AN Innovative decision to establish a joint task team that will be resourced by both business and government is one of the positive outcomes of a meeting held between organised business and the KZN government.
The closed working meeting was held last Friday at Garden Court Umhlanga bringing together business and government to discuss the recent spate of disruptions to economic activity in the province.
The meeting was chaired by Premier of KwaZulu Natal, TW Mchunu, accompanied by several MECs, the mayor of eThekwini, and attended by heads of organised business in Durban and across the province.
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The meeting was the initiative of organised business in response to concerns raised by the business community.
These include: N3 Mooi River toll gate truck torchings and disruption of smooth flow of traffic affecting a number of sectors including tourism with serious immediate financial losses; violence and damage to public property in the Moses Mabhida Stadium with devastating results for the tourism and investment sectors of Durban and KZN; construction site invasions, extortions and rising tensions in townships between local and refugee traders; the mosque attack in Verulam whose motive remains unknown; political killings the past two years; and blockades to the Durban Port which compromise businesses throughout the country.
Opening the meeting, Mchunu welcomed the opportunity and emphasised the need for working together to defeat the disruptions and killings.
“The forging of a working relationship between government and business is essentially aimed at maintaining our status as a province that is a gateway to Africa and the world as enshrined in our 2035 vision.
“We understand the concerns of our people which may emanate from a position of hunger and intergenerational poverty that is accompanied by deep hopelessness. But we wish to emphasise that we will not condone the breaking of our laws,” he said.
“We had no option but to make the call on government to see how we, as organised business, could play a role in solving the current challenges. Several chambers have united and we are working closely together, understanding that chambers must be merchants of peace to facilitate an environment in which economic growth happens and poverty, unemployment and inequality are alleviated,” he said.
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President of the South African Chambers of Commerce and Industry and board member of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Zeph Ndlovu, said: “It was a constructive dialogue. Chief among the achievements of this meeting is the ground-breaking decision to establish a joint task team that will be resourced by both business and government.”
“This task team will work programmatically on the concerns raised by organised business so that, together, responses can be fashioned to have a sustainable impact on all negative factors that threaten KZN’s economic growth trajectory,” confirmed Premier Mchunu.
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