JOHANNESBURG, November 16 – Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) on Thursday urged the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to ensure that it holds a smooth elective conference and respect its outcomes next month, for the sake of the country’s prosperity.
The ANC will hold its 54th National Conference on 16-20 December, an event the BLSA called “an important moment for the country” and freighted with unusual significance.
The conference takes place against a backdrop of reports of widespread corruption and wholesale looting of state resources, the capture of the state and an economy severely weakened by political and policy uncertainty. Levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment are at completely unacceptable levels.
BLSA said the South African public, businesses, local and international investors alike are watching developments carefully, and that a stable, peaceful and smooth conference would be in the interest of economic stability and long-term prosperity of the country.
Chief executive Bonang Mohale said that BLSA has extended an invitation to all candidates for the ANC presidency to engage ahead of the conference to discuss how they can work together for the prosperity of all South Africans.
Mohale said BLSA does not have a preference for any particular political party or candidate as a matter of principle. But he said BLSA has a strong interest in the political life of the country, and the conduct of all political parties, which has a critical bearing on the country’s political and economic prospects.
“If a credible election is not held in December, or if the new leadership that emerges does not move swiftly to prioritize economic recovery, eradicate state capture and restore the faith of the country in our institutions, the future for our economy and our country is bleak indeed,” Mohale said.
Mohale said BLSA would like the ANC to remain vigilant against any interference or attempts to derail the smooth running of the conference.
He also urged the ANC to prioritize inclusive economic growth and job creation, eradicate state capture, and restore the credibility of state institutions particularly those in the criminal justice system, and to protect Chapter 9 institutions, Treasury and the Reserve Bank.
“BLSA remains committed to making a positive contribution to South Africa’s economic recovery. There is no solution to South Africa’s economic challenges where business is not a core part of any recovery plan. But, for this to happen, we need strong and ethical leadership in government to work with us.” Mohale said.