Letter: Defunct municipalities hurt business, cut jobs - The Star

17 June 2021 - The North West Provincial government "dispatched a team" to persuade Clover against moving its production facility from Lichtenburg to Durban. The damage the move will do to the province would be immense and politically unpalatable.

The North West Provincial government "dispatched a team" to persuade Clover against moving its production facility from Lichtenburg to Durban. The damage the move will do to the province would be immense and politically unpalatable.

Clover announced the move because of the dysfunction plaguing the municipality's infrastructure.

So many will be heartened to hear the premier's sentiments. Prof Tebogo Job Mokgoro said: "Our responsibility as government remains to create a conducive environment for businesses. We neglected this key responsibility, hence Clover intends to close shop in the municipality. We need to meet the needs of businesses if we are to grow local economies and create more jobs."

Yet this response points directly to the problem. It is after-the-fact crisis management these problems have been well-known for decades.

Even as South Africa fails to provide the basic physical environment for economic activity, it is forging ahead with a raft of policies guaranteed to make it all the more unattractive. Think expropriation without compensation, more onerous employment and empowerment demands, increasing protectionism, and the prospect of financial assets being commandeered to fund infrastructure build and the National Health Insurance.

Doing business in South Africa requires navigating between calls for business to invest and create jobs, an indifference towards what it would need to do that and a sometimes visceral ideological hatred of it. President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised SA's "recovery" will be State-led. The state hasn't the capacity to do this.

Only when this is recognised will it be possible to plan a realistic development path.

Terence Corrigan, Project Manager, Institute of Race Relations

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