Address by President Zuma on the occasion of the Invest South Africa One Stop Shop launch, Pretoria
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies,
Ministers, deputy ministers,
Members of the diplomatic corps,
Good Morning to you all!
I am happy to join you all today on this momentous occasion, the launch of Governments National Invest South Africa One Stop Shop for investors.
The South Africa Government is determined to improve the business environment by lowering the cost of doing business and improving the ease of doing business. We are aware that it is imperative to maintain or improve in these areas in order to have a sustainable and competitive economy.
Our government has thus taken a firm decision to make South Africa more investor friendly.
We are doing this because foreign direct investment is critical to assist us to meet our National Development Plan economic growth objectives of growing the economy and to create much-needed jobs.
I first announced our intention to establish the InvestSA approach and the One Stop Shop investor facilitation concept in August 2015 during the meeting of the Presidential Business Working Group. Work began then towards the establishment of the critical service.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, created a division here at the dti to focus on investment promotion, facilitation and aftercare. The process of establishing the Invest SA One Stop Shops then began. Today, we are ready to launch this service. Three Provincial One Stops will also be launched this year in KZN, Gauteng and Western Cape.
These will be known as InvestSA KZN, InvestSA Gauteng and InvestSA Western Cape and so forth as we roll our new Invest SA brand.
Other Provinces will open their One Stop Shops over a period of three years supporting also the Special Economic Zones programme.
We undertook this action as we have been listening attentively to comments from businesspeople on what government should do to make it easy to set up a business in South Africa for investors.
Businesspeople have outlined the difficulties and hassles they face when wanting to establish new businesses, both local and foreign investors. The bureaucratic red tape has been stifling the growth of business.
Businesspeople have had to visit many departments to obtain various licences. They have had to go to different offices for water, electricity and immigration services such as visas.
We realised that we will not make headway with regards to investments unless we do something to make it easier to do business.
The InvestSA One Stop Shops will be the focal point of contact in government for all investors to coordinate and facilitate with the relevant government departments involved in regulatory, registration, permits and licensing. Officials at the One Stop shop will ensure that we drastically reduce the red tape.
We have directed officials to keep the service simple and short. An investor will make an appointment, meet with a government representative to explain the services required and be guided by the representative. The One Stop Shop will provide a more coordinated, streamlined and professional service to those who wish to set up a business.
All these services will be available under the same roof.
Key departments such as Home Affairs, Labour, Environmental Affairs, Trade and Industry and agencies such as the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, SA Revenue Service and Eskom amongst others will be available at the One Stop Shop.
This is a significant milestone and achievement in Government and how we are able to provide a quality service to the private sector.
Beyond the One Stop Shops, Government has also made progress in making it easier to start a new business. The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), has rolled out self-service terminals in banks, local economic development agencies and chambers of commerce office for company registrations. By June this year self-service terminals will be rolled out to all provinces. These will be accessible to small businesses in rural areas.
Further good news is that through automation, company registrations for local South African citizens can now be registered within a day, which was previously five to seven days.
Foreign registrations will now be fast tracked, improving turnaround times through a dedicated channel by the CIPC located at the InvestSA One Stop Shop. The above is based on fully completed applications.
The Department of Home Affairs has also partnered with banks for the roll out of Smart IDs and Passports with a turnaround time of five working days.
The Department of Home Affairs is also working with the DTI to ensure that business persons and investors benefit from an accelerated, purpose orientated visa and permit application process.
We are doing all this to make life easier for business and also for our citizens.
As part of continuous improvement, InvestSA will coordinate inter-governmentally with the World Bank on a reform memo over a period of 3 to 5 years to improve South Africa’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings.
We want to be reviewed by the World Bank and we are convinced that our rankings will improve considerably.
The success of the One Stop Shop will depend on all stakeholders at the three spheres of Government supporting this initiative and improving turnaround times.
It will also depend on good supervision and monitoring of the service.
Ministers, MECs and DGs are to ensure full implementation and support of this Government priority and One Stop Shop approach. They will ensure that the services provided by their departments are available at the One Stop Shop and without massive bureaucratic delays.
South Africa is an attractive destination and Government is further committed to improving the investment climate and ease of doing business.
I urge the investment community to make use of these services and look forward to the roll out of One Stop Shops in all Provinces.
It is through collaboration and alignment of action that we can add to this spirit of progress outlined in the NDP.
I would like to assure the business community that we take investment promotion so seriously.
Last year I established an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Investment comprising 18 Cabinet Ministers to promote a friendly and hassle-free investment climate in the country.
The Committee is chaired by the President.
Most members are Ministers whose portfolios require them to provide licences or other services from investors. In all our meetings we will evaluate the performance of the One Stop Shops. We will therefore rely on feedback from the users of the centres and services.
We meet regularly with business now through the CEO Initiative and the business working groups.
We congratulate all who have made the establishment of the centre possible.
Let us unlock the economic growth potential of our country by making it easier to do business in South Africa.
It is my pleasure to declare the InvestSA One Stop Shop initiative officially open.
South Africa is open for business!
I thank you.