The oldest black business organisation, the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc), has come out against former foreign affairs director-general and AngloGold Ashanti chairperson Sipho Pityana’s call to boycott foreign trade trips organised by Jacob Zuma and for the president to step down.
The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci), however, reacting to Pityana’s statements, says it is concerned about Zuma’s behaviour, which it says impacts on investor confidence.
Nafcoc president Lawrence Mavundla said Nafcoc’s long-standing policy has been to work with the government of the day and it would therefore support Zuma.
“We have a wonderful constitution that affords us an opportunity to elect a governing party that gives us a president. Let’s see President Zuma’s term of office go through, because if we use other measures besides the constitutional one to remove him, we say we have no democratic constitution,” Mavundla added.
He said that, as black business and small business, they were in a different situation to white-dominated big business.
“We can’t boycott these overseas travels with the president because we value them as an opportunity to grow as black business. If AngloGold Ashanti can afford to boycott, we as black business can’t afford that luxury,” Mavundla said.
He said even if the country had a bad president, Nafcoc would support that person if they had been elected constitutionally.
Sacci president Vusi Khumalo said they were concerned about investor confidence in the light of current political tensions. Khumalo said while Pityana’s statement had been widely acknowledged, he did not necessarily represent business at large.
“He has his independence and his constituency.
But as he is not our member, we cannot associate ourselves with him. At the same, the president must act in a way to ensure investor confidence is maintained,” Khumalo said. “We want to attract as much investment as possible. The confidence index at the moment is not taking the right direction,” he added.