Competitiveness forum to make positive contribution to SA

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pretoria - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says the South African Competitiveness Forum is in a good position to contribute to a country that continues to become a better place than it was before 1994.

Delivering his keynote address at the inaugural South African Competitiveness Forum in Midrand, on Tuesday, Motlanthe said: “I would encourage that we see this forum as an opportunity for social dialogue and crafting social compacts that will enable higher growth trajectory.

“By acting in concert, this forum may prove to be an invaluable tool in the identification, management and minimisation of risks in governance, delivery systems, institutional arrangements and other existing procedures”.

Motlanthe said the forum will give leaders from all spheres a platform for debating the country’s competitiveness, as well as arriving at a common understanding of how to improve the competitiveness of the economy.

“This forum will harness the collective wisdom of various sector leaders in an effort to meet the quality standards of the local and world markets.

“Because of this open-ended access to the global market, South African products need to compete on the basis of improved quality, value for money and desirability,” he said.

Motlanthe said beyond the competiveness of the products, the nation needs to prove its worth on a number of socio-economic indicators such as political stability, cultivating an investment friendly environment, greening the economy, transparency, predictability as well as having good macro-economic policies.

“If we are to be competitive we must have in place sound economic policies; cultivate a favourable legal and business environment; roll-out socio-economic infrastructure; constantly improve our trade and industrial policies and lower the cost of doing business,” he said.

Making good strides in positioning SA

Motlanthe said over the years, South Africans have made good strides in positioning the country as a stable democracy with the necessary institutions and mechanisms for providing an attractive and friendly investor environment.

This, he said, with time lead to significant investments in various sectors, including automotive manufacturing, mining, petro-chemical and many others.

However, he said: “We have also fallen short of the development trajectory necessary to place us on par with many of our competitors.

“These glaring challenges show themselves through high rates of inequality, poverty and unemployment, especially amongst young people who constitute the majority of our population.  

“Confronted by the challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, we are acutely aware that improvement in the competitiveness of our nation is proportional to strides in these critical areas that define the character of our nation today.”

Deputy President Motlanthe said after realising the challenges, government has gone a long way in trying to improve the social wage through a raft of measures including social grants, investment in education, health care and human settlement.

He said the interventions are aimed at drastically improving training and skills sets; lessening the burden of disease; increasing access to productive resources and generally trying to improve the standards of living for all. 


Motlanthe said in modern times, societal progress is predicated on innovation, adding that South Africa has the task of remaining innovative in all key sectors of society, particularly the economy.

“In turn, innovation assumes that our research and development capacity as a country is of international standards. Research and Development creates conditions in which innovation can keep thriving at every stage.

“Logically, this then suggests that our education system be sound and solid, especially in the key areas of science, mathematics and ICT, all of which are the prime drivers of national development,” he said.

Motlanthe said only a sound and quality education system with strong emphasis on mathematics and science can serve as a reliable feeder for tertiary institutions, which will in turn be able to produce top-notch graduates geared to the needs of the country. -

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