Manuel: Visa requirements, work permits key concerns for investors

Former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel was speaking on the sidelines of the investor conference at the Sandton Convention Centre.

FILE: Trevor Manuel delivering the keynote address at the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Trust Public Lecture hosted by the University of the Western Cape on 16 May 2018. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel says visa requirements and work permits are some of the key concerns raised by investors during visits by investor envoys.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the investor conference at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Manual is part of the team appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to boost South Africa's economy by collecting $100 billion in investment.

Manuel says Home Affairs issues threaten the potential of an economically united Africa.

“I’ve talked to countries who say they like South Africa and their staff likes South Africa, and they want to establish an African regional headquarters in South Africa. The infrastructure to do this is very good. But if you want an African regional headquarters, then you can’t just employ South Africans.”

He says South Africa needs allow for skills to enter the continent.

“We need to allow for skills to come in from elsewhere and beyond the continent, so that these people can collaborate.”

Manuel says the envoys have allowed for engagement with world leaders that have yielded pledges of R400 billion.


Economist Iraj Abedian says the investments pledges into South Africa is an indication that investors are taking the new government serious.

Abedian says government should find ways to keep investors interested.

“For these commitments to become a reality they require energy, water and our infrastructure. These commitments indicate that money is not the issue. The issue is to get the economy fit for investment.”


On Friday, president Ramaphosa announced a combined amount of R290 billion in investment in South Africa.

Speaking at the Sandton Convention Centre on Friday afternoon, the President told delegates at the Investment Conference that the country is witnessing a new narrative.

He says case studies that have been presented affirm that South Africa presents great economic opportunities across sectors of the economy.

An additional R159 billion in investments has been announced at the investment summit.

Food, energy, automobile, and banking have all featured in the second round of announcements in the afternoon.

Ramaphosa says in addition to the R290 billion invested on Friday, pledges amounting to R400 billion have also been made.

“Our envoys, ministers, and myself have been going around the world. And in the course of these journeys, we have received pledges that we are going to follow up, and many of these amount to R400 billion.”

Some of the organisations that have committed to investing include the new Brics Development Bank, which has promised to triple its current contribution to R29 billion next year.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)