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UKZN Elections and the Business Sector – What Next for SA?



UKZN Elections and the Business Sector - What Next for SA?

UKZN Elections and the Business Sector – What Next for SA?. KwaZulu-Natal business leaders and academics weighed in on issues affecting local and national business sectors ahead of – and after – the 2024 elections at a breakfast meeting in Durban.

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Strategic Community Engagement

The gathering was part of UKZN’s strategic goal of mutual community engagement, embedded in the College of Law and Management Studies’ strategic plan. This event was among many activities by the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) aimed at producing well-informed graduates through the involvement of practitioners and experts in business management and leadership.

The 2024 General Elections: Business Impact

Themed “The 2024 General Elections in South Africa – Its Impact on Business: Where Are We Going?” the discussion focused on what the government would do differently this time to meet business sector expectations. Professor Purshottama Reddy, a public governance expert at the GSB&L, facilitated the debate, emphasizing the elections’ significance as watershed moments for the country.

Expert Panel Insights

The panel included:

  • Mr. Zakhele Ndlovu: Political science lecturer at UKZN and independent political analyst.
  • Mr. Neville Matjie: Advisor to the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal and former CEO of Trade and Investment, KZN.
  • Ms. Melanie Veness: CEO of the Pietermaritzburg and Midlands Chamber of Business.
  • Mr. Ebrahim Patel: Founder and former president of the Minara Chamber of Commerce.

Key Discussions and Reflections

Acting Dean and Head of UKZN’s GSB&L, Professor Collette Muller, welcomed participants, highlighting the importance of collaboration between policymakers and business leaders to foster sustainable economic growth and job creation.

Assurance and Accountability

Ndlovu stressed the need for businesses to receive assurance from the government, citing the lingering effects of the 2021 looting. He urged the business sector to hold the government accountable for the current state of the country.

Adaptation and Policy Influence

Matjie discussed the potential for significant change following the elections and urged businesses to be ready to adapt and influence new policy developments.

Support for SMMEs and Combatting Corruption

Veness called for a safer investment environment and more support for Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), highlighting the need to root out corruption as a major issue affecting the country.

Infrastructure and Economic Stability

Patel pointed out positive economic indicators, despite challenges, and called for improvements in the railway and public transport systems to support business growth.


The speakers collectively emphasized the need for swift intervention in addressing lawlessness, crime, and corruption to ensure a thriving South African business sector. The discussions highlighted the critical role of the upcoming elections in shaping the future of the business landscape in South Africa.

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