KWAZULU-NATAL BUSINESS CHAMBERS COUNCIL
WINNING RELATIONSHIPS CAN MAKE KZN A WINNING
With 55 000 people in South Africa having lost their jobs in the first six months of 2012 , the relationship between business and government has become a critical element of any plan for recovery. Business, and more especially entrepreneurial business, has a crucial role to play in the economic growth and strategy of our country. Government has acknowledged this role and is increasingly engaging the voice of business in planning and strategizing economic policy.
Likewise, business is beginning to embrace the idea that it is an important social partner in any Government Policy and strategy. The traditional business philosophy of profit against all costs has failed as has been evidenced in recent times. More and more businesses are embracing the pivotal role that they have to play in the wellbeing of society.
Archaic bureaucracy, inadequate skills development, lack of access to funding and an uncompetitive environment are some of the challenges that face business. Statistics show that the small business sector in SA is responsible for more than 40% of employment and that the challenges facing entrepreneurs are amplified. Entrepreneurship and small business are therefore a key component of economic growth and in order for a National or Provincial Economic Policy to work this sector must be given support.
A partnership between government and business in working together to overcome these challenges holds the key to economic recovery and growth. Job creation without skills development and skills development without job opportunity are equally senseless. A competitive environment cannot exist without increased productivity and business cannot grow while stifled by a lumbering bureaucracy. Unemployment is a burden to both state and business with businesses funding social organizations and programs as part of their Social Responsibility.
In our province of KwaZulu Natal, this partnering relationship is seen on many spheres. The various provincial and local government bodies regularly meet business and business bodies and include the counsel of business in planning their strategies and deliveries. Government departments are becoming more accessible and amenable to discussion with business on moving forward.
The KZN Business Chambers Council (KBCC) has become the foremost and focal business organization that government engages with in the province. Over the past year the KBCC has been part of the formation of the KZN Economic Council, engaged with the KZN Planning Commission, petitioned government on the proposed controversial Business Tax by municipalities and facilitated dialogue between government departments and local businesses to overcome bureaucratic blockages.
Our province of Kwazulu Natal has tremendous potential. We have a dynamic provincial leadership with a vision and with the support of our citizens we can become an economic powerhouse. A sustained relationship between business and government can turn KZN into a winning province.
The KBCC congratulates the KZN Top Business Portfolio on their excellent annual publication, which highlights the potential of KZN and the successes of businesses operating in the province.
Mr Ebrahim Patel
Chairman - KZN Business Chambers Council