By Michael Currin
Our history has shown that when South Africans pull together in partnership there is nothing that we cannot overcome. Together we had overcome the brutal and unrelenting apartheid regime in our march towards creating a free and democratic nation.
Our peaceful transition stunned the world when some had predicted that the country would be divided by a civil war. Since the birth of our democracy in 1994, we have worked to build a society based on unity and togetherness.
In recent years, we worked together to drive back the spread of COVID-19 through a societal approach. Strong partnerships were a key factor in the fight against COVID-19 and saving lives.
These partnerships assisted in the quick adoption of measures to prevent needless exposure to the virus. Partners became powerful agents to inform people about the risks of the virus and measures to safeguard themselves.
Government and business once again tapped into the power of partnerships to address some of our country’s most pressing challenges in energy, transport, logistics, and crime and corruption.
Organised business under the auspices of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) committed to work together with government towards removing obstacles to inclusive economic growth and job creation.
Government and organised business established the Partnership Initiative at a meeting in June 2023. As part of the partnership, various structures will be established to enhance engagement and oversight.
In a declaration, business leaders said: "As South African business leaders we believe in the potential of our country, are committed to building it, and have come together to address the current challenges in order to achieve sustainable inclusive economic growth.”
They added: “We believe that, through partnership and focused interventions, we can make a significant and positive impact on our country and create hope for all South Africans. We are committed to being a force for good."
The support of business in three priority areas are welcomed as the rebuilding of our economy is a matter of urgency. We are confident that through our joint action and pooling of resources we can address our critical challenges to set our country on a path to recovery.
Business with its considerable skills and resources is ideally positioned to help rebuild our economy. On the ground interventions will include amongst others operational oversight and providing technical expertise to key areas. For example, intervention teams will be sent to assist Transnet in its bulk rail corridors as well as to Eskom’s Power Stations.
Government has committed to work with business to ensure the success of this partnership. All departments and relevant state-owned enterprises will collaborate on clearly defined initiatives with organised business.
“This initiative will make a real and marked difference in rebuilding our economy and setting it on a path of sustained inclusive growth. It is driven by a shared determination to overcome the severe challenges we currently face and to mobilise the country’s substantial capabilities towards the achievement of that goal,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa.
While government remains committed to creating an environment for economic growth, development and job creation, we cannot do it on our own. We need all sectors of society; business, labour and civil society to play their part in building our country.
Every South African has a vested interest in growing and advancing our country. When South Africa prospers we all stand to benefit and therefore should rally in partnership behind the country.
We need those with skills to step forward and support our national cause, we need those who see corrupt activities to report them, and we need everyone to help provide solutions for our most pressing challenges.
We all have a patriotic duty and responsibility to build and promote our country. As we approach the 30th anniversary of freedom celebration, we must instil a common thread of patriotism. It is time to avoid the easy road of trivialities and unnecessary criticism. Let us put our money where our mouth is by committing to support our country and leave no one behind.