Tough sell for Davos delegation
THIS week, South African business and government leaders are on another trip to Switzerland for the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where they want to showcase South Africa as a prime investment destination and a faithful partner in building global prosperity. With the threat of property expropriation without compensation looming over South Africa, it is difficult to imagine how they will be able to do this.
Putting on an optimistic face and pointing to South Africa’s positives is unlikely to be sufficient. Neither will offering the implausible rider that expropriation without compensation will be undertaken with due regard for the wellbeing of the economy as a whole.
The abridgement of the constitutional guarantees in respect of property, combined with a programme of compensation- free expropriation would, by any analysis, deal a significant blow to the business environment.
Indeed, our interactions with many in the business community suggest that the prospect of this happening is already causing damage.
For years now, the need for structural reforms and decisive action to deal with our economic travails has been widely recognised, not least within government, although follow-through has been indifferent. The endorsement of expropriation without compensation carried the clear message that the commitment to this is at best lukewarm.
We wish our delegates to Davos all good fortune – they will need it.