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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Cyril sells SA as safe haven, land of investor milk and honey

He gave assurances that investors’ property rights would not be tampered with and that their investments would be safe under his government.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made an impassioned plea to investors to see South Africa as a land of promise and great opportunity with a safe and secure investment environment yesterday.

Opening the SA Investment Conference 2018, held in Johannesburg under the theme Accelerating Growth By Building Partnerships, Ramaphosa sold South Africa as a safe haven for investment.

He gave assurances that investors’ property rights would not be tampered with and that their investments would be safe under his government because the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary were the norm.

He said that despite South Africa having known the pain of conflict and deprivation, equally it had “experienced the exhilaration of liberation and knows very well the value of partnership and collaboration.

“This is what South Africa is – a land of great promise, a land of great opportunities,” Ramaphosa said.

Through the summit, ambassadors and the president received pledges of investment from foreign investors.

Over the past five months, a group comprising economist Phumzile Langeni, former finance minister Trevor Manuel, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and former Standard Bank chief Jacko Maree embarked on a mission travelling across the country and around the globe to lure investors.

Through Ramaphosa and the envoys, some countries had made pledges of investment and as a result “we have appointed task teams to work with these countries to convert these pledges into investments”.

The investment envoys were expected to raise R1.2 trillion investment in the next five years.

Ramaphosa said topping the list of government’s priorities were education and land reform as means to improve economic growth and unemployment in the country.

“We have been working with the World Bank to improve the ease of doing business in South Africa and crafting a new foreign direct investment strategy for the country. Invest SA is intensifying its facilitation and aftercare service in terms of international best practice. Together we are working to fast-track investment projects and reduce red tape.”

He said the country had made preparations for investment.

“This includes infrastructure for business development, reduced costs for key inputs such as land, water and electricity and reduced corporate tax rates.

“We are determined that our economic policy must facilitate inclusive growth.”

Explaining his economic stimulus package and recovery plan, he said that despite the criticism from some the initiative was a “stimulus of a special type” with “South African characteristics”.

These were to restore growth, save existing jobs and create new ones.

The uncertainty and concerns around the Mining Charter had been cleared up and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe had met stakeholders countrywide, he added.

The revised charter had been presented to business and the public.

“This is the outcome of extensive and meaningful consultation between government, community, labour and business and represents evidence of our commitment to solving the challenges in the sector collaboratively.”

He assured potential investors at the summit that they should disregard perceived uncertainty as his government would implement a land reform policy that all South Africans agreed on.

The process included the appointment of an advisory panel on land reform made up of people with extensive experience in farming, policy development, academia and law.

“The panel will advise government on the implementation of a fair and equitable land reform process.

“It will redress the injustices of the past, increase agricultural output, promote economic growth and protect food security.”

He said he had explained South Africa’s approach to land reform at the United Nations and to the Americans during his recent visit to New York in the US and it had been accepted.

“We will provide land to those who need land and certainty to those who need certainty.

“We are committed to the protection of property rights,“ he said.


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