Business and government have to start working together more to promote investment, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.
Addressing CEOs and business leaders in Cape Town, he said the country had a lot of positive attributes, but that the short-term economic outlook was not inspiring.
“It is against this backdrop that as government and business, we must abandon the business as usual thinking,” he said.
“As the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. This crisis has created wonderful opportunity for us to work more closely together.”
Zuma was hosting a meeting with CEOs for a World Economic Forum/Davos review.
He reassured them that government was serious about creating an enabling environment. He shared with them the InvestSA One Stop Shop Approach, which was designed to promote an easier business environment.
Zuma seemed in good spirits.
He cracked jokes and smiled, while in Johannesburg the Constitutional Court was hearing arguments on the public protector’s powers against the backdrop of the Nkandla saga.
The president highlighted some of the country’s positive attributes ahead of delivering the annual State of the Nation address in Parliament on Thursday.
These attributes included offering world-class business services, strong and transparent public institutions, and a commitment to responsible macroeconomic management of the economy.
“The issues we should look at are how do we take advantage of the weaker exchange rate to support tourism, localisation and exports broadly? How do we support small businesses better?”
He said failures to communicate and cooperate with business was not an option and that they were “turning the corner” in this regard.
“We may not be in a position to change the past. However, we have the power to map the future. Let us work together to ensure that in the next economic upswing, South Africa will be in a position to grow faster and employ more people.”