Unleash the life-saving ingenuity of the private sector – IRR

Institute praises innovative initiative by Toyota to transform HiAce into a Covid-19 ambulance

Open the economy, unleash the life-saving ingenuity of the private sector – IRR

11 May 2020

The IRR notes the innovative initiative by Toyota to transform their HiAce, widely associated with the South African taxi industry, into an ambulance suitable for carrying Covid-19 patients. The vehicle is targeted at the emergency medical service – a sector in great need of support during this global pandemic.

This goes to affirm the vital role the private sector plays, demonstrating its capacity for innovation in creating new products and services to assist in times of need. Toyota – along with many other businesses in South Africa – have answered President Ramaphosa’s call for a concerted national effort to protect lives and livelihoods. The efforts of these businesses show that South Africa has much more to gain from encouraging the private sector to exercise its ingenuity and skills than from being compelled to rely on the government’s trying to find the answers to all of society’s problems.

In several policy proposals and publications, notably Friends In Need – Covid-19: How South Africa Can Save #LivesAndLivelihoods, the IRR has emphasised the role the private sector must play for South Africa to face the challenges of Covid-19 and its fallout most effectively.

For this to be successful, and for lives and jobs to be protected, government must set aside its ideological hostility to the private sector, especially small, micro, and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs), and allow businesses to serve their communities and the country.

The government must open the economy to unleash the dynamism and life-saving ingenuity of the private sector.

Issued by Hermann Pretorius, IRR Deputy Head of Policy Research, 11 May 2020