BWC cautions National Government
At the recent Annual General Meeting of Business Western Cape (BWC), the outgoing Chairman, Jonathan Jacobs emphasised the need for a stronger and more unified voice of business within the realms of the South African Economy. He emphasised the need for business to sit around the table and discuss issues affecting them, instead of discussions led by politicians.
As the constituencies of BWC represent varied races, geographical locations, economic groupings and genders, it was his view that all South Africans are looking for an opportunity for themselves, their constituents and their communities. This he sees as the common denominator for all our business organisations. “We are ultimately part of BWC to unlock such OPPORTUNITY either amongst each other or as a collective to tackle a specific industry.” Jacobs elaborated by further stating that “To drive the strategic agenda of opportunity, the focus will need to be aligned in the areas of Entrepreneurial Education to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in the Western Cape across all ages, creating an environment where it’s easy to do business and then facilitating the link to opportunity which includes finance, stakeholders and market access.
The incoming Chairman, Bjorn Harmse an attorney by profession and Executive member of the AHI, said that “Politicians often make decisions in a vacuum, which then negatively cascades to the rest of the South African Economy, no or very little thought is given to the ramifications of their decisions”. He was in particularly referring to the New Visa Regulations which has seen international tourism numbers drop significantly. Under Harmse’s tenure, BWC will introduce a Business Charter that aligns the broader business interest and then amplifies the Business Movement in the Western Cape. He emphasised that Business is the proverbial auditor of Government and should speak up when irregularities and poor governance are the order of the day, both at Provincial and National level.
Jacques Moolman, General Manager at Cape Sun Hotel and also councillor of Business Western Cape confirmed the impact of poor decisions by politicians which reflected in the occupancy numbers of the hotel which has been decreased by approximately 80% of international visitors since the Visa regulations came into effect.
“Business will move to areas where they can grow and prosper, at this stage all signs are pointing towards leaving South Africa,” Jacobs commented. It is governments responsibility to create an enabling environment for business and then in turn for business to flourish within this enabling environment. It appears however that often the national political decisions made are more debilitating than enabling.
Mr Bjorn Harmse
Chairman Business Western Cape