“I think what has happened is that over time, business people have started to realise that without speaking out, things are going to happen that don’t benefit business,” futurist and strategy consultant Guy Lundy told CNBC Africa.
“Traditionally, over the last 10 to 15 years, there’s been quite an anti-reaction to business people speaking their minds. A number of people have been taken to task because of their views about where things are going in South Africa.”
Prominent members of the South Africa’s business community, such as Woolworths chairman Simon Suzman, have begun to speak out on government’s policy encroachment in the sector, and the detrimental effect it could have on the country’s future economic growth.
“I think we have such a wonderful economy and if you look back over 10 years, incredible strides. There’s an enormous drop in poverty, we’ve seen the growth in the middle class and it’s just been fantastic. It’s been the South African economic miracle,” Suzman explained.
“The issue that we’re facing is that we’re beginning to stifle that miracle unnecessarily. At the heart of that lies this whole plethora of restrictive labour practices, which are having the effect of keeping people out of work.”
Suzman added that the business community and government would need to debate and devise a fair economic policy for the country that would allow for job creation and growth without encroaching on business independence.
Business leaders are also concerned about populous legislation being imposed on commerce in the country.
Lundy emphasised that dialogue was needed as opposed to a condemning outcry over government’s increasing interest in the business community.
“We need something new. People at the highest levels need to sit together and need to start having a conversation around how we [can] turn this economy into the growth that it has the potential to have,” he said.