REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR PULE MALEFANE AT THE UNITED BRANDS ASSOCIATION SEMINAR IN ISTANBUL
11 APRIL 2018
Chairperson of the Association
The retail and textile business community
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am honoured to stand here before you to interact and share significant information for your international business aspirations. I also would like to congratulate the Chairperson for organising this occasion and choosing South Africa as a partner country. Our country, South Africa is a major emerging economy both on the Continent and the world with huge potential in multiple areas of trade, cooperation and investment. Retail and textile business rank highly amongst them. I am very sure that through correct collaboration we will find a way of making sure that our partnership bears fruit worthy of praise from our common people.
Ours is a diversified economy that has survived the test of time. The global financial meltdown between 2007 and 2009, the recent strain on global commodity prices and recessions experienced the world over could not deter our economy from prospering. Of course, we as a country would like to see economic growth beyond 2 percent per annum. Currently our economy is growing at a rate of just over one percent per annum but the improvement is continuous.
I must share with you that our economy plays a significant role in the economies of the region and beyond. I am saying this, because I want to challenge you as business people from this country. I want to challenge you to consider expanding your businesses into South Africa. I also want to challenge your seriousness to be partners for growth, partners for development, partners for the advancement of the lives of our people more over partners for the economic integration of our two countries.
I am not here to tell you to come to South Africa to sell your products only because that we do not need. The reason I am here is to let you know that South Africa is open for business, trade and investment. We want serious businesses to come and invest in our country, to come and set up manufacturing plants in our country, to hire South Africans in their firms and to play a meaningful role in the development of our people and country.
You would have noticed when you did your research about South Africa before you came here today that our country has a vibrant retail and textile industry. This, by no mean, does not entail that we do not need investments in those areas; it only means that we need more competition in the sectors. We need competition not only in relation to distribution of Turkish made goods and service but competition in relation to onside manufacturing of high quality goods.
If you elect to invest in South Africa by setting up manufacturing firms you would be happy to know that you would automatically have access to 13 more countries with a maximum of 4 hours flight from South Africa. The moment your company starts to trade in those countries then it means that you would have a need to hire more of our people in your firms. The more you hire South Africans and register increased profit the more your company will benefit from our Government’s economic incentives, like reduced tax obligations.
The retail and textile industries in South Africa are organised and crucial; hence we need to find a balance between exports to South Africa and investing in South Africa. We strive to see more of “made-in-South Africa” goods produced in South Africa by South Africans.
More over South Africa has policies and legislation available to protect Foreign Investments while following one of the most developmental Constitutions in the world. We conform to good trade practices as prescribed by the WTO and other leading organisations and instruments. We remain an investment destination of choice and we also have sound fiscal policies, world class infrastructure and advanced communication platforms.
The trusted principles of good governance and democracy allow stakeholders including ratings agencies and international lenders to have full confidence that our economy is on an upward trajectory.
Joint cooperation exists between organised labour, government and business to up-skill the labour force and youth.
I encourage you to travel to South Africa to experience the investment opportunities that needs to be harnessed.
I can safely say to you that South Africa welcomes an increasing Turkey’s corporate foot print. As the Embassy we will support your investment in accordance with the law and we will also assist with facilitation to ensure that you meet the right people and organisations for a successful establishment of a meaningful investment to the people of South Africa.
This occasion, ladies and gentlemen, takes place in a significant month in the South African calendar. April is a month in which the new South Africa was born and a constitutional democracy began in 1994. It is a month, in 2018 that brings joy and sorrow at the same time. As we celebrate our Freedom Day on 27 April we are also morning the loss of a great South African Icon, Ms Winny Madikizela Mandela, the former wife of former President Nelson Mandela. She will be laid to rest on the 14th of April.
Let me not forget to invite you to join us in this beautiful city of Istanbul in the next two weeks as we will be hosting three Nelson Mandela Centenary Lectures in Universities across the city. We will also have another Trade and Investment seminar in collaboration with DEIK followed by our National Day Celebrations, culminating in a Golf event.
In conclusion let me borrow the words of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, when he said “Our great ideal is to raise our nation to the highest standard of civilisation and prosperity”. Please work with us as we try to do the same for our country.