While SA strikes, investors opt for greener pastures: iLIVE
An open letter to Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies:
I WAS in the UK on business in August, at about the same time you were there.
I met up with a South African friend who left the country about five years ago.
He has since become a successful shoe manufacturer and wants to set up a factory in the southern hemisphere.
I asked him if he would consider investing in South Africa.
He responded that South African workers have to be trained, fed and housed, and paid unsustainably high wages.
In South Africa, an investor must meet quotas for black economic empowerment.
After that, the unions come into your company and turn the workers against management, he said.
The staff then go on strike for even more remuneration, and if you don't immediately bow to their demands, they do their best to close down the company, with no thought that they, and all their colleagues, will then be out of work.
"No, Eddie, I wouldn't come back to the continent of Africa if you paid me," my friend said.
I recall that when you, Mr Davies, returned from your trip to the UK, you said all the strikes had not tarnished South Africa's image.
I beg to differ, and feel that the above could well be a standard response from most employers and investors there.
My friend has invested in Western Australia, and is building a factory in Fremantle, just south of Perth.
I mentioned that the strong Australian currency might be a challenge to operating costs, but he said this would correct itself within the next 24 months, after which he could look forward to new markets for his top-quality product.