President Cyril Ramaphosa has dismissed critics who say the South Africa Investment Conference is a “talk shop.”
In his opening address at the South Africa Investment Conference 2019 on Wednesday in Sandton, Ramaphosa said pledges made in 2018 have been translated to tangible projects.
He said, “We do this not as a gimmick. We do this after close and deep collaboration with various companies.”
‘This is serious business’
Ramaphosa added, “For those who doubted, right at the onset – and many people were very critical, dismissing this whole effort that you’re all involved in and saying, ‘This is just a talk shop.’
“And I’d like to say to them – this is no talk shop. This is serious business. We are involved in serious business.”
The President applauded companies that made commitments at last year’s event for living up to those commitments.
“Ahead of this conference, people were asking whether we will be able to show any progress – and the answer is yes, we are able to show great progress,” he said.
R238 billion invested from 2018 commitments
Ramaphosa said of the 31 projects pledged at the SA Investment Conference last year, eight have been fully operationalised in the form of new factories and facilities.
17 projects are “in construction or at implementation stage.” In total, these 25 projects represent around R238 billion of the nearly R300 billion pledged, he said.
The president said the remaining projects are still going through “regulatory framework” processes.
“And in many ways it is gratifying to see commitments made at this conference last year materialising in the form of new factories, new facilities, new production lines, new products as well as new services, but more importantly for us in South Africa, the new jobs that were created,” he said.
More than 1,000 delegates from South Africa and dozens of other countries are attending the three-day conference.
Ramaphosa aims to raise R1.2 trillion in new investments over five years to help grow the economy and create new jobs.