Improving the ease of doing business in SA

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa says Government is hard at work to make South Africa a more competitive destination for investment -  by improving the ease of doing business.

“Steadily but surely, we are making South Africa a more competitive destination for investment by reducing the cost, and improving the ease, of doing business,” the President said on Wednesday at the 2nd South Africa Investment Conference, taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

“We have set ourselves the ambition of being in the top 50 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index within the next three years.”

One-Stop Shops

Through the expanding network of Invest SA’s One-Stop Shops, Government is working to remove bureaucratic and administrative hurdles to investment, providing new entrants with a single contact point for licensing and regulatory compliance.

Biz Portal

This week, government launched an integrated online platform for the fast, efficient and inexpensive registration of a company. Known as Biz Portal, this online portal promises to be a game-changer.

Through collaboration among several government agencies and with the involvement of the four major banks, it is now possible for applicants to register their company at the same time as they register for tax, a domain name, a BEE certificate, the Compensation Fund and the Unemployment Insurance Fund, and open a business bank account.

“We are aiming for a registration process that can be completed in one day,” the President said. 

Detailed work is underway between government and industry to improve the efficiency of various permitting process, including, for example, the issuing of water use licences.

Data costs

The President said government has taken steps to provide greater policy certainty in areas such as mining, oil and gas and telecoms as part of efforts to create a stable environment for investment.

“We have initiated the release of the high-demand broadband spectrum, which will bring down data costs and encourage investment.”

A policy framework has been gazetted and the regulator has published its proposals.

Visa-free nations and e-visas

As part of attracting skilled professionals and growing tourism, government has prioritised immigration reform and changes to the visa regime.

“More countries have been added to the list of visa-free nations for inward tourism, the requirements on unabridged birth certificates for young tourists have been abolished, and we are piloting a new e-visa portal later this month.”

Through the e-visas, applicants will be able to access visa's online, eliminating the need for applicants to travel long distances to visit South African missions abroad to acquire visas.

The department has also located visa services within the offices of various investment facilitation agencies around the country.

Visa requirements have been simplified for countries such as China and India, which are key markets for tourism to South Africa.

Recently, government also waived visas for travellers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, New Zealand, Cuba, Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe.

Smart system for work permits

President Ramaphosa said government is now working on a smart system for work permits, for scarce skills and to encourage companies to set up their African corporate headquarters in South Africa. 

Reducing public spending

As the Minister of Finance indicated in his medium-term budget policy statement last week, one of South Africa’s central priorities is to return the country to a sustainable fiscal path.

“We are taking several measures to reduce public spending, eliminate wastage and direct resources to where they will have the greatest impact on long-term growth and poverty alleviation,” the President said. – SAnews.gov.za V

President Ramaphosa in Sochi for first Russia-Africa Summit

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa has arrived in Sochi where he is leading a South African delegation to the first Russia-Africa Summit.

The two-day event is expected to focus on key areas of cooperation between Russia and African countries. Discussions, the Presidency said in a statement, are framed by three thematic pillars, namely, Forging Economic Ties, Creating Joint Projects, and Collaborating in the Humanitarian and Social Sector.

“While in Russia, President Ramaphosa is expected to attend the inaugural Russia-Africa Economic Forum, have bilateral meetings with President Vladimir Putin of Russia and other Heads of State and Government attending the summit,” the Presidency said. 

President Ramaphosa will also address the first Russia-Africa Summit plenary session.

The Presidency said the summit is expected to deepen friendly relations between Russia and countries on the African continent at both bilateral and multilateral levels, forge closer collaboration on regional and international issues of common interest, raise strategic dialogue between Russia and African countries to a qualitatively higher level, and contribute to peace, security and sustainable development in Africa.

The Russia-Africa Summit will also contribute towards the overall objective of addressing the aspirations of African countries, as encapsulated in Agenda 2063.

“As the continental development blueprint, Agenda 2063 calls for a people-centred developmental process that ensures, inter alia, economic diversification and growth in order to eradicate poverty, unemployment and inequality,” said the Presidency.

The participation of South Africa at this inaugural summit is in line with the South African Foreign Policy pillar of encouraging South-North Cooperation in various technical fields, as well as promoting economic development.

Bilateral relations between South Africa and Russia are at optimal level and continue to grow from strength to strength.

President Ramaphosa is accompanied by the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor; Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan; State Security, Ayanda Dlodlo and Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

Deputy President David Mabuza has been appointed Acting President for the duration of the President’s trip abroad. – SAnews.gov.za

SA developing responses to 4IR

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Deputy President David Mabuza says the South African government is developing comprehensive responses to the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) through the Presidential Advisory Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The Deputy President said this when he returned to the National Assembly to field oral questions on Tuesday.

AIC’s Lulama Ntshayisa had asked the Deputy President what steps he has taken to lead the process to ensure that technology is at the forefront of taking trade into the 4IR in the context of the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.

Mabuza said while the scope of the Free Trade Agreement does not include technology and digital trade in specific terms, the African Union is currently undertaking parallel initiatives on the development of an African Digital Trade and Digital Economy Development Strategy through the Specialised Technical Committee on Trade, Industry and Mineral Resources.

“For its part, South Africa is developing a comprehensive response to the digital trade and the 4th Industrial Revolution through the President’s Advisory Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The emerging issues from these processes as far as initiatives around 4th Industrial Revolution is concerned, should bring into sharper focus how as African countries we engage meaningfully in technical cooperation across various sectors of development,” he said.

Addressing MPs, Mabuza said the continent should look at how youth unemployment can be addressed by harnessing its manufacturing capability and human innovation.

“We can for example make major advances in upscaling of our value-added exports taking advantage of rapid technological advances to achieve new efficiencies along product value chains.

“The deployment of digital banking technologies and solutions across the continent will integrate financial services, facilitate trade, eliminate red tape, and reduce the cost of doing business on the continent. It will link producers with markets.”

He said for South Africa, building a better Africa would require a focus on technical cooperation between relevant research and development agencies as well as industry associations in areas of industrial research, technology development and transfer, standards and enterprise development as tools to enhance further trade and investment.

“We call upon the private sector in particular, to play its part in the process of continuous skilling of its workforce to adapt to the ever-changing environment influenced by technological advancement.” – SAnews.gov.za

Good luck matrics!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has sent her best wishes to all matric learners, who are currently sitting for their final National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examination.

Some matrics commenced their final NSC practical exams on 16 October 2019, with Computer Applications Tech Paper 1.

A total of 790 405 candidates are expected to sit for the national exams across 7 416 examination centres nationwide. Main subject papers will be written from 23 October 2019 and will finish on 28 November 2019.

A further 212 learners entered will write from correctional facilities. A total of 147 examination question papers for the 2019 NSC examinations have been set and externally moderated by Umalusi, the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training.

Motshekga paid tribute to the thousands of teachers who are part of the exams.

“Over the years, all our teachers and officials have always covered themselves in glory. We have performed a dry run of all key elements of the examinations system. Our Examinations Computer system is live, tested and all system administrators have been trained and deployed,” Motshekga said.

All data sets have received the nod from Umalusi.

“All necessary policy changes [have been] completed. The security cluster is providing all the necessary support and ready for any eventuality. 

“The only threat that remains with us is the insidious phenomenon of service delivery protests that often turn violent and prevent learners from accessing examinations venues. In this regard, contingency plans are in place.

“We also faced teething problems when the examinations started last week. Learners who were affected by power outages will sit for the exam using our back up question papers.

“Rest assured that the DBE always allows for such incidents, most of which are beyond our control. We are in constant communication with the management of Eskom and they have thus far confirmed that power disruptions will not happen or will be at a bare minimum to ensure that our examination runs smoothly,” Motshekga said.

Provinces have ensured that all the schools for deaf learners have procured and received all the necessary equipment for the South African Sign Language (SASL) Home Language. There are a total of 15 registered schools for deaf learners offering Grade 12 in 2019. – SAnews.gov.za :�wp��ȁ

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