The Chamber has praised the courageous State of the Nation Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa and says business will support the reforms he announced.
We have to warn, however, that implementing the changes will be a major challenge and bring Ramaphosa into conflict with members of his own ruling alliance.
The big threat is from the unions at Eskom who have already shown that they are willing to strike and obstruct coal deliveries no matter how much damage this will do to the country.
The speech also revealed that the President has a deep understanding of the fundamental problems that are crippling the economy. The one disappointment was the reiteration of the dangerous expropriation without compensation policy which is likely to undo much of what he is trying to achieve.
The Chamber is pleased to note his determination to eradicate corruption and the strengthening of the National Prosecuting Authority to speed up the process. If he is successful we may need some new jails.
We also welcome the new emphasis on technical education for the modern world but the introduction of tablets in schools is something that will have to be handled with great care. It is a very cheap way of equipping pupils with all the text books and reading matter they will need, but tablets also give access to distracting, disturbing and false information on the internet and social media. What is needed is just enough technology for school purposes and no more. E-readers, for instance, will also be cheaper and less likely to be stolen.
The Chamber is pleased to learn of the work and the commitment to make it easier to do business. The country is over regulated and we need to get rid of as much red tape as possible. We have seen in recent years just how much damage was done to the tourism industry by unnecessary visa regulations while the ban on the road transport of high cube shipping containers is another unnecessary threat to industry.
President of the Cape Chamber