The towns and cities of South Africa are under severe pressure and the provision of services is making it incredibly difficult to do business, says Pick n Pay president Gareth Ackerman.
In a presentation that followed the retailer’s findings last week, Pick n Pay president Gareth Ackerman said there was little infrastructure management at the local government level.
“Investment or maintenance has been limited and service delivery is very poor. So poor, that one in some places we find it difficult to insure our assets.
“The National Treasury had to allocate an additional R11 billion to the South African Special Risk Insurance Association (Sasria) to assist with the payment of claims and recapitalize them. We simply cannot be in a position where the insurance industry has lost its appetite for South Africa due to crime, civil unrest and a lack of service provision. “
Ackerman also called on the government’s extended public works program to work to clean up pollution and repair potholes and other key infrastructure in the country’s cities with immediate effect. Aside from the impact on the economy and the environment, this failure has an impact on job creation, he said.
“Another big impact on jobs is a lack of sufficient electricity. The amount of bureaucracy, political obstacles and legal obstacles that stand in the way of alternative energy production must end. According to the CEO of Amplats, South Africa is only one of four countries in the world capable of generating more renewable energy than necessary. What an opportunity we are wasting.
“This requires urgent political attention. It would also be helpful if government agencies focused on the work at hand. We’ve had nearly a decade of investigating the food market from the Competition Commission, which basically found nothing. There is now a new investigation into fresh produce. This has a huge cost both in terms of money and time ”.
Despite these concerns, Ackerman said Pick n Pay’s future is bright but the economy needs “urgent surgery”
“Accelerating our economy will require extraordinary attention and swift implementation of the reforms the government is already committed to.
“Our government needs to harness the energy and capabilities of the private sector, without fear or mistrust. It is only through trusted partnerships that our economy will recover. Constant focus on issues other than economic growth results in a smaller pie to be shared among a growing population. We need to grow the economy and start setting the fundamentals. “