DEVELOPMENT: War On Red Tape Welcomed
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THE Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the war on red tape which was declared last week by the Western Cape’s new Premier, Helen Zille.
In her State of the Province speech, she promised a clean-out of outdated legislation which constrained local government, delayed decisions and held up investments which would build up the economy and create jobs.
Mr Jeremy Wiley, President of the Chamber, said the Premier’s promise should be seen against the background of a national study of the red tape problem in 2005 which concluded that it cost business R79 billion a year and consumed 6.5 percent of GDP. “This is a huge wastage of resources and we simply cannot afford it, especially in these times of economic hardship.”
Much of the red tape could be found at municipal and provincial levels. “It is important to understand that it is at this level that investments in new or expanded industries are made. One cannot build a factory or an office without planning permission and that means dealing with a tangle of municipal and provincial legislation. There are overlaps and duplications that serve no real purpose. All they do is consume resources in both the public and private sectors while they complicate and delay decisions,” Mr Wiley said.
A more streamlined approach to planning would make it easier for officials to make clear-cut recommendations and that would lead to better and more timely decisions.
He said indecision and delay did more to discourage investors than almost anything else. Officials were often unaware of the huge costs associated with protracted decision-making. On the other hand, they were sometimes in a hopeless position where they had to weigh up the conflicting requirements of different regulations in the face of threatened court action.
What business wanted was good decisions made in a reasonable time frame. “A good tidy up of the legislation will be a great help and it will lead to a more practical and successful approach to investment and job creation,” Mr Wiley said.
The Chamber welcomed the Premier’s commitment to “going back to basics, applying the principles of good management and best practices ….so that we can do the right things within budget and on time.”
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