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img 9711The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Nomalungelo Gina viewing products of some small business traders who attended the ZCCI SMME Seminar and Exhibition in Richards Bay. 

The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Ms Nomalungelo Gina, has urged local communities and business owners to recognise how attacks targeted at small business operators from other countries will hinder efforts of growing the South African economy.

 

She was addressing delegates at the Annual SMME (Small and Medium and Micro-Sized Enterprises) Seminar and Exhibition of the Zululand Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZCCI) in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal.  Gina said at the core of the recent incidents of violence, is a scramble for scarce resources and an effect of unemployment rather than xenophobia. She however, warned that it was critical to note that the violence would curtail trade and economic opportunities for South Africa with the continent and the world.

 

“We depend on exports and imports with other countries to grow our economy.  We will not succeed if we fight people from the rest of the continent. Violence has a knock-on effect on brand South Africa and will limit our economic opportunities in the long run,” said Gina.

 

Gina also said that as a nation contending with high levels of unemployment, the growth of the SMME was a critical vehicle to job creation.  She urged the local operators to explore investment opportunities that come with the presence of the Richard’s Bay Industrial Development Zone.

 

She emphasised government’s commitment to creating a conducive environment for the growth of the SMME sector.

 

“Many countries in Europe have succeeded in creating and maintaining jobs, growing their economies and social stability through nurturing SMMEs. It can only be through synergies within small businesses and sub-contracting opportunities with big corporates that growth can be achieved,” she said.

 

The seminar was organised by the ZCCI to empower SMME operators with information, support and training to ensure they thrive and grow their businesses.  The chamber says they have observed that there was a lot of small businesses in the area that start up well but eventually fail by the wayside and the chamber is committed to changing this trend through appropriate interventions. 

 

The ZCCI services three districts in Northern KwaZulu-Natal namely; King Cetshwayo, uMkhanyakude and Zululand Districts and its mandate is to capacitate and empower SMMEs in the three districts.

 

The District Deputy Mayor of the King Cetshwayo Local District Municipality, Councillor Lindokuhle Phungula said they were working to ensure full implementation of the country’s local procurement policies to ensure women, the youth and people with disabilities do not miss out on economic opportunities.

 

“Our focal areas of support to businesses include training of SMMEs to ensure job creation in the manufacturing and the green economy sectors.  We also have a Black Industrialists Programme where artisans have been trained to equip them for growth in the manufacturing sector,” he said. 

DM Majola

The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Fikile Majola says government needs to explore the idea of establishing markets for small business operators to trade their goods and products in South African townships, to revive the failing economy.  

Majola was speaking to young entrepreneurs at a seminar in Krugersdorp today.  The seminar brought young entrepreneurs in conversation with government and support agency officials, and other critical specialists, to engage on a range of issues and challenges affecting their ventures.  The gathering was conceived and organised by young entrepreneurship students from the Tshwane University of Technology.

The purpose of the event was to create a platform to sharpen entrepreneurial skills among the youth, and to unpack opportunities and the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) on industries, business, government and communities. The major technological advances taking place globally require business models which can cope with the growing complexity of systems based on digital Information and Communication Technologies.

Majola said the growth of big supermarkets has contributed a great deal to the demise of the township economy, and government needs to consider providing infrastructure for African style markets, that will enable businesses in townships to thrive once more.  

“We need to use the model of Soweto’s Vilakazi Street and replicate it across many townships.  Government needs to consider seriously providing infrastructure for such trading markets so that people who have business ideas can have space from which to promote and sell their products. This will contribute positively in the task of rebuilding the township economy,” he added.   

Majola also said that it was important for young people in business who are passionate about creating jobs to be given all the support necessary, so that they could contribute to dealing with the country’s unemployment crisis.

Other key partners who participated in the seminar included business and 4IR experts, Mogale City Municipality, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Gauteng government and Development Finance Institutions such as the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa). 

Speaking on the 4th Industrial Revolution, Standard Bank’s Mr Lebohang Ahutu urged the entrepreneurs to recognise the importance of the new era, that revolutions come not to hurt industries and people, but to enhance and better people’s lives. He said the 4IR brings along a demand for new skills, jobs and new business opportunities. 

“As you will know, robots cannot make people, it is people who make robots and it is people who will have to control and fix them when they break.  Gone are the days when you need to be computer literate to stand a chance at securing a good job.  The future of work and business will also require an individuals to be information literate.  So now in the competitive world of work you will also have to have the ability to read data from sources, be able to interrogate and analyse that data to assist organisations in making critical decisions,” he added. 

In the discussions, the delegates raised a number of challenges they face in running their businesses which included lack of space and premises to operate their businesses, lack of access to critical information on government support programmes and availability of funds that enable them to thrive in their ventures.  They also raised a lot of frustration with the administration processes and red tape which they said limits their ability to grow and thrive in business.

Ms Joy Maimela from the National Youth Development Agency also urged the entrepreneurs to ensure they adapt to advances in technology to lessen the hurdles in accessing critical services from the variety of institutions.  However, she cautioned that while the emergence of the 4IR was inevitable and young people need to prepare and acquire the necessary skills, it is still critical to ensure that jobs are secured and retrenchments are avoided as much as possible

She emphasised: “At a time when we are faced with an unemployment crisis in the country, the private sector should take the necessary care to avert job losses where possible.” 

The Mayor of Mogale City, Councillor Patrick Lipudi committed the municipality to exploring different ways in which they can avail sites and land where entrepreneurs can trade. 

seminar final poster

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Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Ebrahim Patel delivering the Budget Vote Speech 2019/2020 in the National Council of Provinces.  He announced that the process of merging the Economic Development and the dti has begun, and will be completed in March next year, to form the Department of Trade Industry and Competition. The new department will come into effect officially on 1 April 2020.

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