Bidvest CEO Brian Joffe. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Bidvest CEO Brian Joffe. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

ONE of South Africa’s top businessmen, Bidvest CEO Brian Joffe, said on Monday that doing business in the country was being made more difficult than is necessary by the inability of companies, labour and the state to carry through policies and work together constructively.

He made the remarks in an interview with Business Day as the company released strong interim financial results. "We as South Africans often make things much harder than they need to be," Mr Joffe said.

"We have employers not listening to their employees properly and then employees demanding above inflation wage increases, which makes doing business very challenging. Government may have well-meaning policies, but its discussions with business are not leading to real benefits quick enough for the private sector and consumers."

His biggest gripe was unreasonable above-inflation wage increases, which he said made it "very difficult" to employ new people when businesses grew.

South Africa’s National Development Plan aims to cut the unemployment rate to 15% by 2020 from 24.9%. The growth of small businesses is seen as important to achieving this.

"I believe the job creation targets are achievable, but right now the lack of co-ordination between labour and business and the government is not helping," Mr Joffe said. "Large parts of the world are struggling economically and we must not let bad decisions derail us."