Statement By The Consumer Goods Council Of South Africa On The Just Ended Elections

05 June 2024

The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) welcomes the outcome of the recent general, provincial and regional elections as an expression of the democratic will of the people of South Africa. That the elections were held in a peaceful environment is testament to our maturing democracy which respects freedom of expression, choice and association.

Given that no single political party won enough seats to form a government on its own, we acknowledge that a negotiated approach is necessary to form a new government. The talks currently underway between the relevant political parties should be guided by national interests, protecting the Constitution and ensuring stability which is necessary for the country to begin to decisively address structural economic and social challenges, which have been exacerbated by a low growth cycle, infrastructural inefficiencies, unreliable energy supplies, high unemployment, inequality and poverty.

There is need for a firm commitment by the political parties participating in these negotiations to be guided by what is best for the country, and to set aside ideological and political differences. As we stated in our open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa in February 2023, the CGCSA and its members who include some of the most significant manufacturers, retailers of food and other essential products, as well as quick service restaurants and pharmaceuticals, takes our role seriously of supporting national objectives to grow the economy, create jobs and ensure food security and sustainability. This is a sector that, during the trying times of Covid-19, the 2021 unrests, the unprecedented rise in load shedding, the escalating inflation and cost of living, ensured that the consumer, our employees and supply chains were protected and insulated from devastation.

To continue doing this, we look forward to a government that not only acknowledges the role of our sector, but importantly listens, consults and acts decisively to ensure a conducive economic environment. We expect a government that understands that South Africa no longer has the runaway to talk about its problems, but that we face significant challenges which require bold, decisive leadership.

We therefore expect that the new government will work with our sector and the wider business community to accelerate plans to ensure energy security, implement additional structural reforms that support growth, address the deteriorating infrastructure, in particular roads and rail, work with us to fight illicit and counterfeit trade across the economy as it is reducing the tax base and is depriving government of crucial revenue at this critical time. There is a need for more effective strategies focusing on capacitating the law enforcement to fight corruption and crime, including gender based violence.

CGCSA is willing to continue to engage and collaborate with the government to provide and implement solutions that will further improve the investment climate and support growth. In this regard, among our members are companies whose CEOs were part of other 115 CEOs of leading companies who last year pledged to work on work-streams formed to partner with the government to address such issues as energy security, infrastructure, corruption and crime. We are therefore committed to further strengthening this partnership because it is only through such collaboration that we can move the country forward.