Finance minister Enoch Godongwana says South Africa needs to urgently improve its business and service delivery conditions, or risk losing significant business investments.
This entails reducing regulatory constraints, providing effective services, as well as coordinating and sequencing economic interventions, Godongwana said in an oral response to questions in parliament on Wednesday (9 March).
He added that cities and provinces have an important role to play in creating an enabling environment for investment.
“In the City of Tshwane, for example, we are at risk of losing a potential multi-billion-rand investment by Ford in an electric vehicle plant.
“Ford has already invested R16 billion in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone where it is producing its Ford Ranger model. This is the largest foreign direct investment project our country has seen in recent times and has already created around 8,000 jobs.”
Ford intended to invest further in bringing its electric vehicle production to South Africa. This, however, has been put at risk because the City of Tshwane has been unable and perhaps unwilling to secure the electricity the new plant needs, Godongwana said.
“The Tshwane example reminds us that a deficit of political will at municipal level makes it massively harder than it should be to create conditions for job-rich growth.”
The finance minister added that government must continue with its reform agenda – in energy, telecommunications, rail, ports water and sanitation, as well as in boosting tourism and attracting rare skills into the economy.
“We must act with speed to accelerate the pace of inclusive economic growth and job creation. This must shape all our macro and microeconomic policies and interventions.
“It is only through sustained economic growth that South Africa will be able to significantly reduce unemployment, poverty and inequality,” he said.