A blueprint for the rejuvenation of the South African economy – Retail sector input

The Inclusive Society Institute has embarked on an extensive economic research project, which will culminate in a comprehensive ‘Blueprint for rejuvenating South Africa’s economy’. The methodology includes a series of dialogues with various sectoral stakeholders and policymakers.

This dialogue, held on 8 November 2021, aimed at channelling the thoughts of the retail sector into the research.

A range of constraints and opportunities were noted, amongst others:

  • Business needs to step back from politics but engage on policy

  • Government operates in silos that place sectoral interest above the bigger picture

  • Growing lack of trust in government to deliver on commitments and to implement policies

  • Career civil servants do not understand how business operates and their role in creating an enabling environment

  • Civil service salary bill is high but coexists with too little skills and often vacancies in critical positions

  • Energy supply

  • Dealing with corruption, from both supply and demand

  • Environmental issues because of country’s big carbon footprint

  • Rising tax bill

  • Immigration challenges

  • Red tape from DTI and SARS is prohibitive

  • Incapacity of municipalities in small towns to provide services

  • Impact of insurance costs due to civil unrest

  • Implementation of BEE

  • Slow pace of vaccination

A number of proposed solutions were put forward, which included

  • The need for bold leadership

  • Visible accountability

  • Need for incentivisation of good performance

  • Need to fight crime, corruption, and gender-based violence

  • Relooking at the insurance industry and SASRIA

  • Partnerships with government

  • Bringing back teaching, nursing and artisan training colleges

  • Change in how governments support small businesses

Proposals will be captured in the report that will emanate from this discussion, and which will be fed into the broader research project.