Seifsa must lobby for a more conducive business environment

During the annual Seifsa Presidential Breakfast on Friday, October 7, Steel and Engineering Federation of Southern African (Seifsa) President and Chair Elias Monage said it was more important than ever for the organization given the major economic challenges of the country a more business-friendly environment.

LR: Seifsa President Elias Monage, Political Analyst Justice Malala and Seifsa CEO Lucio Trentini

LR: Seifsa President Elias Monage, Political Analyst Justice Malala and Seifsa CEO Lucio Trentini

“These harsh economic realities underscore the important role business leaders must play, and more importantly the role Seifsa must play, in representing its members in lobbying for a far more conducive and business-friendly environment.” , Monage said.

Hold the government accountable

While recognizing that little can be done to change global economic headwinds, Monage said: “The national ones – which are frankly self-serving of poor policy making and economic mismanagement – lie in the hands of policymakers. And this is where Seifsa must continue to play the important role of holding the government to account.”

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At the local level, the energy crisis has paralyzed the economy and discouraged much-needed investment, while “the rising cost of capital, which will reduce domestic economic activity, and the poor state of local government, hampering service delivery to businesses and driving up the cost of doing business are all headwinds, that the industry is facing – and are only going to intensify at the moment,” Monage warned.

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South Africa’s deepest mistakes

At breakfast, political analyst Justice Malala also urged attendees to buckle up, then guided them through some of South Africa’s biggest failures – the energy crisis, the looming water crisis, the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng riots in July 2021, the 65 percent Youth unemployment, xenophobia, a widespread crisis of confidence and much more all contribute to a deep mistrust of the ANC, the government and its institutions.

Malala warned that in the face of all these challenges, “the main risk is that people lose faith in democracy itself”.

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Some good news

But he did mention that there is “some positive news,” including the censorship of consulting firms McKinsey and Bain as a result of what was uncovered during the Zondo Commission on state capture. “The fight to fight corruption seems to have been reinvigorated,” he said.

He called the Zondo Commission a “victory for law and order,” adding that despite many challenges, the judge did an excellent job.

Businesses have a big role to play in addressing these challenges, Malala said. “Seifsa as an organization and many others have a key voice” and can provide a “way forward” for the country.

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