work with government to turn the situation around.
He described the NDP’s targets as wonderful, adding that they will continue to join forces with government and other social partners, including labour and community organisations, to ensure that “such noble objectives are realised sooner rather than later”.
“We’ve all recognised that we’ve covered so much ground in this country, more than what we are sometimes prepared to appreciate.
“From a business point of view, we subscribe to the notion of inclusive growth; we want this economy to grow at a much higher level than it has grown in the recent past,” he said.
He said both government and business have agreed to meet in the next three months. “We believe that this country is awash with great plans in the private and public sector. Now the main priority for all of us, not just in government but also in business, is to push for the implementation of plans that already exist.”
His sentiments were echoed by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. “We’ve agreed that the focus should be on implementation of all our existing programmes, accords and agreements.
“There is a share of common understating with regard to the NDP, which gives us a common destiny for our country, and business told us that they are unambiguously in support of the NDP.”
Davies said there have been a number of social accords that have been signed, singling out the Youth Employment Accord as one of the latest.
Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) boss Nomaxabiso Majokweni said: “We had a very positive meeting as business with government today. From a business perspective, we are prepared to engage with government, as that will take us from not only just endorsing the NDP, but also to say as business, we are committed to make our contribution towards the implementation of the NDP.
“Again, during the meeting, we also identified what we thought could be game changers in exactly achieving the level of economic growth that the NDP envisages.”
The NDP identifies the key constraints to faster growth and presents a roadmap to a more inclusive economy that will address the country’s socio-economic imbalances.
The NDP was approved by Cabinet last year and adopted by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at its elective conference in Mangaung in December.
The meeting discussed areas including education and skills development, the regulatory environment, impeding investments, infrastructure and the labour relations environment.