Business and government’s big plan to save South Africa gains traction

 ·2 Aug 2023

Government and business leaders say their plan to fix South Africa’s most significant issues is progressing.

The government and private sector have recently announced a collaboration that aims to tackle three key areas – energy, transport and logistics and crime and corruption.

Research from PWC and Sanlam said tackling these issues could grow South Africa’s GDP by 3%. Improved economic growth is crucial to improving employment figures in the country.

“This collaboration is built on the recognition that we need to take bold and urgent action to confront these challenges and place South Africa on a trajectory of growth and job creation,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

“We welcome the emphasis on strategic partnerships and focused interventions, which has enabled us to make significant progress in a short space of time.”

Although business leaders said that the meeting was productive, Business Unity South Africa CEO Cas Coovadia said that the plans are incredibly complex and it could take several years for all these issues to be resolved.


The presidency and business leaders said that the National Energy Crisis Committee’s (NECOM’s) Energy Action Plan (EAP) has made significant strides in creating a plan to end load shedding, streamline regulatory approvals, and introduce key steps to improve private sector investment in energy.

Support from businesses is already being seen through the optimisation of the diesel supply chain at Ankerlig and the helping to return several units at Kusile.

Business technical terms are also working through NECOM to introduce key energy reforms, and these reforms aim to recover roughly 5,500 MW of energy – five stages of load shedding – in the next year.

“We are pleased with the progress we have made in ensuring that a block exemption has been granted from certain terms of the Competition Act to both energy suppliers and users. This will enable greater collaboration between competitors on specific energy matters.

“Government has also launched the One Stop Shop, which is an important step to streamline and assist with regulatory approvals and bring GWs onto the grid as soon as possible,” said Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Trade and Industry and Competition.

Transport and logistics

Additionally, the National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC) said that it had seen participation from Transnet, business and other government departments.

Four Corridor Recovery Teams have been created and will focus on commodity export supply chains in coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome and magnetite to work on performance constraints. Another Container Corridor Recovery team is currently being constructed, with inputs from representatives from major shipping lines, agriculture and automotive sectors.

It said that the appointment of an international terminal operator at the Durban terminal marked a significant achievement.

Crime and Corruption

The Joint Initiative against Crime and Corruption (JICC) has also been formed, featuring senior representatives from law enforcement agencies and businesses.

Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) is also being established and will act as an independent structure that will coordinate with the government.

In addition, a new system is being created that can provide digital and data forensic capabilities for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Other plans to help the South African Police Serve to help with crime detection and response have also been identified- including optimisation of the 10111 helpline.


Last week, it was reported that over 100 CEOS from some of South Africa’s largest companies have agreed to aid the government in growing investment, the economy and employment. B4SA SteerCo Chair Martin Kingston said that more CEOS are signing on every day.

“The focus is on achieving agreed targets and improving performance in key action areas. If we neglect or delay critical decisions needed to accelerate our much-needed growth ambitions to build the economy and tackle poverty, inequality and unemployment, there will be many more years of challenge, frustration and despondency. We need to act together with immediate urgency,” Coovadia said.

To build on the progress so far, participants at the meeting agreed that several other steps are still required to improve confidence:

  • Working to expedite the passage of the Electricity Regulation Amendment (ERA) Bill within the Sixth Parliament, following its tabling in the National Assembly on 20 July 2023. The ERA Bill is crucial to ending load shedding, expediting energy development, expanding transmission infrastructure, establishing a competitive electricity market, and attracting investment in the energy sector.
  • Completing the establishment of the National Transmission Company of South Africa (NTCSA). This is necessary to create a level playing field for electricity generators and enable increased investment in transmission infrastructure.

  • Fully operationalising the One Stop Shop to fast-track renewable energy projects. This includes ensuring that adequate capacity and systems are in place to facilitate authorisations for energy projects and reduce lead times to construction.

  • Finalising the Freight Logistics Roadmap. This will outline the short-and long-term actions to support operational recovery and fundamentally reform the logistics system. Implementation of the roadmap will be coordinated by a dedicated work stream of the NLCC, focused on structural reform. Implementation of these actions could increase export revenues by an estimated R50 billion by 2024. It is expected that a draft roadmap will be agreed by the end of August 2023, with the objective of Cabinet approval by September 2023.

  • Addressing procurement challenges and putting in place a fit-for-purpose procurement regime for state-owned enterprises. This is necessary to enable greater speed and efficiency while preserving and strengthening the integrity of the procurement system.

  • Finalising the NPA Amendment Bill to establish the Investigating Directorate (ID) as a permanent entity within the National Prosecuting Authority with investigating powers. This is a key commitment of the response to the State Capture Commission of Inquiry, and will bolster the independence and capability of the ID to fight complex corruption-related crimes. The NPA Amendment Bill will be approved by Cabinet and tabled in Parliament by the end of August 2023 to give effect to this goal.

  • Operationalising the Joint Initiative on Crime and Corruption. The JICC is being operationalised, including identifying clear focus areas and establishing appropriate structures to facilitate support.

“Another vital component to the collaboration between business and government is the ongoing enablement of small and medium-sized businesses, which are at the coal face of some of the challenges we are seeking to resolve,” Kingston said.

“We need to enhance funding and access to market support as an instrument for job creation. Recognising the importance of SMMEs and the informal economy in this regard, further work is being undertaken to identify what we can do to support their growth,” Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Minister of Small Business, said.

Read: South Africa faces one of its biggest economic challenges this month

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