Work continues between government and business to address South Africa’s immediate challenges

by MMC
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President Cyril Ramaphosa met with Cabinet members and senior business leaders to take stock of progress in government-business collaboration.

This collaboration was initiated in June 2023, with the aim of significantly growing the South African economy and restoring public and investor confidence through critical interventions to address key challenges in energy, logistics, crime and corruption.

Highlighting the significant progress made since the initiative began in a joint statement, President Ramaphosa said they had established an effective working relationship between government and business to address the most immediate challenges facing the economy.

“While we have identified key milestones and defined the processes to achieve them, the true test of our success will be the results experienced by ordinary citizens.

“We are confident that by working together and mobilizing the significant resources and expertise that exist in our country, we will end power cuts, repair our logistics system and fight crime and corruption,” the president said.

Adrian Gore, co-host of the business delegation, said that although the partnership is in its early stages, the collective pace of work has been excellent and “there are clear areas of progress”, on which he believes they can rely on each other to achieve real change.

“Establishing a viable critical path per focus area, with clear short-term outcomes against which we collectively measure our progress, is crucial to building confidence in our ability to achieve our goals,” said Gory.

The joint statement indicates that good traction has been achieved in the energy intervention area, thanks to the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM), which was established to ensure the implementation of the Energy Action Plan (EAP) .

Businesses and the government have reaffirmed the importance of the EAP as the country’s model for reducing the severity and frequency of load shedding in the short term and ending it in the long term.

“Comprehensive implementation of the plan around three core priorities: improving the performance of Eskom’s existing power plants; adding new generation capacity and reforming the energy sector – will result in over 12 GW of generation capacity being recovered or added to the Eskom and private sector system by the end of 2024” , indicates the press release.

As part of the collaboration, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) CEO Cas Coovadia and Business for South Africa (B4SA) Steering Committee Chair Martin Kingston noted that businesses are mobilizing capacity and skills additional resources to support the implementation of the EAP.

This includes almost 130 private sector volunteers who are coordinated by the Energy Council of South Africa to work in partnership with Eskom and government. The deployment of technical support teams to five power stations – Kendal, Kriel, Majuba, Matla and Tutuka – is on track, in addition to continued support for the return of Kusile Units 1 to 3.

Energy stability

The joint statement highlights that the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill has been tabled in Parliament and the public comment period is underway. The government is working closely with Parliament to prioritize the passage of this bill, given its critical importance for energy sector reform.

Encouraging progress has been made in the establishment of the National Transmission Company of South Africa (NTCSA), with all three licenses approved by the National Energy Regulator of SA (NERSA), and the appointment of an independent board of directors is in progress. course.

The One Stop Shop for Energy Projects was established and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with the Energy Council to support the strengthening of its capacities and systems to further streamline regulatory processes and facilitate private investments in energy production.

In the logistics focus area, the collaboration is focused on ensuring the implementation of immediate operational interventions, already defined, alongside the development of the freight logistics roadmap.

The government has committed to finalizing the roadmap, which will define a set of sequential actions to fundamentally reform the logistics system, by the end of October 2023. Businesses have highlighted the urgency of this roadmap in the context of current challenges of the logistics system.

“Six of the eight workstreams of the National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC) are now fully operational, while the other two will come from Operation Vulindlela. Interventions to improve the operational performance of the multimodal bulk freight rail network and port system are well underway through the NLCC.”

Corridor Recovery Teams were established for five strategic corridors, including Transnet executives, industry representatives and independent experts, and a delivery plan was developed with specific actions and timelines to achieve the targeted increase in freight volumes.

Businesses and government further highlighted the need to support the Transnet board in its turnaround plan to drive operational improvement and sustainability.

“A multidisciplinary team was formed to resolve congestion issues at the Lebombo border post, resulting in a reduction in processing time at the border, while a dedicated workflow was established to expedite the restoration of services passenger rail. Law enforcement is working to protect railway infrastructure through a series of interventions, including aerial surveillance of the Northern and Central Corridors as well as the Majuba railway line,” the government and companies said.

In the crime and corruption focus area, current commitments focus on capacity building within the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Directorate of Priority Criminal Investigations (DPCI), as well as as on the modernization of the 10111 emergency response center and collaboration between industry and SAPS to combat crimes targeting infrastructure.

The NPA Amendment Bill was tabled to establish the Directorate of Investigations as a permanent entity with investigative powers.

This Bill responds to a key recommendation of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture and will strengthen the capacity and independence of the NPA to combat corruption-related crimes. A new meeting will take place in six weeks to assess progress made on these commitments.

“During this period, the immediate focus will be on passing crucial reform legislation such as the ERA Bill and the NPA Amendment Bill; intensify technical support for restoring the performance of power plants; finalize and adopt the freight logistics roadmap; and establish a joint implementation mechanism to coordinate agreed interventions to combat crime and corruption,” the joint statement said.

Government and business continue to collaborate in parallel with other social partners, as part of their respective commitments to advance collaboration on common national goals. – SAnews.gov.za

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