The rand firmed following last week’s peaceful local government elections, a sign of global satisfaction with the state of democracy in South Africa. And local business leaders have also reacted positively, if cautiously, to the outcome of the poll.
In the Buffalo City Metro Municipality, outgoing executive mayor Alfred Mtsi, a former Mercedes-Benz shop steward on the West Bank, appeared to enjoy the support of business during his short tenure since July last year, although deputy mayor Xola Pakati came into council after serving in the provincial legislature as chairman of the portfolio committee on economic development, environment and tourism.
Yesterday, the Border-Kei Chamber of Business congratulated the ANC on its win, with executive director Les Holbrook saying the chamber was pleased that Pakati would retain leadership of council as the new executive mayor.
However, the chamber highlighted the ANC’s majority as a concern, stating “all good democracies work better when strong and robust opposition regulates decisions”.
Holbrook targeted “even better collaboration” with business as key for success of the new council, alongside cooperation between the municipality’s political and administrative leadership.
He said the chamber remained concerned over unfilled vacancies and the ongoing suspension of municipal manager Andile Fani at huge cost.
“In the private sector – simply overlooking a salary of more than R1.6-million indefinitely, would never be condoned.”
In Port Elizabeth, the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber made an impassioned plea for the DA-led council to create a stable business environment, collaborate with organised business, ensure good governance and focus on service delivery.
The chamber also called for incentives for foreign investors and for mega-tourism projects to be attracted to the Bay.
Chamber chief executive Kevin Hustler did not comment on how a DA council might operate differently from the ANC.
NMB mayor-elect Athol Trollip has made blistering comments about the Coega Industrial Development Zone, saying ANC cadres deployed there were enjoying the gravy train at the expense of fulfilling the zone’s mandate to create jobs.
But the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) was equally scathing of anti-small business attitudes in the DA-run city of Cape Town that hobbled hawkers and informal traders and which could now be transferred to NMB and potentially Tshwane.
Nafcoc president Lawrence Mavundla said many small business owners who were making a living and creating jobs in Cape Town, had found themselves out of business under the pretence that municipal authorities were cleaning up he city.
“That doesn’t mean we are happy with what the ANC is doing in other towns. Durban is run by the ANC but has a lot of anti-hawking laws – and so has Johannesburg. We want to make sure the rights of small businesses are respected.”
Mavundla said local government procurement was another serious concern, with big external companies taking away business opportunities from small local businesses. — email@example.com