Poland may not be perfect, but it remains a guide in our vision of fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment, writes Fumla Williams.

Oliver Dixon’s one-sided view of our country’s investment prospects cannot be disputed so as not to mislead Business Day readers.

To begin with, Dixon should be reminded that when this democratic government appointed a group of eminent persons to contribute to the development of the National Development Plan: Vision 2030 (NDP), he did so fully aware of the enormous challenges he would face when he reconstructed our country in accordance with the constitution.

For more than 300 years SA has been ruled by an exceptional racial, discriminatory and exploitative system. Most citizens – especially Africans – have been completely excluded from any economic development in this country. Canceling it has never been as easy as some would like us to believe.

His short-sighted assertion that our country is a bad direction for investment is empty and cannot appreciate what the government has done in this short democratic period and what it continues to do to move the country forward.

Dixon’s view that our “poor investment is that we don’t have a clear political and economic vision of the country” is sad. SA has a roadmap outlined in the NDP. It may not be perfect, but it continues to be a guideline in our vision of tackling the triple challenges facing the country – poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Under President Cyril Ramaphosa, his investment of 1.2 trillion rupees, announced four years ago, has achieved an impressive 95% of this ambitious goal. Both domestic and foreign investors still view SA as an investment destination. The numbers do not lie.

From SA’s first investment conference in 2018 to its fourth earlier in 2022, the country has raised more than 1.14 trillion rupees on commitments in a wide range of economic sectors. These investments are deliberate and thoughtful decisions of investors. They still view SA as a potential place for investment. Incoming investors express strong confidence in our ability to overcome our most pressing challenges, some of which are related to the legacy of apartheid.

In interacting with potential investors, the government has never eased the existing socio-economic and political problems affecting the country. It openly and steadily acknowledges that it is gradually emerging from a very difficult period when political missteps and the devastatingly devastating consequences of the seizure of the state have hampered its progress.

Ambitious investment efforts are backed by a high-profile political mandate led by President Ramaphosa and his executive branch to unequivocally strengthen investor confidence and create a favorable business environment. The President remains honest and keeps his word, overcoming these challenges on the path to economic growth and job creation.

As an economic hub and gateway for potential investors and tourists, SA presented the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) to mitigate the socio-economic failures exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ERRP remains our immediate overall program to rebuild the economy, sustain economic growth and create enough jobs to reduce poverty and inequality. Operation Vulindlela is an innovative intervention led by the President and the Ministry of Finance to accelerate structural reforms and support economic recovery. It aims to modernize and transform grid industries, including electricity, water, transportation and digital communications, which are key areas of economic growth.

The government remains firm in its fight against limited electricity supplies. Since then, it has implemented several new energy production projects that will eventually end the periodic load reduction in the country. Such interventions in the energy sector include the division of Eskom into three entities – transmission; distribution and generation. Combating other constraints, such as corruption, strengthening governance, improving revenue collection and creating a safe and secure environment, remains part of government intervention.

As investment is transformed into new factories and jobs in the settlements, greater economic activity across the country will begin to restore economic growth and boost confidence in economic recovery after COVID-19.

The responsibility for creating a favorable environment for attracting domestic investment lies not only with the government. South Africans are interested in advancing the country in the face of global competition. We can remind Dixon that this shared responsibility is for everyone to see and praise the patriotism we continue to see.

Let me thank the communities that continue to work with law enforcement to expose those who continue to destroy our economic infrastructure; communities that continue to pay for the services provided to them and encourage others to do so; investigative journalists who continue to expose corruption in both the private and public sectors; non-governmental organizations that continue to intervene in communities and create much-needed social cohesion.

Finally, let me thank the men and women who continue to use our young democracy by exercising their democratic right every five years to come out to vote for the government of their choice; men and women who hold civil servants accountable for what they are paid for.

The situation may seem appalling to Dixon, but the government, business, civil society, the media and patriotic citizens continue to make significant strides. This foretells a better future that we believe for us and future generations.

Fumla Williams is the director general of the government’s communications and information system.

* This article first appeared on Business Day Live on May 16, 2022

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