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.