The ease of doing business in SA has fallen to its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2010‚ a South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) policy assessment survey released on Wednesday showed.

Sacci’s Peggy Droskie said that taxes‚ negative perceptions of proposed labour law amendments‚ bureaucracy and service delivery contributed to the decline.

The ease of doing business is among six key policy areas the survey looks at to gauge business sentiment on government policies.

It fell to 2.8 in the second quarter from 2.9 in the first quarter of 2012. A score of 10 represents a high level of business sentiment and a score of zero suggests low sentiment levels.

About 200 businesses participated in the survey‚ which looked at other key areas such as crime and security‚ environment‚ labour‚ infrastructure and ICT.

Businesses were concerned that the proposed amendments to current labour laws could make it more difficult for them to dismiss nonperforming staff‚ and even prevent them from hiring more workers‚ Droskie said.

The crime and security score fell from 4.1 in the first quarter to 3.4 in the second quarter‚ while environment fell from 4 to 3.3 in the second quarter.

Infrastructure was the only component that increased‚ rising to 3.9 in the second quarter from 3.5‚ mainly on the government’s multibillion-rand infrastructure spending plans.

Sacci said the worsened sentiment of business owners and employers should serve as a message to the government that a business-friendly regulatory environment is imperative to encouraging greater levels of economic activity. - I-Net Bridge