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Policy uncertainty in South Africa remains a major issue for investors, as President Ramaphosa is seeking an investment injection into SA of $100bn, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has warned.

This came as the Corporation presented its annual results, bringing a rare touch of exotic excitement to sleepy Bloemfontein, with an occasion sadly deflated by the absence of its overseeing Minister Ibrahim Patel, who was stuck in Cabinet discussions. 

IDC CEO Geoffrey Qhena said that the organisation is providing strategic and other support to the President’s investment drive.

“We play a number of roles,” he said.  “There is an administrative role.  We assist the (President’s investment-seeking) envoys.”

He noted that the IDS is also active in the development of a project pipeline, to bring in new capital investment.

“Policy uncertainty will have an impact on the pipeline,” he warned.  He was referring to uncertainty over land reform, over energy policy and regarding the mining charter.

“A ministerial committee has been formed to see what needs to be done.  Government is alive to this.  We are not minimising this impact,” he noted.

IDC chairman Busisiwe Mabuza agreed: “Regarding policy uncertainty, every time we interact with our colleagues in government, this is raised.  The risk is substantial.

“On issues as consequential as land and the mining charter, the government needs to balance prudence with speed.”

The results show the IDC is getting more efficient at creating jobs.

The state-owned funding institution announced that in the year to March, it had boosted its approval for transactions by 9% to R16.7bn.   However there was a far larger jump in the number of jobs preserved or created - up 43% to almost 30 000.

Even higher was the jump in support for Black Industrialists, rising by 67% to R7.9bn.  The IDC is one of the main backers of Black Industrialist, who also receive dti support as well as assistance from other development funding agencies.

When challenged, Qhena admitted that with many millions of unemployed, the IDC’s contribution is not making a massive impact on job creation.

The IDC disclosed that it is still engaged in court action to recover cash which was used to fund one of the Gupta firms - Oakbay.

The IDC results were overshadowed by big write-offs of two subsidiaries - Scaw Metals amd Foskor Fertilisers.

However, IDC bosses insisted that this was inevitable, as the Corporation tends to invest in riskier ventures than those which are supported by traditional banks.

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