Remarks by President Jacob Zuma on the occasion of the Business Luncheon with Captains of Industry, New Delhi, India, 28 October 2015
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
High Commissioner Morule
Captains of Industry
I am honoured by the opportunity to be here with you today.
Our two countries share bonds of people, history, values and objectives.
The struggle against poverty, unemployment and inequality require a multidimensional approach that seeks to unlock the innovative potential of our people, which in turn will forge dynamic partnerships through business and investment.
Through our transformative partnership in the international political arena, we are collectively pursuing a developmental agenda that is reshaping the global relations.
In this regard, as a founding member of IBSA and a member of BRICS, we are together with our Indian counterparts, addressing our common challenges.
We are also forging new alliances that are addressing not only our developmental challenges, but also those of the broader developing South.
The initiative by the Government of India which began in 2008, to engage Africa through the India-Africa Summit and the commitment shown by both South Africa and India to the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) speak to the broad consultation and cooperation that both states have committed themselves to.
In addition, our two states share an ideology that is based on Ubuntu and Ahimsa and is premised on reshaping the global agenda. We continue to participate as partners in various multilateral fora such as the Non Aligned Movement, G77+China as well as the G20.
Just as we pursue the transformative partnership in the Political Arena, we must continue to prioritise our business and trade partnerships to address our shared challenges.
The South African government is committed to realising our five key priorities to transform the lives of South Africans, which include:
- Creation of decent work and sustainable livelihood.
- Fight against crime and corruption.
- Rural development, food security and land reform.
In order to realise our five key priorities, the South African Government has adopted the National Development Plan (NDP), Vision 2030 which has been translated into a five year plan with the objective of dealing with the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
The NDP aims to unlock the institutional, human and structural impediments to higher growth in the country, offering a framework for faster growth and socio-economic transformation.
Government has further developed a Nine Point Plan with a view to advance the objectives contained in the NDP Vision 2030.
The plan entails the following:
1. Resolving the energy challenge through a mix of energy sources that include solar, coal, nuclear and other sources.
2. In enhancing the agricultural value chain, we are building the infrastructure that will develop our agrarian resources and which will benefit some of the poorest communities in South Africa.
3. Another important component of the plan is mineral beneficiation. In this regard, the beneficiation of titanium, platinum and other ferrous metals is prioritised.
4. Through the ongoing development of our Industrial Policy Action Plan, we continue to prioritise the development and expansion of industries such as ICT, Energy, Transportation, Oil, Gas, Water and Sanitation. South Africa also has advanced capability and capacity and is globally competitive in many areas of manufacturing, including mining and transport capital equipment, the automotive sector and auto catalyst production. We wish to grow and expand our global participation in these sectors and supply chains through potential partnerships and collaboration.
To this end we have decided to establish two Special Economic Zones which will exclusively focus on the beneficiation of the Platinum Group Metals.
5. Our interventions in all the economic areas is aimed at boosting private sector investment.
6. Labour, in conjunction with the private sector and government, is committed to addressing and moderating work place conflict, thereby creating an enabling environment for business in South Africa. Our objective is to ensure that we bring about stability in the South African labour market.
7. Government has established the Department of Small Business Development to develop and strengthen this potential of SMME enterprises in townships and the rural areas. Your NSIC (National Small Industries Cooperation) has formed partnerships in South Africa through its incubator programmes.
8. The reform of state-owned companies, broad band roll out, water sanitation and development of transport infrastructure are other key focus areas.
9. Lastly, our plan includes unlocking the ocean economy through Operation Phakisa focusing on the following four areas: marine transport and manufacturing, off-shore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture and marine protection services and ocean governance.
The major mechanism guiding the strategic partnership between South Africa and India and operationalising the Nine Point Plan into a tangible developmental relationship is the Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC), which meets at the level of External Relations/International Relations Ministers level.
The 9th JMC was held on 19 May 2015 in Durban, South Africa. The JMC adopted a comprehensive Five Year Strategic Programme for Cooperation, which identified key priority sectors for enhanced cooperation namely; financing, deep-mining, infrastructure development, agro processing and the defence sector.
India is currently South Africa’s third largest trading partner in Asia and ranks amongst South Africa’s top six trading partners globally. Bilateral trade between South Africa and India came to 11.8 billion US dollars for the 2014/2015 financial year, which is a drop from the 15.7 billion dollars achieved in 2011/2012. Of concern, however, is that South Africa’s exports to India comprise mainly of commodities whereas India exports processed products to South Africa.
We should also view South Africa – India trade and investment within the broader context of Africa-India trade. The potential for growth posed by the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (COMESA-EAC-SADC), especially given India’s competitive advantages and traditional trade links with Africa, could provide further impetus for enhanced investment activity and joint ventures.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On the investment front, I express my appreciation to India for having a cumulative investment of 7 billion dollars as of March 2015 in South Africa which created about ten thousand jobs.
The major sectors of investment cover such areas as mining, automotive, information technology, hotel and tourism and financial services.
I understand that the subject of visas is a regular point of discussion raised by Indian business people. I wish to remind you that Government, in its efforts to remove hurdles in doing business in South Africa, has taken a decision to award a Ten Year BRICS Business Visa for qualifying business persons. The South African Missions in New Delhi and Mumbai stand ready to assist you in this regard.
In conclusion, as leaders of the Indian business community, you have throughout history led the development of critical trading routes that have joined our two Continents.
In doing so, you have connected peoples, cultures, ancient civilisations and ideologies.
In sharing our common ideals towards human rights and vibrant democracies, I now charge you to follow in the steps of your forefathers and set sail once more to connect our great nations as we pursue our collective transformational agenda.
I thank you.
Issued by The Presidency