“South Africa offers opportunities for investments in many areas of the economy, and the regulatory framework has been improved to make it possible for you to invest.”
The South African Ambassador to Switzerland Ms. Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele, told members and friends of SwissCham Southern Africa (SCSA) at a meeting recently held in Zurich, jointly hosted by SCSA, South African Embassy and S-GE to meet the South African delegation from the Trade and Industry Department on investment roadshow headed by Yunus Hoosen DDG of InvestSA and Experts of dti, South African Department of Trade and Industry.
Reassuring the gathering that South African government is not leaving any stone unturned to provide conducive environment to make the country investors’ paradise, she said that the climate and environment for investment in the country is constantly being improved upon.
“The Investment protection Act is being amended to adhere to our constitutional requirements even more but not to obstruct investment into the economy,” she added.
On the plan to grow the country’s economy, Mthembi-Mahanyele explained that the inclusion of the marginalised and disadvantaged people is being addressed. With the economy cooperation between Switzerland and South Africa the growth is not only visible but will also address poverty in the latter and Africa through the containment of unemployment.
The Ambassador allays the fears of business individuals regarding the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) policy which they feel is not being fair to them.
“B-BBEE”, she said, “is meant to assist government to accelerate participation of the previously disadvantaged to facilitate their participation in the national economy. It is also a policy that helps us redress injustices of the past. The approach is continuously being improved upon to address some of the concerns raised around it.”
The Ambassador feeling some people have not understood the concept of BBBEE explains: “We want investors to know that B-BBEE does not pose any disruption to profit, rather it is an avenue to create an environment for mutual benefit.”
She also pointed to the problem of the Africans migrating to Europe for lack of employment opportunity which B-BBEE also aims to address. She asserts B-BBEE is a transformation, which nobody in the world can go against, and a necessity for a young society like South Africa.
On politics, she said, the politics in South Africa and the democracy are growing and the vibrant.
Amb Mthembi-Mahanyele spoke on land expropriation without compensation an issue some business persons are concerned about.
She feels this should not be because it is a continuation of the democracy agenda and the economic imperative of an inclusive economy.
“The majority of South Africans have been excluded from the economy, and for development, progress to happen we have to lay the foundation that will give us certainty and stability. There would be no point in ignoring or postponing land redistribution pretending that it will be forgotten because down the lane the masses will rise and disrupt whatever is in place.”
She suggests that the matter should be left to the Parliament and government to work out mechanisms and ways of resolving this critical issue. “It is to the advantage of all of us including business. You do not want to see your businesses destroyed by an uncontrolled activities arising out of a desperate situation.
“Land redistribution will be handled responsibly because we do not want to destroy our own economy by taking reckless irresponsible decisions around this issue. The sooner we handle this matter the better for all of us,” Ambassador Mthembi-Mahanyele said.
Earlier the Chairman of the chamber Georg C. Umbricht had heartily welcomed the delegation, and looked forward to a fruitful deliberation between the two parties.
In his own address, Yunus Hoosen DDG of InvestSA explained that it was important for his team to undertake a targeted investment roadshow to ensure investors were kept up to date with information, whilst also seeking to understand the investor’s needs and interests.
“This is a part of InvestSA’s efforts to improve accessibility and transparency of policies, regulations and procedures relevant to investors, address specific concerns and solve problems, support and assist investors in analysing investment decisions, establishing a business and maintaining it in good standing, and simplifying administrative procedures.”
He went on saying that the investment roadshow was aimed to support the ambitious investment drive set by President Ramaphosa to generate at least $100 billion in new investments over the next five years and accelerate the outcomes achieved during the Investment Conference held in October 2018.
The purpose of the roadshow was to share knowledge and information on South Africa’s policy and legislative tools, generate and increase investor interest of current and potential investors, renew and strengthen relationships with current investors as well as present South Africa’s investment opportunities.
The investment roadshow was conducted through presentations by the South African delegation as well as question and answer sessions on South Africa’s policy and legislative tools in respect of BBBEE, Localisation and Intellectual Property(IP). It helped to share knowledge, generate investor interest, convince investors and provide a platform/forum where the targeted audience was able to interact and communicate directly with policy specialists to address any policy concerns they had about investing in South Africa.
The targeted audience ranged from current investors, but also attracted new and prospective investors, financial institutions, business associations, chambers of commerce, foreign economic representatives and other relevant government representatives.