SA News | 9 November 2023
Public Works and Infrastructure Minister, Sihle Zikalala, has assured investors that South Africa has put in place systems, structures and policies that are investor-friendly and is easing ways of doing business.
“As South Africa, we are a story of economic growth, hope and resilience to investors and social partners,” he told investors.
The Minister is on an official working visit in the United Kingdom, where he and a delegation are on a mission to promote South Africa as a preferred infrastructure investment destination.
“We are open for business and we guarantee your return on investments in a country that is continuously eliminating red tape, has economic stability, improving the ease of doing business and where the rule of law is jealously guarded by our democratic institutions and our courts,” Zikalala said in his address to over 500 global investors in London.
The Minister presented to investors a plethora of infrastructure investment opportunities in areas such as energy, water, transport and digital infrastructure.
He assured investors that President Cyril Ramaphosa is leading the charge for a corruption-free government which honours agreements and contracts with investors.
“The investor environment is one characterised by a commitment to ethics and running a corruption-free administration. An ethical state is essential to assuring investors that their investment is safe from abuse. In addition, we are very clear about the rules of engagement with no other hidden agendas.
“Despite our recent challenges which we are working hard to overcome, such as load-shedding, our economy remains resilient and has enhanced reforms, especially on financing large infrastructure projects where we have opened up space for public –private partnerships. We are mobilising private sector financing and skills to work with the government of South Africa to fast track delivery and improve contract and project management,” he said.
At Wednesday’s session, the Minister faced gruelling questions around some of the country’s transformation policies such as Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), localisation and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), which some perceive to be too bureaucratic and impacts on investor confidence.
The Minister responded by saying that the policies are critical in redressing South Africa’s economic disparities induced by the pain of its history which left many languishing on the fringes of the economy.
“The South African government is creating a new economic landscape and architecture which is premised on economic inclusion of most of the population.
“Our quest to address the socio-economic imbalances of the past should be no threat to investors but should be part of building a united and democratic South Africa that benefits all its citizens.
“This is a consensus that we have built as a country what we want to be non-racial, non-sexist and democratic with a prosperous population,” said the Minister.
Meanwhile, investors expressed excitement about the vast opportunities available in infrastructure investments.
The Minister invited the investors to visit South Africa and share the country’s major investment platforms such as the Presidential Infrastructure Investment Summit 2024 and the South Africa Construction Week and conference to be announced soon.
He believes the Global Africa Trade Conference is a lucrative opportunity to rebuild South Africa’s economy in the wake of a disruptive pandemic of COVID-19.
Zikalala is confident that the new frontiers of economic partnerships have been cemented. The Minister will be in the UK until Friday.
‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.