'Govt needs bilateral talks with business for social compact to be implemented'

© kagenmi/123rf.com

| Bruce Whitfield talks to Business Unity SA's Cas Coovadia about the social compact President Cyril Ramaphosa proposed in February

"We gave ourselves 100 days to implement a comprehensive social compact to create jobs as well as fight hunger and no one must be left behind."

That was President Cyril Ramaphosa during his Sona address way back in February, discussing the social compact needed to address unemployment, poverty and inequality in the country.

RELATED: Ramaphosa details plans to fight corruption, create jobs, end state of disaster

Ramphosa emphasized the role of the private sector specifically in creating jobs.

Now Business Unity SA (Busa) is in official talks about having bilateral talks with government. It says this would be more effective in addressing the stumbling block of actual implementation of interventions.

South Africa has had social compacts before which did not deliver much success notes Busa CEO Cas Coovadia on The Money Show.

"... while multilateral discussions around having social compacts are useful at times, we believe that should not be to the exclusion of substantive bilaterals between government and social partners."

The key, reiterates Coovadia, is implementation.

Certainly, as business we believe that if we really want to get down to implementation and not just keep on talking about policy and plans, we believe that bilaterals between business and government would actually begin to focus on that, and we can put resources and capacity together, to do that.

Cas Coovadia, CEO - Business Unity South Africa

Coovadia emphasizes that Busa is not saying government should limit discussions to business, but that it should lead.

They will obviously have bilaterals with labour, bilaterals with community and if they then feel there are issues that social partners need to get together with on multilateral, they bring us together...

Cas Coovadia, CEO - Business Unity South Africa

...to discuss those issues, instead of open-ended multilateral wheelspin... If we reach agreement on those issues it's great; if we don't... government needs to take the different views into account and take a decision.

Cas Coovadia, CEO - Business Unity South Africa

The views expressed during this process will inevitably be wide-ranging and government should not be trying to reach consensus on everything, Coovadia says.

"We've got to... say, we will give so much time for consultation and after the consultation is over, we will make a call."

We've elected a government... It has certain responsibilities and it should fulfill those responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to take decisions that need to be taken when social partners don't agree on things. We can't keep on saying 'ok, we don't agree, so let's have another session, and another session...'.

Cas Coovadia, CEO - Business Unity South Africa

Listen to Coovadia's argument in the audio below:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'Govt needs bilateral talks with business for social compact to be implemented'

More in Multimedia