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CR’s slick UK visit hides damaging EWC, race agenda – IRR – POLITICS

Organisation says this relationship can and must be expanded with an eye on generating the growth and developmental progress

CR’s slick UK visit hides damaging EWC, race agenda – IRR

24 November 2022

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) is encouraged by the positive tone of the interactions between President Cyril Ramaphosa and British leaders over the course of this week’s visit.

The visit showed that South Africa retains significant goodwill abroad. The United Kingdom remains one of South Africa’s most significant trade and investment partners. Direct UK investment in South Africa amounted to some R609bn, with a further R898bn in non-direct investment. (SARB figures, as at the end of 2020.)

The UK accounted for a stunning 40% of all direct investment in South Africa. Meanwhile, we exported around R121bn worth of goods to the UK (a little over 7% of our total exports), and imported R28bn (2021 figures).

This relationship can and must be expanded with an eye on generating the growth and developmental progress that South Africa desperately needs. Indeed, the President used his visit to make an appeal for assistance in the country’s climate-related endeavours.

As important as this is, South Africa is undermining its own prospects by policies that discourage doing business in the country. Foremost here has been the policy drive for expropriation without compensation (EWC). The Expropriation Bill – which leading figures in the ruling party have identified as a mechanism to push the EWC agenda forward – awaits the President’s signature.

The IRR urges the President to decline to sign it. Strong property protections, as enshrined in the Constitution, are a key consideration for any investor, foreign or domestic.

Likewise, amendments to the Employment Equity Act – which would give the Minister of Employment and Labour the authority to set racial quotas on pain of crippling fines – cannot be anything other than a disincentive to doing business in South Africa.

The IRR urges the President to decline to sign this piece of legislation, which starkly contradicts the Constitution’s non-racial imperative, too.

The IRR cautions that if South Africa continues on its present course, it can expect little besides ever deepening poverty and unemployment and disappointed hopes.

The aftermath of a successful state visit is an ideal opportunity to change course.

Issued by Gabriel Crouse, IRR Head of Campaigns, 24 November 2022

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