Thursday, 3 July 2014

The trust deficit between government and business - even the NDP mentions it!

Today's Business Day runs an article by Parliamentary Correspondent  Paul Vecchiatto on the exchanges between me and members of the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development yesterday.

You can read it here.

The comments I made in committee yesterday constituted around 10% of what I said, the rest being constructive criticism, but ANC members, especially Deputy Minister Thabethe, Committee Chairperson Ruth Bhengu and MP Xitlhangoma Mabasa took exception to and spent much of their time trying to refute them.

Come on guys, let's admit that there is a trust deficit between business and government. A quick Google search revealed a plethora of articles on it - includingFinance Minister Nhlanhla Nene's mention of it in relation to the challenge of implementing the NDP, and an OpEd in Business Day by Steven Friedman.

Other mentions include these by:

Neren Rau, CEO of the SA Chamber of Business

An OpEd by Financial Mail editor Songozo Zibi

Comments by Raymond Parsons to a BUSA conference before the elections

And a mention in a World Bank review of South Africa

The National Development Plan even mentions it for goodness sake!

In his speech introducing the NDP to Parliament on August 15th 2012 Trevor Manuel said the following: "The plan also identifies a deficit in trust between business, labour and government that needs to be reversed if we are to build this economy."

Can you get anything more explicit than that?

Members of the Small Business Development Portfolio Committee must wake up and face reality - if we can't do this in Parliament where can we?

A trust deficit implies all sides - government, business and labour - have a problem. The first response should be to own up to it, not denial.

I will be bringing this up at an appropriate time at a future meeting of the Committee.

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