Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma on Friday met with the Chief Executive Officers ahead of the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting that will take place in Durban from 3-5 May.
The CEOs used the opportunity to table issues that are of concern to them, some of which are in the public domain and related to recent developments in the country and others aimed at improving the way government manages economic entities under its control, which they are keen for the President and government to look into.
The President appreciated the frankness and also the constructive spirit in which the issues were raised.
The two parties agreed to meet soon to discuss the issues raised with a view to promoting unity in action in meeting the challenges facing the country.
On some of the issues in the public domain that are generally of concern to business include the nuclear programme.
President Zuma reiterated that the programme would be implemented at a scale and pace that the country could afford, as he has stated in the State of the Nation Address and in other platforms.
With regard to Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment (MPRDA) Bill, the President referred it back to Parliament to attend to the issues he had raised that would not pass Constitutional muster.
In March 2016, the National Assembly referred the MPRDA Bill to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources to consider the issues raised by the President.
In October 2016 the committee adopted a report on the MPRDA Bill and on the 2nd of November 2016, the National Assembly referred the Bill to the National Council of Provinces to consider the issues which were raised by the President relating to the public consultation process undertaken by Provincial legislatures.
The Bill has not yet been returned to the President by Parliament.
President Zuma looks forward to its successful processing by the NCOP, as its finalisation will contribute towards the ease of doing business in this country.
With regard to concerns about possible economic policy changes in light of the recent appointment of new Ministers, President Zuma indicated that the governing party, the ANC, discusses and finalizes policies at its national conference every five years, and that all policies thus remain the same, with the difference being possible in the style and emphasis of each Minister with regards to the implementation of the existing policies and programmes.
Government also remains committed to fiscal discipline and consolidation that stabilises the rise in public debt.
“Business and government are important pillars in our country that must hold the country together and the two sectors need to be able to work together for the good of the country,’’ said the President who made a commitment to convene another government-business session without much delay.