ECONOMY: Business Meets The Cape Cabinet
Recent Western Cape Business News
THE overwhelming impression left by the annual Business meets the Cape Cabinet symposium held recently was that the Provincial Government has become business friendly and that Provincial support for business to achieve economic growth can be counted on, says the Cape Chamber of Commerce.
Premier Helen Zille said their policy was to provide the infrastructure and she was counting on business to provide the growth and the jobs that come with it. Her job was to create the opportunities for the private sector.
It also became clear that she shares the frustrations of business with bureaucracy and unnecessary red tape and understood that some officials were negative when they should be enabling. Very often the problems lay in the legislation and very cautious interpretations of the requirements by officials and their legal advisors.
She said it had been very much easier to build the Cape Town Stadium than a low cost housing project because of red tape.
Requirements for Environmental Impact Assessments were an important part of the problem and in some cases the requirements became absurd. As an example she pointed to the EIA required to extend an existing sewage works when it was perfectly obvious that there would be far greater environmental damage if the works were not extended and the environment had to absorb an overflow.
Sometimes the validity of an EIA expired when there were other bureaucratic delays and had to be repeated before a project could go ahead.
Another problem was requirements for several rounds of public participation and projects were sometimes held up for months on the basis of quite frivolous objections.
She had already taken up the “red tape” problem with President Zuma and has promised to tidy up provincial legislation to minimise the problem.
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