Address by President Zuma on the occasion of the InvestSA One Stop Shop (OSS) launch, Inkosi Albert Luthuli (ICC)
Honourable Premier, Mr Willies Mchunu
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Magwanishe
MEC Zikalala and all MEC’s present
Executive Mayor of EThekwini, Councillor Zandile Gumede,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning to you all, Sanibonani!
I am pleased to join you to celebrate this momentous occasion, the launch of the KwaZulu-Natal InvestSA One Stop Shop for investors.
Investment promotion is critical for our economy. We look upon new or expanding businesses to contribute to much-needed job creation for our people. For us to be able to drawn in new investments, we need to create a conducive environment.
It is for this reason that the One Stop Shop InvestSA Centres are being established.
We had been sensitized by businesspeople in various forums about challenges they face when seeking to establish businesses in South Africa due to various bureaucratic requirements.
The InvestSA One Stop Shops will be the focal point of contact in government for investors to obtain permits, licences and other regulatory requirements. All the services will now be made available under the same roof.
Services offered by key departments such as Home Affairs, Labour, Environmental Affairs, Trade and Industry and agencies such as Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, South African Revenue Service, Visa Facilitation Service centres, amongst others will be available at the One Stop Shop.
For the One Stop Shop to become effective and successful, the three spheres of government, namely national, provincial and local must work together.
We are pleased therefore that the establishment of the KwaZulu-Natal One Stop Shop by the Department of Trade and Industry has been fully endorsed and supported by the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.
It has been agreed that the KZN One Stop Shop will be housed at the offices of Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal, as the agency that carries the provincial mandate to attract and retain investment in KwaZulu-Natal.
KwaZulu-Natal has taken a step further by establishing satellite offices at Dube Trade Port and Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone.
The satellite office at Dube Trade Port is also ready for operation whilst the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone is still under construction.
Other linkages have been created with municipalities for example, with the eThekwini Municipality and uMhlathuze, whilst the remainder will be rolled-out in due course.
The province has thus taken investment promotion very seriously, in practical terms.
Government wants to make it easier for citizens as well to establish businesses. As a result the registration of businesses has been made quicker and easier.
The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission has rolled out self-service terminals in partnership with banks, local economic development agencies and chambers for company registrations.
By June this year, self-service terminals were rolled out to all provinces and are accessible to small business in rural areas.
The Department of Home Affairs has also partnered with banks with the roll out of Smart IDs and Passports with a turnaround time of five working days.
The One Stop Shops will not immediately resolve all the challenges experienced by investors; however, every concerted effort is put in place to remedy the challenges.
The establishment of these new services should assist to further enhance our country’s attractiveness as an investment destination.
South Africa is a lucrative investment destination, where the returns on investments are high.
The government offers a wide array of incentives, corporate tax relief and has also established Special Economic Zones throughout the country.
We are pleased that many investors are taking advantage of the opportunities.
This is evident from recent investments or expansions by multinational heavy weights BMW, Marriot Hotels, Lucchini RS, AB Inbev, Goodyear, Ford and Beijing Automobile International Corporation amongst others.
They are all attracted by the fact that South Africa has a lot to offer with regards to infrastructure, institutions, goods and market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, business sophistication and innovation.
In light of the current economic challenges, we need to do more to create an environment that supports investment and which helps us to reach the growth targets mentioned in the National Development Plan.
We are also required to implement our programmes with fewer resources than before, due to the economic challenges domestically and globally.
We thus remain fully committed to the country’s fiscal framework as articulated in the recently tabled Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement.
The National Treasury is leading us in preparing proposals that are designed to bring the public finances back onto a sustainable path. Government departments will have to reduce expenditure on non-core business more than before.
The Medium Term Budget Policy Statement has already indicated that some institutions that have also been draining government resources such as some state owned enterprises are required to achieve turnarounds.
Some key milestones include the recapitalization of our national carrier SAA and the appointment of its new board and permanent CEO.
We will support SAA on its path towards renewal.
Other SOEs are also being supported. Work is advanced to find leadership for Eskom, which is an engine for economic development. There is a new Board at the SABC which is tasked with ensuring the financial viability of the public broadcaster. We wish them well in this regard.
Also important is the need to continue supporting institutions that strengthen our democracy and also our economy, as part of creating the right environment for economic growth and development.
In this regard, we value the work that is done by the South African Reserve Bank and we will continue to protect its independence.
We value our Chapter 9 institutions and also those we established to promote clean governance such as the Public Service Commission and the Special Investigation Unit which help us to fight corruption and maladministration in the public sector.
I mention all these because they all part of our package of promoting economic growth in an environment in which there is sound economic and political management.
We are doing this not only for investors but also for our people, because they deserve good governance and effective service delivery.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Before I conclude my remarks, I wish to reflect briefly on the political situation in our sister republic of Zimbabwe.
As we have said in the last few days, our region SADC is committed to providing support to the people of Zimbabwe to resolve the political situation that has arisen there.
Early in the week I spoke to President Robert Mugabe in my capacity as the current chair of SADC. I also sent two special envoys to Harare.
The envoys had fruitful meetings with President Mugabe, some government Ministers and leaders of the Zimbabwe Defence Force.
Although it is early days, we are cautiously optimistic that the situation will be resolved amicably. We wish to reiterate our commitment to support the people of Zimbabwe during this difficult period.
A stable and peaceful SADC region is in our best interest, and Zimbabwe is a critical member of our regional community.
We also reaffirm the African Union directive against unconstitutional changes in government within the continent, which all SADC member states should abide by.
We have historical, economic cultural, political and family ties with Zimbabwe.
We urge all our people to support the Zimbabwean brothers and sisters as they face the current difficult situation in their country.
Ladies and gentlemen, investors and potential investors,
We invite you to join us on this journey of building a stronger, globally competitive economy in our country and the region.
We invite you to make use of the One Stop Shop centres to obtain the various services in a more convenient setting, and together let us promote thriving industries which create jobs for our people especially the youth.
It is my pleasure to declare the KwaZulu-Natal InvestSA One Stop Centre officially open.
I thank you.