RUNNING A PROFITABLE BUSINESS IN RSA.
As part of the general political framework that is relevant to an investor is the existence of a vibrant trade unionism. This is mainly because trade unions played a very critical role during the struggle for democracy in South Africa. Almost each and every sector, from banking and finance, to agriculture, to education, to sports, to media, without an exception , there is an active trade union that fights for the rights of its members. Strike action is very common in South Africa. Depending on the situation, some strike actions are legal, while some are illegal.
Section 23 Labour Relations states that;
(1)Everyone has the right to fair labour practices.
(2)Every worker has the right – a)to form and join a trade union; b)to participate in the activities and programmes of a trade union; and c)to strike.
(3)Every employer has the righta)to form and join an employer’s organization; and b)to participate in the activities and programmes of an employer’s organization.
(4)Every trade union and every employer’s organization has the right - a)to determine its own administration, programmes and activities; b)to organize; and c)to form and join a federation… Section 23 aforesaid is of critical importance to any investor because throughout all its tenure, the company will be affected, and infected by the actions of its employees flowing directly and indirectly from this clause. To this extent any potential investor needs to get professional advice and opinion about the implications that this Section may have in their business.
This section (23) is further developed in various statutes, policies, court judgments and many other protocols as and when they develop from timeto-time. The political contestations is normally done through political means and the judiciary. Of great concern though has been the growth in service delivery protests in the past 10 ( ten) years or so. The general complaint of the protesters was that the protesters were not receiving proper government services ranging from housing, municipality services like water, electricity and the like. Some of these service delivery protests had turned violent which resulted into senseless loss of lives in some instances. The exact statistics are always disputed and contested between different political affiliations. For example, on the 09/02/2014 the Sunday Newspaper called City Press released some ‘statistics’ as follows
“2,947” as the number of protests in South Africa in the last three months from November 2013 - January 2014. “3,258” protests from January 2009 - August 2012, and “32” protests per day from November 2013 - January 2014. This picture has not changed much in 2018 which is a matter of great concern. Whatever the precise statistics were, and currently are,, it can not be denied that the levels of service delivery protests had increased dramatically to unacceptably high levels in the past 10 (ten) years or so. This behavior has a potential to derail business growth and development hence this is a matter that must be attended to as a matter of urgency.
There have been unconfirmed claims alleging that the members of the political parties were directly involved in inciting the revolt by the masses. That was done in an attempt to discredit the political party that happens to be in charge in a particular environment. Sometimes it has been alleged that the members of one political party had incited the revolt in an attempt to discredit one another , especially among the ward councilors. Whatever the source of these protests are is bad for business and country hence the law enforcement agents need to address this matter with elevated levels of seriousness.
In our next feature we will deal with other issues that the potential investor needs to know and deal with.