Policy uncertainty is affecting investor confidence in the country, farmer union Agri SA president Johannes Möller said on Tuesday.
“It is important to guard against South Africa being seen as a risky, unstable and uncompetitive economy by investors,” he said in a statement.
“A visible lack of consensus on economic and social policy is undermining the feasibility of the National Development Plan and confidence in the country as an investment destination.”
Möller said that in light of the decline of the rand last week, the country’s economy paid a “high price” for uncertainty and its handling of problems in the labour market.
“The negative sentiment extends further than mere concern about wage demands and violent unrest,” he said.
“It is exacerbated by sharp increases in administered prices, such as those of electricity and fuel; unhappiness with and mass action due to poor service delivery; and, alarming statements regarding property-related issues.”
He said parliamentary debates on budget votes served as guidelines that local and foreign investors responded to.
Möller said Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s budget speech was “moderate”, and her support for farmworker organisations could contribute to further unrest in the industry.
He said Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti’s budget speech ended on a “low note”.
Nkwinti said on Friday it was an “honour” to have South Africa’s land reform process compared to what had happened in Zimbabwe.
Möller said he hoped Nkwinti’s comments on land reform were made “in the heat of the debate”.
“However, the potential damage that remarks of this nature can cause should not be underestimated.”
Government had developed good policy documents, which would result in a better society if implemented effectively.
“The National Development Plan is a good example of this, which should be used more consistently by all role-players,” he said. – Sapa