OPINION: The country’s common interest should always come first

PUBLISHED: Thu, 25 Aug 2016 15:48:28 GMT

In recent weeks, following the local elections, we have been reminded of the importance of democracy. Our commitment to this as a country has encouraged all stakeholders; citizens, business, investors and politicians alike – all while the world continues to keep a watchful eye on South Africa. However, the ongoing dispute between the Ministry of Finance and South African Revenue Service (SARS) places this new found confidence at risk.

Ernest Mahlaule, President of the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) says: “In conversations with our constituents and stakeholders, we have become aware of how reports of the ongoing dispute between the office of the Minister of Finance and SARS is impacting confidence in South Africa, from  local and international businesses. The situation continues to create instability in the Rand and local markets, which comes at a very delicate time for the local economy.”

“Something needs to give. If this situation continues for much longer, the greater risk is the lasting reputational damage to the country, in the eyes of our current and future investors, and this is something the country simply cannot afford.”

South Africa is still at risk of being downgraded to ‘junk’ status, where research from local economists has already demonstrated that, should this happen, it will take the country’s economy at least seven years to recover. “The startling reality, however, is that if South Africa is downgraded to junk status – and our political will is still at odds – this could spell the beginning of more, and compounding, challenges for the country,” Mahlaule continues.

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