Finweek English Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Ciaran Ryan

“We need to re­lax some as­pects of the Labour Re­la­tions Act”

Her­man Mashaba Chair­man of the Free Mar­ket Foundation, CEO and founder of Leswikeng Min­er­als & En­ergy, and founder of cos­met­ics firm Black Like Me

1 What are the top three pol­icy i ssues that are de­press­ing SA’s growth rate?

Sec­tion 32 of the Labour Re­la­tions Act (LRA). The sec­tion al­lows the min­is­ter of labour to ex­tend col­lec­tive agree­ments con­cluded by bar­gain­ing coun­cils in a sec­tor to busi­nesses that are not party to the agree­ment, and which many be­lieve vi­o­lates free­dom of as­so­ci­a­tion rights en­shrined in the con­sti­tu­tion. All race-based leg­is­la­tion. There is too much gov­ern­ment in­volve­ment in the econ­omy. We should sub­stan­tially re­duce state-owned en­ter­prises (SOEs) and their in­flu­ence on the econ­omy.

2 What are the pos­i­tives? Can we strengthen and im­prove on th­ese?

SA has a de­vel­oped and mod­ern in­fras­truc­ture that can eas­ily be ex­ploited to im­prove and steer our econ­omy to the next level, also not ig­nor­ing our level of busi­ness stand­ing.

3 What can we do in the short term to boost growth?

Re­mov­ing race-based leg­is­la­tion will im­me­di­ately al­low all South Africans to play mean­ing­ful roles in the econ­omy, pro­vid­ing em­ploy­ment to mil­lions. We also need to re­lax some as­pects of the LRA, which cur­rently makes it dif­fi­cult for small busi­nesses to op­er­ate.

4 SA has slid a fur­ther four places to 73 out of 189 coun­tries in the World Bank’s lat­est Do­ing Busi­ness re­port. Do you agree that SA is slip­ping, and if so, how would you fix it?

I fully agree that our coun­try is grad­u­ally slip­ping. Our cur­rent rat­ing tells it all. We need l ess gov­ern­ment in­volve­ment in driv­ing eco­nomic growth. Small busi­ness de­vel­op­ment should be SA’s pri­or­ity i n stim­u­lat­ing eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity.

5 What would your strat­egy be to ad­dress the need for trans­for­ma­tion and em­pow­er­ment, while en­sur­ing an at­trac­tive busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment for in­vestors?

When all in SA are treated equally, our eco­nomic growth should be per­form­ing at least at 5% per an­num, al­low­ing gov­ern­ment to col­lect more taxes that can be in­vested in ed­u­ca­tion. Proper in­vest­ment in ed­u­ca­tion should be our pri­or­ity in sus­tain­able trans­for­ma­tion. When our econ­omy grows at least at 5%, we are not go­ing to have enough white peo­ple to fill all se­nior po­si­tions. Sus­tain­able trans­for­ma­tion and em­pow­er­ment will au­to­mat­i­cally hap­pen when we fo­cus our en­er­gies on growth of the econ­omy.

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