A solid relationship between government and the private sector is crucial in matters of inclusive economic growth in the country, outgoing mayor Herman Mashaba said during his keynote address at the Southern Africa Europe CEO Dialogue on Tuesday morning.
Mashaba highlighted the importance of a solid working relationship between government and the private sector but criticised governments approach of making the right noises.
“Government has to change from making the right noises to taking the right actions that will enable the potential of our people to be realised.
“Everywhere in the world, government and interest groups, like organised labour, engage at arm’s length to ensure the public interest comes first before any organised group.
“The country can no longer afford to behave as though it was the only viable option for investment as there were countries on the continent that were currently doing much better on a number of development indicators.”
He warned that the country could no longer afford to have organised labour and governing political parties in alliances that compromised government when tough decisions had to be made for the economy.
“This is how we end up with labour laws that have become inhibitive for small businesses that form the backbone of the economies of all developing nations.
“This is how we end [up with] a national minimum wage which serves the interests of those employed at the expense of the nine million people who live without the basic dignity that comes from work.
“For us at the City of Johannesburg, we operate off the clear understanding that our relationship with business requires government to pave the way for the private sector to unleash its potential and its balance sheet in our City where profits can be made,” which will in return create jobs, he said.
Maintaining his views as Joburg mayor remained unchanged since taking office, he said that he was, however, exposed to poverty and inequality in the city, which were “in need of a capable and caring state to work on partnerships with the private sector to address challenges”.
“I maintain the view that the only way in which we can achieve true redress is by growing the economy, increasing investor confidence and repealing legislation that undermines these objectives.
“The simple truth is that a strong partnership is needed between the two because business can succeed where government cannot, and government can pave the way for business thrive.”