16 July 2021
On Thursday, 15 July, Government Ministers representing the Presidency and Departments of Public Enterprises, Trade, Industry and Competition, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Small Business Development, Justice and Correctional Services, and Tourism met with 34 CEOs of South Africa’s largest companies and multinationals to discuss the crisis of sabotage, lawlessness and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. This follows several engagements between government and individual businesses and associations that have been taking place since the crisis in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng began.
The discussions were focused on the challenges faced by businesses, workers and communities in KwaZulu-Natal, and the concrete actions that were required to stabilise the province, re-establish supply chains, repair critical infrastructure and end the lawlessness.
There was an urgent need for a far-reaching economic recovery plan for KwaZulu-Natal, to rebuild factories that have been damaged, reopen businesses and minimise the loss of jobs. In addition, the social impact of this crisis and the need for government, business, labour, civil society and communities to respond immediately to address food shortages in particular.
Government Ministers briefed the CEOs on the various actions already being taken to respond to the economic, social and security aspects of the crisis. Business provided detailed recommendations regarding areas of priority and have agreed with government to reconvene and discuss an action plan and collaborative way forward. Government appreciated the support business has, and will continue to give, their workers and families; the work with unions, and willingness to assist small businesses to recover and receive regular supplies that will be available to local communities.
This collaboration between government and leading CEOs will lead to further immediate actions followed by more medium term action plans using a “Now, Next, Beyond” approach.
There was agreement that the immediate priority was to restore law and order, ensure the safety of our people, and respond to availability of food and other essentials to all communities in KZN.
This will be followed by decisive action to drive recovery in the short term and restore normality to the affected provinces. Finally, government and business will work together to reset South Africa for growth, restoring the confidence of our people, our industries and our investors. We shall counter this orchestrated attack, and normalise the situation with the greatest urgency.
As South Africans we have great confidence in our collective ability to lead SA to a better, brighter future in which all our people will enjoy a higher standard of living, a highly skilled youth and a vibrant social cohesion that unites all of us with a common purpose and a shared vision. We will recover from this setback. Our economy will become inclusive and vibrant.