Sus­man says gov­ern­ment not cre­at­ing jobs

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT -

WOOL­WORTHS chair­man Si­mon Sus­man yes­ter­day said the South African gov­ern­ment was not do­ing enough to cre­ate jobs and called for laws to be changed to make it eas­ier to hire and fire work­ers.

“I am con­cerned about the South African econ­omy,” Sus­man said after the cloth­ing and food re­tailer’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing. “I think that the gov­ern­ment’s fol­low­ing of a large raft of pop­ulist leg­is­la­tion is keep­ing mil­lions of peo­ple out of jobs.”

Elec­tric­ity short­ages and strikes are set to re­strict South Africa’s growth to 1.4 per­cent this year, the low­est since a 2009 re­ces­sion, Trea­sury forecasts show. Sus­man said he drew en­cour­age­ment from the gov­ern­ment’s will­ing­ness to reg­u­larly meet with business lead­ers – some­thing that did not hap­pen five years ago.

While the en­gage­ment had not re­sulted in no­table ac­tion, there was a good chance it could bring about a shift in think­ing, he said.

Sus­man’s com­ments come a day after Jo­hann Ru­pert, the bil­lion­aire chair­man of Richemont and Remgro, be­rated the gov­ern­ment for fail­ing to ad­dress cor­rup­tion and power short­ages.

Ru­pert said that not only was the coun­try in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to de­fend abroad, but that it was dif­fi­cult to cre­ate jobs with­out an ef­fi­cient sup­ply of en­ergy. – Bloomberg

PHOTO: LEON NI­CHOLAS

Si­mon Sus­man

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