Chamber conducts survey

Janine Myburgh, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry

More than 39 percent of businesses in the Western Cape believe that education is one of the three most critical issues affecting the socio-economic future of South Africa, according to a Cape Chamber of Commerce survey of its members.

But the survey also revealed strong negatives with government incompetence, government corruption, President Zuma, political leadership, restrictive labour laws and BEE legislation accounting for 37 percent of the responses.

Chamber members were responding to the question “What do you believe are the three most critical issues affecting the socio-economic future of South Africa?”

The survey was conducted before the Constitutional Court judgment and President Jacob Zuma’s apology, and the Chamber decided to ignore the last few responses, as they could have been affected by the dramatic change in the political climate. A point of great concern to members was the high unemployment rate, with many respondents relating the problem to the education system. One respondent put it this way:

“Lack of quality education both academic and practical job specific (education) make the unemployed youth virtually unemployable.”

Another respondent said: “Restrictive labour and BEE legislation making it difficult to employ and nurture young, unskilled and inexperienced employees.”

There were a number of scathing comments about government, such as, “the lack of leadership in government – a fish rots from its head”; and “the inability of government officials to implement signed-off and financed plans of action”.

Another respondent said there was a need for stable government.

“This government does not know what it is doing. The Western Cape is the only stable province.”

There were also constructive comments, such as the need to “unite South Africa as one nation as we still refer to each other as black and white and together build a better South Africa”.

Another positive suggestion was the need to “accept that it is more important to teach skills (apprenticeships for trades) than go to university for an academic qualification.

“Industry and colleges can make the difference as in Germany where 70 percent of children never go to university but rather learn a trade”.

There was also great concern about rising food prices and that this, combined with unemployment, could lead to more crime and unrest.