There is an important ‘missing link’ in South Africa’s development strategy, namely genuine trust and collaboration between the public and private sectors.
Provincial cities and small-to-medium towns are in a particularly difficult position. They are expected to play an important part in local government and decentralised economic growth plans while facing their own formidable versions of economic, political, and social adjustment.
If local communities are to enjoy self-sustaining, synergistic economic development, with widely shared positive outcomes, a change in the rules of the national game will be required.
National public and private sector leadership needs to collectively signal that the country can and should be able to develop a mutual understanding and trust across racial and public/private sector divides.
In the major metropolitan areas, growth can be carried forward by formal or informal agreements among business, labour, and government. A new local leadership approach, emphasising boldness and a shared language of growth, is what is now required.