Press Statement dated 8 September 2017

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) says vital international investments opportunities are bypassing South Africa because of widespread uncertainty over the political direction that the country is taking. FEDUSA is part of the Africa Forum Private Sector Inclusive Green Growth and Job Creation Conference that is currently underway in Livingstone, Zambia. The Forum is being hosted by the International Labour Organization’s Green Centenary Initiative in collaboration with the Zambian and Finnish governments.

“South Africa might have won back the status as the largest economy in Africa from Nigeria last year, but foreign investors are increasingly looking at other African countries in search for business partners and the creation of green jobs. Political stability urgently needed to create jobs in South Africa,” says Sonja Carstens, FEDUSA’s representative at the Forum.

”Finland sent a delegation of 10 of its fastest growing innovative green companies to look for local partners to develop plants and manufacture their products in Zambia. These companies specialise in renewable energy, waste management, solar heating and agriculture; and these are all green jobs incentives that would have assisted South Africa where 63% of young children live in poverty that can affects their physical, cognitive and emotional development. Why do Finland choose Zambia with a population of 17 million people as opposed to South Africa with her population of 55 million people?

Carstens says delegates at the Forum considered Zambia to enjoy far more political stability than South Africa while Eugene Mapuwo, the Mayor of Livingstone, a quaint tourist town on the edges of the Victoria Falls said his town could be considered as one of the safest in the world, making it ideal for investors to locate their offices there.

“In Livingstone you can walk around freely at night without being bothered,” said Mapuwo.

Carstens said the same cannot be said about South Africa where political turmoil and instability weighed heavily on SA's economy in the first quarter of 2017.

On Monday media reports indicated that South African business confidence had fallen to its lowest level since a partial state of emergency was declared by the former all-white government in 1985.

“South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry business confidence index fell to 89.6 in August from 95.3 in July. This is its lowest level since August 1985, the month that former President PW Botha gave his infamous Rubicon speech that ended hopes for an earlier end to apartheid,” concluded Carstens.

“If South Africa wants to achieve radical economic transformation the country needs to boost investor confidence with immediate effect because they are not considering our country as a viable option currently. Green jobs where goods and services are produces with an environmental benefit is the future. We don’t have another planet”.

Issued by Dennis George, General Secretary, Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa)