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Business must lobby ANC - Nkosi

By Mpho Sibanyoni Business Reporter | 2012-12-14 09:17:17.0

Sipho Nkosi, South Africa's richest black chief executive, says there is still room for improvement on how the business community lobbied the ruling ANC.

Nkosi said this after 33 business leaders called in weekend newspapers for more engagement with the state and civil society ahead of the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung, which starts on Sunday.

The leaders also called for commitment from business to the National Development Plan's goals.

"It is not unusual in any country for business to stand up and say what they want.

"Business in the US, UK and the world over do that," Nkosi said yesterday.

Nkosi, who has invested R2-billion in JSE-listed Exxaro, according to Who Owns Whom's rich list, said business needed to be more visible at ANC branch level with an aim to influence the decision-making process.

One way of getting the attention of ANC branch members was for business to communicate plans about projects that were going to be rolled out, he said.

"It is important that the business community does not limit its visibility only at national level because branch members are the people who ultimately vote on policy proposals," he said.

He said the business community needed time to grow to be more advanced in lobbying the ANC.

"The lobbying and mechanism machinery in SA is not as strong as we have in the US, for example," Nkosi said.

"If it could be that advanced, we would be able to access ANC members at branch level and start talking to them."

He said the ANC was an all-embracing organisation and there was nothing wrong with the business community lobbying the party.

Nkosi said he did not have any issue with the state getting into mining to compete with the private sector aggressively.

"We will only have concerns if the parastatal is treated differently to private businesses," he said.

He said he was heading to Mangaung to be closer to what is going on and to understand where the economy of the country was going.

"I hope when the conference is concluded, there will be clarity and consistency in so far as the policy and vision of the entire country is concerned," he said.

"I also hope we will see more convergence between the National Development Plan and policies developed by government."

Nkosi said he had not scheduled a meeting in Mangaung with any of the top government officials.

"The occasion would provide a perfect opportunity for me to bump into many ministers for a chat," he said.

"There may be issues affecting the mining industry and Exxaro that I may need to bounce on Mining Minister Susan Shabangu."