Functional municipalities needed to boost business growth

Friday, September 19, 2014

By More Matshediso

Midrand - President Jacob Zuma says a well-functioning local government sector creates an enabling environment for the business sector to flourish and be sustainable, and for jobs to be created.

The President said this on Thursday when welcoming representatives from the private sector to the Presidential Local Government Summit.

The summit was held at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand.

Some of the businesspeople who attended the summit were already involved in partnerships with municipalities.

“We also warmly welcome the innovative Business Adopt-a-Municipality programme,” President Zuma said.

He said the Business Adopt-a Municipality initiative was helpful in that it promoted a closer working relationship between government, State Owned Entities and the private sector. Vulnerable municipalities were also benefiting from the support arising from this initiative.

“We encourage more businesses to identify municipalities to support. This will help business to contribute to enhancing service delivery challenges in the local government sphere, and improve performance in general for the benefit of the cities and towns,” President Zuma said.

Among the business representatives at the summit was the Chairperson and Managing Director of Nestlé South Africa, Sullivan O'Carroll.      

O'Carroll said businesses also needed support from municipalities, meaning the relationship had to be mutually beneficial.

“Our company employs more than 3 500 people in the country, and 95% of our products are produced locally. Globally, we have about 500 factories… and we rely on electricity 24/7 to run our business smoothly,” O'Carroll said.

He added that power outages cost the company a lot of money as they resulted in a setback on production.

O'Carroll said Nestlé SA supports 2 000 plus farmers in South Africa alone, as they depended on farm products to produce their own products.

“Nestlé South Africa spends about R4 billion every year on procurement,” O'Carroll said.

He said the company managed to open two factories in the country, in partnership with local government and other stakeholders.

“We need to strengthen our relationship with municipalities,” O'Carroll said. -

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