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The South African Government is accelerating its efforts to clear bureaucratic red tape that continues to hamper investment prospects, in its bid to attract more economic development to bolster the country’s growth.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement on Friday during a visit to KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

“If we really want economic development, we must cut out [red tape]. We must make sure that things happen,” said the President, adding he’s aware of a “lackadaisical tendency” to documents, and that they’re not always being processed quickly by the relevant channels in the government.

“We must make sure that things happen… because it quite often discourages investors… and they walk away. I don’t want anyone to stay in my way of getting investors to stay here.”

The President said the SA government would soon be ensuring it cuts down on “unnecessary bureaucratic clutter”.

The President’s visit to KZN was focused on the development of the Eastern Seaboard – a 600km stretch between KZN and the Eastern Cape. The development spans four districts and 17 municipalities between eThekwini and Buffalo City metros.

The South African government is on a mission to encourage investment in the region by packaging existing infrastructure project portfolios, and presenting a critical project pipeline with the detail needed by investors to make informed investment decisions.

“Through the DDM (District Development Model), we will ensure that there is better alignment of government structures to facilitate the planning and the issuing of permits and various other approvals that are required. We are going to make sure that that there is ease not only of doing business, but that there is ease of implementing this project,” said the president.

He added that this would not be achieved by cutting corners or sacrificing safety and quality. “We will do so by ensuring that the timeframes are adhered to.”

What will be cut down on substantially is a tendency in the government, he said, to elongate the approval process.

SA’s recovery depends on projects like the Eastern Seaboard Development, said Ramaphosa, which will “shine a torch of investment” on four districts which are some of the poorest in the country, with a lack of investment.

He said the vision is to strengthen economic linkages between the country’s provinces through mutually beneficial development.

“This development aims to harness the potential of the vast natural endowments of the two provinces of our country, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal,” he said, adding that the provinces were rich in a coastline teeming with marine resources of enormous proportions.

“Our fauna and flora places us as one of the top five most biodiverse countries in the world,” said Ramaphosa.

With the natural endowment located in the four districts, it presented great growth opportunities in the oceans economy, tourism, agriculture, mining, oil and gas, technology, and many other spheres.

The president said the natural environment had the potential to revitalise local economies, create jobs and sustain livelihoods. To translate the vision for the Eastern Seaboard development into reality, cooperation between the public and private sectors to mobilize investment for catalytic and the “big ticket transformative projects” was needed.

He said while investors would provide the investment, the SA government would create the conducive environment and conditions for this investment to take place. –