An annual survey, which was conducted by the chamber, polled 64 businesses, with the largest industry representation being from the service industry. It showed a muted outlook for 2014 but with expectations being better than in 2013.
“The overall trend is that businesses do not expect significant improvement in the business environment in 2014, but are none the less more optimistic for the coming year. While most businesses do not plan to increase their workforce, more businesses are likely to employ additional staff rather than reduce staff in 2014,” said South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) chief executive, Neren Rau.
“The high cost of doing business, regulatory burdens and high financing costs will require strong advocacy efforts by SACCI to make the business environment more conducive to economic growth and job creation.”
Other noticeable concerns include inadequate or failing infrastructure, crime and uncertainty over changes to law with labour strife and public service delivery garnering the lowest amount of anxiety.
“The majority of business saw no change in their labour force in 2013 and do not plan to expand it this year. Encouragingly, there are more businesses that plan to expand their employment in 2014 than those who will cut staff,” Rau said.
“On [the] industrial action front, the gross majority of business did not experience a strike in 2013 and also do not expect one in 2014. Unfortunately, more firms expect a strike this year than those who have experienced it in 2013.”
A significant number of businesses however, are expecting an improvement within their own business.