The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Magwanishe,
Western Cape Acting Premier, Mr Winde,
Cape Town Mayor, Ms Patricia De Lille,
Leaders of Government from the three spheres,
Captains of Industry and Business,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good day to you all!
Thank you for joining us on this important occasion, the launch of the InvestSA One Stop Shop, Western Cape for all investors.
This important event takes place just as we are all celebrating and welcoming the latest report which shows that our economy grew by 2.5% in the last quarter and that we are out of the technical recession.
It indicates that if we focus on doing what is right, concentrating on supporting the sectors that can help us reignite growth, we will see positive results.
More good news is that South Africa fared well in the recent World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2016-2017, ranking 47th out of 138 countries.
The report shows that South Africa ranked very well in financing through the local equity market, where we ranked first out of 138 countries.
The same report shows that we rank first when measures on the strength of auditing and reporting standards.
We are also first on the protection of minority shareholders’ interests; second of the soundness of our banking system; and third on the regulation of securities exchanges and the efficacy of corporate boards.
These positive results are echoed in the Brand South Africa International Perception Survey 2016 which identified a number of strategic areas for improvement by Government in its investment promotion, facilitation and aftercare efforts.
Several private sector reports also indicate that South Africa remains the preferred investment destination on the African continent. We need to build on these positive attributes of our country.
We need to work together as government, business and organised labour to ensure that we sustain this positive trajectory.
Creating an environment where the economy can grow, and jobs can be created for our people, comes first for our government. Our people do not need jobs, they need to be able to put food on the table. Young people need jobs, they are sitting at home with degrees and diplomas.
It is for this reason that we are focusing on creating the right environment for investments into the economy, from abroad and from within the country.
The economy must indeed come first to all of us.
It is for this reason that we are establishing the One Stop Shops to make it easier for investors to do business in South Africa.
For a long time there have been concerns from the business and investor community that bureaucratic hurdles in the state make investing in South Africa difficult.
The launch of InvestSA One Stop Shop for the Western Cape Province this morning is our concrete response as government to these concerns.
This launch follows on the footsteps of the launch of the National One Stop Shop in March this year. There will be launches in other provinces in due course.
The idea of a One Stop Shop is a simple one: all key regulatory and administrative departments and agencies are housed in a single location to provide an integrated service to investors. This is happening for the first time in our history.
The One Stop Shops provide a convenient, professional service for setting up a business. The One Stop Shops are very easy to use for investors.
All an investor needs to do is to make an appointment with the relevant government representative at the One Stop Shop to explain the services required and the government representative provides guidance and support to the investor. From permits to water or electricity services, tax issue, licensing - it should be easy for an investor to get all these services under one roof.
Officials at the One Stop Shops are trained and briefed to provide such specialist advisory services. They are meant to help potential investors to find all services under one roof. Our intention is to unblock and reduce red tape in government.
As I have pointed out, all the services each investor needs are available under the same roof. Key departments such as Home Affairs, Labour, Environmental Affairs, Trade and Industry and agencies such as Companies Intellectual Property Commission, South African Revenue Services, Visa Facilitation Service, are available at the One Stop Shop.
This is not only a significant improvement from a fragmented service government used to provide before. But it also works. Since the launch of the National One Stop Shop on 17 March this year, we have seen a significant improvement in the overall investor facilitation and after service.
If we continue in this direction, we will continue to see results and achieve the growth rates envisaged in the National Development Plan.
The NDP envisages that the combined investment by the private and public sectors rise from the current levels of around 19% of GDP to 30% of GDP by 2030.
This endeavour requires a concerted effort from government across the spheres, the private sector and organised labour.
From our part as government, we have established an Inter – Ministerial Committee on Investment comprising of 18 Cabinet Ministers to oversee our overall investment policy, coordination and alignment including the investment climate and marketing of South Africa as an investment destination.
Government will continue to work hard to improve the investment climate in our country so that we can kick-start the growth of our economy. It is not only foreign investors that we seek to attract to invest into our economy. We also seek to encourage domestic investors to also do the same.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are aware as government that investors, both foreign and domestic, as well as other business owners share concerns about the state of our economy.
These concerns include the continued slow economic growth, rising government debt, and poor performance by some State Owned Companies and Enterprises. We share these concerns are our concerns too, and we are taking steps to address them.
We are accelerating the implementation of the National Development Plan because we believe that it is the only plan that will lead us to inclusive growth and help us create jobs.
Noting the difficult economic conditions we face, I convened a meeting of the Economic Cluster Ministers at the end of June this year to assess the situation and to formulate concrete measures to turn the situation around.
I called the meeting to also communicate to the Ministers that we need to act with a strong measure of urgency.
It is simply not sufficient to say we have the NDP anymore.
We need to move faster to implement it.
The meeting agreed on clear implementation timelines for the key structural reforms related to the Nine-Point Plan to reignite economic growth.
The Nine Point Plan prioritises action in a number of areas.
There is an increased focus on industrialisation, mining and beneficiation, agriculture and agro-processing, energy, small, medium as well as micro enterprises (SMMEs), attracting investments, growing the oceans economy and tourism.
In addition to this, cross-cutting areas such as science and technology, water and sanitation, infrastructure, transport infrastructure and broadband roll-out have also been prioritised.
We also have a specific programme focusing on the development of black industrialists, as part of promoting radical socio-economic transformation.
This initiative aims to expand the industrial base of the country and grow the economy through bringing in the majority to real productive sectors such as manufacturing.
The economic cluster has produced measures to add impetus to the Nine Point Plan. The Minister of Finance, Mr Malusi Gigaba, has announced some of these measures.
Others will be announced when he delivers the mid-term policy statement next month.
We should also accept that the challenges that our economy faces do not mean that everything is not working well.
Our country is doing well on many fronts and life is improving for many people on a daily basis, as basic services are extended on an ongoing basis.
We need to unite as South Africans and put our country first. We have added responsibilities this year as we chair SADC and BRICS.
The eyes of the continent and the world are therefore on us, waiting for us to continue doing what we are known for, as a nation that can find solutions to even the most difficult of problems.
Yesterday I returned from China where I, together with several Ministers and a South African business delegation, participated at the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China.
This was an important Summit in many respects. The BRICS partnership will be entering its second decade of existence next year. Since its launch, BRICS has made many strides, including the establishment of the New Development Bank whose Africa Regional Centre we launched a few weeks ago in Johannesburg.
The New Development Bank and BRICS in general offer us an opportunity to engage the world and develop our economy on terms that are fairer and less hostile.
The New Development Bank has started lending money for infrastructure development. All of us will soon notice the benefits of our participation in BRICS.
I invite business to engage with BRICS by participating in its institutions and by forming partnerships with their counterparts from BRICS countries.
The launch of the InvestSA One Stop Shop – Western Cape is a significant demonstration of how Government can effectively work together at all three spheres.
The National One Stop Shop will be linked to and support the provincial One Stop Shops. Before the end of this year there will be launches of One Stop Shops in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
InvestSA will continue supporting the operational functions of the established One Stop Shops through effective monitoring engagements.
I urge the investment community to make use of these services and look forward to seeing the positive impact of the One Stop Shops to inclusive economic growth across the country.
It is through collaboration and alignment of action that we can add to this spirit of progress outlined in the NDP.
I also wish to reiterate that we must unite as government, business and labour and send one message of hope to the country. A lot of good work is being done. The launch of these centres is among the progress that is being made with regards to creating the right investment climate to create jobs.
Let me congratulate the dti, the Western Cape Government and other stakeholders for getting this project off the ground successfully. The people of the Western Cape need jobs and this project will help to achieve those goals.
Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate the Mayor of Cape Town for the MoU that was signed recently by Cape Town and New York City in the USA, which is aimed at promoting tourism and people to people exchanges between Cape Town and New York City.
Tourism is one of the key sectors for job creation. We need more and more tourists from all the key markets in the world.
It is my pleasure to declare this Western Cape Investor One Stop Shop Centre officially open!
I thank you.