As Minister Pravin Gordhan prepares to present the final budget of his current term, I am confident he will table measures to grow our economy and create more jobs for our people.
To do this, South Africa must take proactive steps to develop its reputation as a good place to do business.
According to the World Economic Forum Competitiveness Report 2013 – 2014, the most problematic factors for doing business in South Africa are an inadequately educated workforce, inefficient government bureaucracy and corruption.
That is why I hope Minister Gordhan allocates more to our basic education system which is currently ranked 144 out of 148 in the world. With this increased allocation we need clear objectives for principals and teachers, it is vital that we are getting value for this money.
I would like to see increased allocations to skills development initiatives such as the Youth Wage Subsidy. In the Western Cape we have seen how our Work and Skills programme has significantly improved the career prospects of young people.
A key factor in our economy is small businesses and the informal sector.
We are calling on Minister Gorhdan to announce measures to ramp up the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). The WEF report states that in SA it currently takes around 19 days to start a business. In reality aspiring entrepreneurs wait between two and six months register a company.
Once we make it easier to start businesses we can produce more goods locally, improve our growth and jobs and reduce our reliance on imports.
Investor confidence in South Africa must be increased. We call on Minister Gordhan to reduce red tape by settings funds aside for the implementation of Regulatory Impact Assessments. Legislation in this regard was passed but has not been implemented.
Stamping out corruption is an important focus area in the Western Cape and in 2010 we introduced several reforms to stop the abuse of public money. Following this Minister Gordhan tabled his own measures to contain costs and I am looking forward to further details on when these reforms will start being implemented in other provinces.
Minister Gordhan has supported incentives for special economic zones in previous budget speeches. Eskom’s recent emergencies underscore the need for tax incentives to encourage private companies wishing to invest in renewable energy and Liquified Natural Gas.
Last year Minister Gordhan started the process of recognising the latest census figures. We are confident that Minister Gordhan will make further adjustments to meet service delivery needs in provinces with rapid population growth, such as the Western Cape.
We have faith that Minister Gordhan will table a budget in line with the National Development Plan, in which growth and jobs are key imperatives. He has shown in previous budgets that he recognises this. The Western Cape is looking forward to making a strong contribution in helping Minister Gorhdan’s to achieve his budget.