Business has welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s sixth State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) is pleased at the reaffirmation of the National Development Plan (NDP) that aims to address the three social evils of inequality, poverty and unemployment. We remain less optimistic about the effective implementation of the NDP,” said BUSA in a statement on Friday.
Zuma delivered his State of the Nation Address to a joint sitting of Parliament on Thursday evening. He punted the NDP as a viable plan to drive South Africa’s socio-economic development for the next coming years.
According to the plan, South Africa can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.
Zuma said there now were 15 million people with jobs in the country but that this was not good enough and that the unemployment rate remained high.
“Youth unemployment in South Africa continues to be of concern, as it is throughout the world. We are taking a number of measures, including the Employment Tax Incentive Act which encourages employers to hire younger workers,” said the President in his address.
BUSA welcomed measures to address the matter.
“In a climate of weak economic growth, incentives of this nature encourage youth employment .The commitment to slash red tape, bureaucracy and to also ensure overall improvement in regulatory impact assessment will assist improve the investment environment,” said BUSA CEO Nomaxabiso Majokweni.
Sacci also welcome the affirmation of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) as a key institution for effective social dialogue between business, government and labour.
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) also welcomed the optimistic tone of the Presidential address, including the calls for greater stability in industrial relations in the mining sector and the positive contribution of government mediation in the sector.
Sacci also welcomed progress made on the country’s infrastructure development plan.
The business community it said looked forward to further development that would support economic and greater participation of the private sector in infrastructure development.
“Sacci appreciates the President’s commitment towards building a dynamic and inclusive economy, especially the promise to work more closely with business and looks forward to strengthening this productive relationship in 2014,” said Sacci CEO Neren Rau.