Speaking at the fourth annual conference of the Black Business Council this week, Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu spoke of the challenges facing black-owned companies in our nation. Even though we reached democracy over two decades ago, the small and medium-sized enterprises that black people own are not supported by South Africa’s business or financial services community well enough to expand their reach. Black business has the ability to revolutionise South Africa’s economy; it is expected that nearly 10 million new jobs could be created should these businesses reach their potential. Despite making up over 80% of the population, black business is still an economic minority. As a nation, we can and will do better.
Johannesburg – Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu said yesterday that the journey of transformation still had a long way to go.
The minister said this while addressing the fourth annual conference of the Black Business Council.
Small, black businesses were still struggling after 22 years of democracy, she said. Zulu called on economic clusters to support small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs).
“Since I got in my office two years ago, I have realised that there is a weakness in the system to support SMMEs. There is a gap between the government, society and black businesses and we must ask ourselves how we bridge that gap,” she said.
Zulu said one of the reasons why SMMEs were not moving forward was because they were afraid to start doing business in other African countries.
“Many think the pie is only in South Africa. Yes, there is a pie in South Africa, but people should not be afraid to travel to other African countries.”
She said black businesses should take responsibility for revolutionising the economy.
“We also need to recognise things that we did in the past, which have been hampering transformation.”
Duma Gqubule, the founder of the Centre for Economic Development and Transformation, said SMMEs were looking to create about 9.9 million jobs, which would be 90 percent of jobs created in the National Development Plan.
According to the construction industry 2014 report, which was released yesterday by Statistics SA, the SMME sector had created 62.7 percent of new employment in the industry, whereas large enterprises had contributed only 37.3 percent of new jobs over three years, the African News Agency reported.
Sandile Zungu, the chairman of Zico African Rainbow Minerals Representatives, said black people were still the economic minority.
“We are still minorities that literally own nothing and that narrative still continues. We are happy to control 5 percent to 10 percent (of the country’s economy), which we can do better,” Zungu said.