South African businesses say some state assets must be sold
During a meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma. the heads of some of the country's biggest companies presented suggestions on how to boost the ailing economy, including the sale of state-owned assets and the creation of an anti-corruption committee, said Mike Brown, chief executive officer of Nedbank Group Ltd.
Increasing taxes while cutting back on government expenses and more effective management of state-owned companies, by appointing experienced business professionals to the boards, were also topics for discussion, according to Brown, who hosted a meeting of as many as 60 CEOs at Nedbank's offices with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan last month. A review of legislation, including labor laws, and a commitment by the country's biggest companies to support government were some of the other suggestions, he said.
Zuma spoke to more than 140 business leaders and cabinet ministers on Tuesday in Cape Town on ways to improve investor sentiment and stimulate growth in an economy weakened by a fall in metals prices, slowing demand from China and the worst drought in more than a century. Among those at the meeting were Ralph Mupita, chief executive officer of insurer Old Mutual Plc's emerging markets business, Colin Coleman, partner and head of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in South Africa, Barclays Africa Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Maria Ramos and Christo Wiese, the billionaire chairman of Shoprite Holdings Ltd.