Reform implementation

Media Statement: Operation Vulindlela Conference

JUNE 2024

The Presidency and National Treasury, in collaboration with the Southern Africa Towards Inclusive
Economic Development (SA-TIED) programme, hosted a successful two-day conference on Operation Vulindlela (OV) from 25 to 26 June. The conference, held under the theme: "Building Momentum of Reform: Towards the Next Phase of Operation Vulindlela," was aimed at taking stock on progress made in the implementation of structural reforms over the past few years and charting the way forward for the next five years.The conference was attended by senior government officials, as well as key representatives from the private sector, business, academia, and civil society.

Speakers and panelists from different industries commended the work done by OV since inception. OV is a delivery unit established in 2020 between the Presidency and National Treasury to assist departments as implementing agents to accelerate the implementation of structural reforms to grow the economy.The conference took attendees through the progress and challenges experienced by OV inaccelerating economic reform. Some of the progress made by departments includes: opening up the energy sector to the private sector and restructuring Eskom; auctioning spectrum to lower data costs and increase access; amendments to the visa regime to make it easier for skilled workers and tourists to enter South Africa; shortening the time it takes to issue water use licenses from 300 to 90 days; and opening up the logistics sector to more participants.

Presidency Project Management Office Head, Rudi Dicks, said OV as an initiative would not have been successful in the absence of political will. “President Ramaphosa played an active and interventionist role. He has been at the forefront of supporting the reforms.” Dicks also added that structural reforms should remain one of the main focus areas to grow the economy for the 7th administration. There were also case studies of reforms in the energy sector; telecommunications sector; water use licenses; as well as opening access to the rail network, among others.

In closing, National Treasury acting Director-General, Mmakgoshi Lekhethe, said that OV reforms and policy consistency should be succinctly communicated to reassure stakeholders such as investors and rating agencies. “Investors vote with their money, so policy consistency must be ensured.” Water and Sanitation Director-General, Dr Sean Phillips, said that a delivery unit such as OV should not have too many focus areas. “The more issues you focus on, the less likely you are to achieve success in any of them. The key challenge for OV for Phase II is to prioritise and identify a key set of areas to address.”Delegates concluded the conference with a commitment to support the reform agenda and foster an economy that not only creates jobs, but also promotes economic inclusivity which is crucial for meeting the 2030 National Development Plan targets.

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JOINTLY ISSUED by National Treasury, SA-TIED and the Presidency
DATE: 27 June 2024