Small Business Development Minister reiterates Radical Economic Empowerment approach

14717383477_2b770f4dc6_zMinister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu has reiterated and reaffirmed statements made by senior government leaders who spoke to the fact that change must happen in the economic landscape of South Africa. This she mentioned during the State of the Nation Address debate where her focus area was actualization of the 30% set-aside of government spending for black business and SMMEs. “The ownership of the means of production must change, the patterns of ownership must change, land must be returned to the people for production and dwelling,” said Zulu.

The minister urged all institutions supporting radical socio-economic transformation to step up. In his 2017 State of the Nation Address last week, President Jacob Zuma defined Radical Socio-Economic change as a fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor. Minister Zulu mentioned the availability of programmes government has setup, such as setting aside a minimum of 30% of appropriate categories of State procurement for purchasing from SMMEs, cooperatives as well as Township and Rural enterprises. “In January 2017, the new Preferential Procurement Regulations were signed into law and they will take effect from 2017, replacing the Preferential Regulation of 2011.” She said.

In order to implement a new and more progressive procurement regime, government will gradually move towards an integrated, government-wide supply chain management system, which will bring standardization and uniformity across government. “In the long term this will also decrease the costs of doing business with government for small businesses,” Minister Zulu explained.

The minister further elaborated that such work still remains to ensure that implementation happens within the timelines set by the National Treasury. Departments and agencies must support and work with National Treasury and other stakeholders to ensure that this dispensation is implemented effectively and timeously.

Zulu said the Department of Small Business Development and the Department of Public Enterprises have signed a Memorandum Of Agreement to cooperate on providing opportunities for SMMEs and increasing oversight over State Owned Enterprises’ adherence to fair business practices towards small business. “Next month, senior officials from my Department and the Department of Public Enterprises, together with Transnet will develop a cooperation strategy, which we will pilot in Saldanah in the Western Cape with a view to spreading this new strategy countrywide,” she explained.

In her closing remarks, Minister Zulu said this cross-sectoral approach means that the private sector must also be included as a partner in this work. I can inform the house that I have met with various business chambers including BLSA, BUSA, SACCI, AHI and the Black Business Council and its affiliates, including NAFCOC. “We will continue to strengthen the dialogue in order that they may culminate in strong Public Private Partnerships,” she concluded.

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